Roth Ready to Roll

Senior DE Matt Roth prepares to play his final game in the Black and Gold when Iowa meets LSU in the January 1 Capital One Bowl. Roth talked Thursday about the team's amazing turnaround from a 2-2 start, the challenge that awaits the Hawks in Orlando, the tougness of Drew Tate, receiving calls from NFL agents and more in this Premium Q&A Package.

You were able to play in three bowl games in your first three years. After Arizona State, did you worry that you might not geta fourth?

I knew we'd go to a bowl game. I just didn't think it would be in that January period. But it's nice now. We're going back to Florida.

Why didn't you think it would be in January?

Well, I knew that we were having some troubles, and it might be awhile before we got rolling on all cylinders. We got rolling quicker than I thought.

Even after 2-2, did you wonder?

Yeah, 2-2, it was hard. I wasn't sure which way the season would go, up or down.

How did you guys get it rolling?

I'd say that Michigan State game we started clicking on all cylinders, offense, defense and special teams. We didn't stop from there.

Did you feel it then or is it kind of hindsight telling you that?

When I saw Tate putting up all of them touchdowns, I kind of felt it. I kind of felt like we found our niche on offense. Then, we just had momentum going both ways, offense and defense, and special teams. It just felt like momentum carried from each side of the ball.

You went to the Playboy all-American thing. You met a couple of LSU guys. What did you think of them?

They're alright guys. I wasn't really trying to make any new friends. But it will be fun to play them; defending national champs. It's going to be a big challenge.

Do you remember watching that championship game last year, LSU-Oklahoma?

Yeah. They whooped Oklahoma. It was a fun game to watch. Hopefully it will be that kind of atmosphere minus the whooping part. It's going to be fun. They've got a lot of fans, too. So, it's going to be a lot of fun.

What have you guys been doing since the end of the season?

We've had mostly break. We've just been practicing against each other; just going over the fundamentals. Coach takes this time to really practice the fundamentals and get the younger guys a lot of reps.

Looking back on your senior year, so far to date, what's been the highlight for you?

The Big Ten Championship. Two in four years, so it's been a treat.

Can you talk about your relationship with Tate a little bit? You guys wrestled a little at the bowl practice last year.

Yeah. (laughs) Tate, he's a good guy. He's a likable guy. He's tough. He's a competitor. He's a funny kid; got a good personality. And he's right across the locker room from me. So, we mix real well. There's a lot of joking.

Is he like the offensive version of you maybe?

He's his own version. He's made his own name. The sky is the limit for Tate.

Can you appreciate how he has established himself this year?

Definitely. He really came along. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. Hopefully he takes it national. he's got a lot to do and a lot to learn and he's already that good.

Ten years from now when people look back on Iowa football, they'll say, "Matt Roth, he's the guy who...?"

(Laughs) I don't know. I'll have to leave that up to the people. I can't speak for them.

But hopefully they'll say that I played tough and loved the game.

Have you taken a chance during this down time to look forward to this next step you're going to take?

It's all so surreal. I don't really give it much thought. Everyone tells you for so long that it's so hard to do. I just really haven't given it much thought. I'm just playing the rest of the season and then figure it out from there.

Have you been interviewing agents?

Yeah. I've been kind of referring them all to my dad I don't have to take any time away from school.

Do they call you late at night though?

I put it on my voicemail. So, if it's a number that I don't see, I just refer them to my mom and dad.

Have you looked at those draft boards yet? Kiper has got you at 10 already.

Those aren't the guys drafting people, so you can't pay it much attention. I'm just looking foward to going to the senior bowl and having a good bowl and then running real well for the combine.

This is your third trip to Florida, does it lose some of the newness going down there every year?

We just keep playing new teams. So I guess it makes it a fun challenge. It's going to be a lot of fun to go back to Florida again.

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