Hawks Talk Spring Football: Ed Hinkel

Ed Hinkel has made several big plays during his time in Iowa City. Many of those plays have been key first down grabs in traffic, in addition to his better known highlight reel grabs at Penn State as a freshman and against Iowa State and Michigan last year. The senior to be talked spring football today with the assembled Iowa media and we have the contents of that Q & A session...

Q: Is this kind of a normal thing, everyone's expecting you to win 10 games and go to a New Years Day bowl game?

Ed Hinkel: Everyone's probably expecting it now at this point, everyone's seen the rankings and everything. We can't pay attention to that, we've got to focus on each practice, and get better every practice.

Q: How has life been after the play against LSU, I know it's probably propelled you guys to celebrity status around campus. Can you just describe how things have changed since that play?

Hinkel: I think more things have probably changed for Warren. You'll see people around saying "That was an awesome game", or I've heard people say it was one of the best college games they'd ever seen. It's just good to know we were a part of it.

Q: What about Drew, has there been any change in him, or has he been the same person he's always been?

Hinkel: He's the same guy he always was, he's not the type of guy to get a big head or anything, he wants to go out and play better next year, do everything he can to help us win.

Q: How does he do that, he had such an awesome first year, how does he top that act?

Hinkel: It's going to be hard, he's got to stay focused, not get ahead of himself, just take everything one step at a time.

Q: Do you see some of the pressure being relieved off him with a running game this year, so much was put on him last year, maybe you guys will have more of a balanced attack?

Hinkel: I hope so, that's always been our goal, to be a balanced team. If we can get a better running game going this year then it's going to help him, and help us out as a team.

Q: For you as a senior, talking to guys coming through here, this is your defining year. Even though you've been a part of teams that have had so much success in past years, do you kind of view it that way, this is what you'll be remembered by?

Hinkel: Yeah, it'll be a good way to go out, if we can have a good season this year. With that success we've had the last 3 years, it'll be a good 4 years for our class. If we can get it going this year, it'll be a good way to go out.

Q: How has your role changed, being a senior, maybe stepping into a bigger leadership role?

Hinkel: It's just going to be a bigger leadership role for me. With Clinton and I being two of the most experienced guys on the field, we've got to really step up and bring the rest of the offense along with us.

Q: How much faster have you gotten since you got here?

Hinkel: I don't know, I've probably gotten a little faster, I can't really say a number or anything.

Q: How long did it take to get over the hangover from January 1?

Hinkel: I think once we got back here, had our first meetings with Coach and Coach Doyle, they let us know that was 2004's team, we've got to move on just like we did after 2002, forget about those championships and move on, work hard for the next one.

Q: You know preseason guys already have you going 12-0 and playing for the national title. Most of the fans think you're going to be undefeated, and anything less than that's a disappointment, no pressure, right?

Hinkel: I haven't really felt pressure from anybody. We're going to come out and try to win every game, that's always the goal, it's a goal of any team, to compete. Hopefully we'll do it, we're going to give it our best shot.

Q: I don't know if you look at the record books at all, but you've got a chance to achieve some pretty special things, how important is that to you?

Hinkel: People have told me that I could possibly get a couple records next year, if I get them that just means the team's doing well. Hopefully we're doing well and if I get them, great, if not, no big deal. As long as we win, I don't really care.

Q: Is it a different feeling when you're not the underdog all the time?

Hinkel: I don't think we look at it as much different. With every team we play we have a reason that we need to beat them. We're always going to play with a chip on our shoulder, and that's what we need to do if we want to be successful here.

Q: The chip was a lot bigger in the past.

Hinkel: It probably was, but we understand that if we're not playing with a chip, we're not going to be as aggressive or anything like that. I think we just have to be able to do that if we want to win.

Q: Talk a little bit about Clinton this year versus last year. You guys welcomed him back and all, but it seems like he's maybe a little more comfortable, a little more able to focus on football now?

Hinkel: He's really focused, he's been working really hard this spring, he had a great fall, hopefully he can continue to play well and help us in the fall.

Q: How important is he to this team, what if he weren't on the team, would it not work?

Hinkel: I'm happy that he was able to come back, I'm glad Coach gave him an opportunity , he made a big impact last year, I'm sure he's going to do the same this fall.

Q: Do you empathize with the fans a little, there's no spring game this year, they don't get to see you guys in a year with all this anticipation, do you understand where they're kind of coming from?

Hinkel: Oh yeah, definitely. Even my parents were kind of upset that they weren't going to do anything. They're not going to even come out for this little scrimmage we're having next week, which is surprising since they come to all the games. (Laughs) I can understand the fans being upset that they don't get to see us at all this year, but there's not much else we can do. We're going to have a nice stadium for them next year, it's about we can trade for it.

Q: Is it kind of good in a sense that you guys can just get away? What does the spring game do, or is it nice to just be off by yourselves a little bit?

Hinkel: I think both situations are good, it's good to just keep the team focused and everybody kind of locked in here. It'd be nice to get out in front of the fans and make it a little more competitive and have people cheering for you.

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