Hawks Talk Spring Football: Clinton Solomon

Clinton Solomon made a big splash on the field in 2004 and had one of the more productive seasons an Iowa receiver has ever had. He is bigger and stronger as he heads into 2005, and he returns as the Big Ten's leader in receiving yards. Solomon gives an update on spring practice from his point of view.

Q: What do you expect out of this season, what are your goals?

Clinton Solomon: In the off-season, my goals are to get better as a better receiver.

Q: How do you do that?

Solomon: My main thing is to come out here and focus on blocking, running better routes. Catching the ball is more of a concentration thing. My main thing that didn't go to well last year was my route running and blocking, I come out every day trying to get my blocking and route running better.

Q: What goes into that?

Solomon: Just hard work.

Q: Is it film work?

Solomon: You watch films, I go up against some of the best corners in our secondary, going up against Jovon (Johnson) and Antwan Allen each day in 1-on-1 helps me with my releases at the line. Getting in and out of my breaks, trying to block safeties like Miguel Merrick coming down full speed, as well as Godfrey. I work hard each day going against some of the best guys, I don't have any choice but to get better, as long as I work at it.

Q: How has your role changed this year? You're one of the more experienced guys out there

Solomon: (Laughs) Ed Hinkel and I are kind of looked upon because we're the oldest group on the team, so we take a lot of the leadership roles. We try to get the younger guys going, most importantly we try to get the practice going, get the tempo set right. We try and practice hard so the rest of the team can follow behind us.

Q: How important is it, for you guys who have kind of built up each year more and more success, to not have a drop-off this year?

Solomon: That's all about working hard. He says each year that it's about building a mountain, building a mountain means each year going up a step. This year we're looking to make bigger strides, and it starts here in the spring.

Q: What does Drew do for an encore, he had such and awesome first year?

Solomon: I couldn't tell you. (Laughs) Drew is an amazing quarterback, he gets the ball to us. He's working a couple things, he's probably working on moving around the pocket, I don't know, I really couldn't tell you. We're going to have a great quarterback for the next few years at Iowa.

Q: Are you guys disappointed at all not getting to have a spring game?

Solomon: It really doesn't matter, each practice is like a spring game. They're out here hitting us anyway, so it's live and everything, a spring game really doesn't matter. It's kind of fun playing in Kinnick, each time you get to play in there it's a great time, but you've got to roll with the punches.

Q: Can you understand how fans just can't wait to see you guys, all the expectations, is it maybe a good thing that you're under the radar?

Solomon: I wouldn't say it's a good thing, but you always want the fans to watch you, let them see what their team's looking like. I'm sorry to the fans for no spring game, but hey, it's spring practice.

Q: You come back and rejoin the team last year, do you feel like you're making the most of a second chance?

Solomon: Yes sir, my biggest goal last year was to get off of academic probation and that I did; and then to keep my academics going this semester and I'm doing that in every way. I thank Coach and the coaching staff for giving me a second chance, I thank my mom a lot for sticking with me, telling me to stay on my grades. I was just blessed to get a second chance, everybody doesn't get a second chance, but I'm glad for what Coach Ferentz did, and I'm trying to make the most of it on the field and off the field.

Q: Does that make this season a little more special?

Solomon: Yes sir. Last year we had a Big Ten Championship, we went to the Capital One Bowl, we won that, it was a special moment for me because all that year I was being looked at like "Can he do it?" and I did it. So I'm going to try and keep it going and looking forward to next year, having another special year.

Q: What was the hardest part of last year?

Solomon: Just trying to get back the trust of my team mates. They welcomed me in with open arms but to me, I felt like I had a lot to prove to them and a lot to gain back from the trust standpoint. That was one of the hardest things, to me. I feel like I gained a little bit more trust back from them, and I appreciate them welcoming me back with open arms.

Q: How has your spring been?

Solomon: My spring's been good from the coaches standpoint. I'm catching the ball a lot better, doing a little bit better on blocking, trying to work on that a lot more, my route running is coming along real good, getting bigger in the weight room, that's coming along good. Looking forward to next year.

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