Big 10 Kickoff: Ed Hinkel

Iowa senior receiver Ed Hinkel attracted a good crowd at his table in Chicago on Tuesday. The man with teh magical hands tackled inquiries about his coordinator Ken O'Keefe, his quarterback Drew Tate, his home state of Pennsylvania, his ability to make the big catch and much more. Read all about it in this premium Q&A.

Q: Over the last couple years at Iowa, you've been a part of some big plays, a lot of close games decided by a lot of big plays. Is that something you talk about with the coaching staff?

EH: Not really. If you're working hard and everything else, those things are going to happen. That's what we focus on, just taking one play at a time, everybody doing their job on that play, and that's when the big plays happen.

Q: There are a lot of Pennsylvania guys in this room not playing for Penn St. 15-20 years ago, that probably wouldn't be the case. Why do you think so many kids decide not to go to Penn St. or Pitt?

EH: I'm really not sure. I think it's all personal preference of guys liking different states or different schools than what's going on at Penn St or Pitt, for that matter. I can't really say there's one reason why guys aren't staying in state, but I know for me it was because I liked Coach Ferentz, I wanted to play for Coach Ferentz.

Q: It seems like Big Ten schools are coming into Pennsylvania because they know that can get good recruits, it's sort of a wide open territory.

EH: There's a lot of good players in Pennsylvania, we can't all go to Penn St or Pitt, it's just guys have a better feeling with other schools I guess.

Q: In your 4 years, you've had 3 different quarterbacks, tweaking a system last year that's basically in a two minute offense all the time, does Coach O'Keefe get his due?

EH: I don't know. Coach O'Keefe is a great coach. He knows a lot about the game and offense. We've won with 3 different quarterbacks now. It'll be nice to finally have one coming back, the first time in my career. He's a great coach, he's the one who recruited me, I like him a lot. He probably doesn't get the respect he deserves but I think that's aright with him because he just wants all the praise and stuff to go to his players. That's how he is, coach Ferentz is the same way, the rest of the staff, they're all like that.

Q: How much of what you do on Saturdays is him, the plan, the scheme for the week, and how much is a team pooled effort?

EH: Pretty much everything is game planned and comes in from him. There are little things Drew will change if he sees them, but that's all game planned as well. Coach O'Keefe has told him if we're running this play, and they come out in this defense, then this is the play we're going ot run, pretty much everything comes from him or Coach Ferentz.

Q: You play against your linebackers every day, you've obviously seen the scouting on Ohio State's guys, what's the trait that all these high level linebackers share?

EH: I think they're all just tough guys, they're all willing to put their head in and hit someone. They're all hard workers, I know our guys are hard workers in practice. I'm sure the other guys are as well.

Q: What about speed, it seems like speed is a factor now. Gone are the days where a 260 pound linebacker is just there to fill space.

EH: There's a lot of good linebackers in the Big Ten this year. It's kind of how the Big Ten has always been, good linebackers. I think this year they're pretty athletic as well. I think Abdul still one of those guys that's just going to sit in the middle and take on a block.

Q: Have you ever had to block AJ Hawk?

EH: No, never had to block him.

Q: How about your two guys, ever had to block Chad or Abdul?

EH: Not really, we don't do too much blocking linebackers. If it's anything like blocking Bob (Sanders), it's not easy.

Q: You don't sound very disappointed.

EH: I have no problem not blocking those guys. I'd do it if I had to, but I wouldn't like it.

Q: Do they seem to enjoy having the Big Ten known for linebackers, it seems fun for them, do you sense that?

EH: I think so. Like they're always talking about, they love to compete, talking about who's better. Anything they compete in, they go hard.

Q: Does it go down to Playstation and ping pong?

EH: Yeah, we were in the player hospitality room yesterday and those two were playing Playstation, and it came down to the last play. I can't remember who won, they talked about it the rest of the night.

Q: Were they both playing as Iowa?

EH: I can't remember who. I think Abdul was Oklahoma and Chad was Iowa. I'm sure Chad's a good winner too, he wasn't giving him any crap at all.

Q: Getting back to Pennsylvania, it sounds like you take a lot of pride that you're from there, and Coach Ferentz is from there, kind of the 'next generation'.

EH: I'm definitely proud of where I came from. It's nice being around guys who are from the same area. It's just something you can talk about, even coming here (to the Big Ten Media Day) meeting some guys, I played with Tim Massaquoi in the Big 33 game, just coming back being able to talk to him, catch up a little bit, I knew Steve Breaston as well, from Michigan from playing Woodland Hills. It's just nice coming back and getting to knows these guys again.

Q: How would you describe what that Western PA football is?

EH: There's some great football played there. I was fortunate enough to win a state championship up there, and some pretty good teams as well.

Q: Is 'tough' the key word there?

EH: I think so. There have been a lot of good players with toughness to come out of there. Bob Sanders is as tough as they come. He was a great player as well.

Q: How does Coach Ferentz show that toughness?

EH: When his dad passed away this year, we didn't even know. He didn't let anybody on the staff, anybody on the team know. Brian (Ferentz) was the same way. They just kind of kept it to themselves and then after practice one day, Coach let us all know. They were just so strong emotionally, I think that's how they've been tough.

Q: Talk a little bit about Drew Tate and how he manages a game.

EH: Drew Tate's a great competitor, he's a great leader, and when he's in the huddle, everyone's excited to be playing with him. He's such an exciting player.

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