Big Ten Kickoff: Abdul Hodge

Iowa LB Abdul Hodge tackled a full-house backfield of questions as the media swarmed around him in Chicago. Among the topics discussed in the Windy City were last year's ASU game, the future of the LB position at Iowa, his conditional scholarship offer from Auburn and a lot more. Read what the Florida native had to say in this HN.com premium Q&A.

Q: Is it hard to explain what happened last year at Arizona State?

Abdul Hodge: It's easy to explain.

Q: How do you explain it?

AH: We got whooped. (laughs) We weren't ready, as a program. I don't think we were ready to play on that day, I don't think as a whole we were ready to play, attitude wise. It was a good lesson, we learned what we could learn from it.

Q: What was coach like after the game?

AH: He was very positive, very positive. A lot of people thought he was going to come in and rag on us. He was saying that it was uncharacteristic of us, just flush it and get it over with.

Q: What'd you think when you walked in Sunday morning and saw the toilet seat there?

AH: It was pretty funny, that was our concept. It was a bad experience, made a long flight even longer. But it was a good experience, because we had a lot to learn. If you don't show up, it doesn't matter who you're playing. It's easy to get a little carried away.

Q: It would be very easy after something like that, then the Michigan game the following week, for a team to get down on itself and think "Maybe we're really not that good this year".

AH: We don't have those types of people in our program that will give up that easily. I think that's stemming from our coaching staff. Our coaching staff does a good job of preparing us mentally and physically, as players. We have the type of players who when things aren't going so well, we want to go out, and whatever it takes to correct it, we want to correct the problem. That may consist of going out and watching more film, running more, getting a little stronger, we're going to do what it takes to get better. I think that's one of the reasons our program has gotten to this point.

Q: Did you get an offer at Auburn?

AH: I think it was a (conditional) kind of offer, "If we don't get this guy..."

Q: Like a backup offer?

AH: Yeah, one of those deals. It is what it is, Iowa offered me. Wherever I decided to go, I knew I was going to work extremely hard.

Q: Had you spent much time in the Midwest before you came to Iowa?

AH: No, that was my first time.

Q: Even though it was so unfamiliar, was there a comfort level?

AH: Yeah, but see with me, my thing was as long as I have a school to go to, a place to go to class, as long as I have a football field to play on, everything else is irrelevant. I don't need a city life, sidetracks, just give me a football field and a weight room to practice on.

Q: Do you ever read what fans about you guys on the internet?

AH: No.

Q: Do you hear about it?

AH: All I know is what I see in the paper.

Q: Do you keep up on the rivalry at all, you guys and AJ Hawk?

AH: Not really. We know they've got some good linebackers over there, we know we've got some good linebackers over here. To me, it's who can help their team win. That's the most important thing, who can help their team win the most.

Q: What do you think about Hawk as a player?

AH: As a player I think he's a good leader. He's a guy that gets to the ball no matter where the ball is on the field and that says a lot about him. That says that he goes 100% every day.

Q: Talk about some of the young guys behind you, Klinkenborg, Humpal, talk about their play.

AH: A lot of people are going to start labeling that unit as inexperienced and a weak part of the team, but Klinkenborg and Humpal are two guys that I think are going to be very good. Both are very hard workers, they compete like me and Chad, it's going to be fun. It's going to be interesting to see how these guys pan out. I have no worries that they can't get the job done.

Q: What about the incoming freshmen, have you seen any of them, Angerer or anybody?

AH: The guys that have come in so far are hard workers. They're guys we want to be a part of, they're fun guys, they seem as if they go o9ut and work hard.


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