Abdul Hodge: It's time to start playing some football, it's been a long summer, a hot summer, it's been hard. Now it's the fun part, that's the game, when the games start rolling around
Q: What's this first week of anticipation like each year coming into the first game?
Hodge: It's a lot of nervousness for the first game, there's a lot of stuff that we try to do out there on the practice field that we have to get together this last week because we play on Saturday. We've got to tighten up and get better. It's just a lot of nervousness right now, just going out a playing football.
Q: What do you need to tighten up at this point?
Hodge: Just the little stuff, alignments, knowing what we do, getting the defense down, going in and watching film, seeing what Ball State does, just getting together with the team and getting our keys right.
Q: The celebration has been on since the last play, do you sense the guys are like, "now it's the 2005 season, let's forget about that for now"?
Hodge: Definitely, we can't move forward if we keep looking back to the past. Last year was last year, it was a great year and it's gone. Right now it's a whole new season, everyone right now in college football is 0-0 and we understand that. We can't worry too much about the past, we just have to go out there and start fresh on Saturday.
Q: How dangerous is Ball State's quarterback?
Hodge: He's a real good quarterback. Last year he had a real good receiver that helped him out a lot and he's not there this year. They have a few other guys that he can throw to too. Then they have a running back that's supposed to be pretty good, so overall they should have a good offense.
Q: What's your message to the guys, there are going to be a handful of freshmen out there stepping onto the field they probably dreamed of being on, the energy of it all, the glamour of it all, but bottom line, it's football, right?
Hodge: Just keep doing what you're doing on the practice field. Don't let all the excitement and stuff take you off your game, just keep going and read your keys and do what you do on the practice field. What you do on the practice field is most important because it's going to carry out on Saturday.
Q: The guys who have been chosen as captains, there's a lot of experience right there, what goes with that?
Hodge: How your peers see you, how the coach sees you, the team sees you as a captain. We have a lot of people on this team that are leaders and captains, not just the guys that are picked to walk out on Saturday.
Q: Adam (Shada) has to step in for Antwan (Allen) this week, is he prepared for that?
Hodge: Yeah. I think so. Adam is a guy who played as a true freshman last year, he came in and learned real fast, a typical freshman. He's a guy who in this last camp, last spring too, he's made strides, so we're very confident he'll go in and get the job done.
Q: What's the difference, you played during Fred (Barr)'s senior year, but then the next year you stepped in as a starter, what's the difference between playing in nickel and dime packages and then going in there and actually being in front of 70,000?
Hodge: It's a big difference, because now you're the main guy. You have a responsibility, your responsibility goes up, especially at the corner position, you look at Adam Shada. The cornerback position is a really important position on the field. It's a different situation when you step in as a full time starter it's just more reasonability.
Q: How about the safety spot, Coach Ferentz said it's still up in the air depending on Marcus (Paschal)'s health, how do you feel and how have those guys performed up to this point?
Hodge: We've got three guys back there that are rotating. I feel whoever they put in is going to go in and do a good job for us, so we're very confident about that. All those guys need to worry about is just keep on doing things right and competing because they're going to put the best guys on the field.