Abdul Hodge: Matching up with Purdue

Abdul Hodge spoke with the media about matching up with Purdue, defending running quarterbacks, and the progress of a young defensive line. Read what he had to say in this premium interview.

Q: (On Brandon Kirsch)

Abdul Hodge: He can beat you with his feet, he's a good leader out there for the offense, kind of like Kyle Orton was.

Q: Why do you guys match up so well with Purdue, it seems like every time you guys get together, it's a great game that everybody remembers.

Hodge: I think if you look at Purdue and Iowa, we're a team that's kind of similar to each other, good coaching staff that emphasizes good defenses and special teams. A good offense. So we kind of symbolize each other, that's makes it a good game.

Q: What does your jersey number mean to you?

Hodge: It doesn't mean much, man. It was my number when I played in high school. My coach gave it to me when I played in high school.

Q: Same number?

Hodge: Yeah, same as my high school number.

Q: Ever hear of guys trading jerseys or doing stuff like that?

Hodge: Yeah, it happens. Some people are superstitious, some guys want to play with a particular jersey, that's just been my number since high school.

Q: Does it mean more to you now? I know you just got it, they gave it to you. Does it mean something now? Would you just switch numbers, no questions asked?

Hodge: When they look on TV, they look at Iowa and any time they see 52, they know it's me. It's just a number. If I had to switch, I'd switch. It's not the number that's so important, but it's the person that's wearing the jersey.

Q: How'd you feel about the Big Ten award?

Hodge: It was good to receive an aware. I've never been a person to hang myself so high on awards. Right now, awards really don't mean anything during the season. After the season, you can look back at awards. Right now I just look at the production of our team.

Q: You guys seemed to take a step forward in the second half the other day. They were able to do some things against you in the first half against you. Other than the series when they scored, you guys did some things against their run. Did you see a positive step forward?

Hodge: We came out knowing that they'd throw a lot of stuff offensively toward their opponent. We just wanted to feel them out, they did that no-huddle stuff which was a shocker. It wasn't a shocker, but it was a shock that they did it the whole game. You can't really practice that. Coming into the second half, we wanted to come out and play a better ball game, clean up some stuff that we had seen in the first half.

Q: Are you seeing some progress up front with some of these guys?

Hodge: Definitely, they're doing a lot of good things out there on the field, especially up front. This is all their first year getting to play every game and every down, but we're rotating a lot of guys and it's been going well for them.

Q: What's the biggest challenge against Purdue's offense?

Hodge: First we've got to stop the run. Last time we went up there, we were expecting them to come out passing a lot, and they ran the ball down our throats. Right now we're just got to come out and stop the run and make them one dimensional.

Q: Does repetition of the speed of their offense, did Illinois help you with that a little bit?

Hodge: I think so, you know, playing the no-huddle the whole game, it can't do anything but help you for future games. We experienced it last week, so we won't be surprised if we see it again.

Q: Running quarterbacks on other teams, mobile guys, have given you guys some trouble to this point. Kirsch is one of those guys again, what's got to happen to stop that?

Hodge: To contain him, we've just got to press the pocket back, do a better job of pressing the pocket back, getting after him. If he comes out of the pocket, just try and get a hat on him as soon as possible.

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