How do you see this matchup with Florida?
I know some Florida alums, so it's going to be fun to play. The Big Ten is known for being a power conference, and they talk about how the SEC is so much better this year. It's good to go and match up against one of them.
How do you view the coaches' snub on the all-Big Ten teams?
I really don't like to get into that, but, no offense, you would expect something like that to come from the media rather than…
Thanks a lot.
(Laughs) No. No. Not in that sense. You get what I'm saying. You play (against) coaches. There are players I know that we've played against have a tough defensive line or linebackers that won't make a team. But you would think that coaches from seeing film would look at it and go, "You know, those guys really tore us up." It's not just me. It happened with Scott and Drew. Drew had a better season. There's no doubt that Scott was the best tight end in the conference. He didn't make anything. You know, we don't even look at that. We forget it.
Do you use it as motivation? It has to help a little bit.
Definitely. It's something that you can put in the back of your mind. We had enough guys get snubbed, so we should have, besides getting a win, enough guys that want to make a mark this game. So, thanks coaches.
How much prep work, film work have you done so far?
I've watched about a game or two, a game and a half. We've got so much time. It's just to kill time. We've watched a little film. We know what they got. (Wednesday, Dec. 21) is really the first day of going up against what Florida has. But we didn't hit full stride yet. There are so many more days left.
Have the coaches cautioned you about doing too much, too early?
No. Everybody has their own ways about going about watching film. Coaches control what goes on at practice, though. They make sure we don't get too tired. If all you're doing is football, that can get exhausting. We don't have classes right now, so it doesn't take too much energy to watch film. Defensive has to watch more. Running backs, probably don't have to watch as much as some guys.
Who did you watch them play?
What did you think?
We know that Florida State has some players. For them to shut them down like that, we know we're in for a long game, a four-quarter game, no doubt. They're fast. That's pretty much how you can describe their linebackers. Those guys are sideline to sideline. That fits our style because we're not running sideline to sideline.
How are you feeling physically? You had a lot of carries down the stretch.
It feels good. I'm actually not hurting at practice at all. It's been a nice, long bye week. I definitely enjoyed it.
This will be it for you as a Hawkeye. Is that going to be on your mind at all as you get ready for this game?
It's something that I haven't really thought about a whole lot. I'm sure when we're sitting in the locker room before the game we'll be thinking about it. Hopefully, we can come out and play with as much emotion as we did in our last game at Kinnick.
If you guys beat Florida, you'll be the winningest group of seniors over a four-year period. Do you guys talk about that?
We've haven't really talked about it. We've always just taken it a game at a time. That's how we've always looked at it with our class. The classes before us have done the same thing. It's just been a great time to be a part of this Iowa football team.
How much different is this Florida defense than the one you faced in 2003?
I don't know. They're obviously both athletic teams. That's the biggest thing about them. They're going to be fast and big and strong guys just like we faced before. I'm sure they're going to be a little more hungry to come get us again.
Coming into the season, everyone was expecting this offense to put up a ton of points, but it seemed to take you guys until the last few games of the season to hit your stride. Was there something that clicked? Was there something that hadn't happened earlier that happened at that point?
Not really. It just comes back to the thing about us improving as the season goes on. That's what we always focus on. We just have to keep continuing to do that.
What have you seen in the growth of Drew Tate?
As this season's gone on, he's learned to control his emotion a little bit better than maybe what he has in the past. He understands that people look at him for leadership. That's something that he's realized and he's taken it upon himself to improve that.
You're friends with him. Do you say, "Hey, there might be more of an effective way to lead?"
Not really. The last thing that you want to do is try to calm him down to where he loses his intensity. That's a fine line in terms of how much you want to have. He understand that at the spot that he's at, he's right on the line and that's where he needs to be.