Q: (A question on the timetable of his return after tearing his ACL in the Capital One Bowl)
Marcus Paschal: I was running around into spring and beginning of summer in 2005. Coming off an injury like that, a lot of people didn't think I was going to be ready to play the first game. They thought I wasn't going to be back until Ohio State, the first game of the Big Ten, but I started each and every game. I wanted to help our team, but I did the things I could I just think I could have been that much better.
Q: Was it just beginning to think about planting, turning?
Paschal: Yeah. You don't know if it's going to hold up for you and things like that. Physically, I was able to run, do everything, but it's a mind thing. You just really don't know, if I get hit again, is it going to go out, or what? I think it really took a couple hits, where I get up in a game and it's like "oh, I'm OK."
Q: In the first Outback, did somebody roll you?
Paschal: It was in the LSU game. I was making a tackle, and it just went out on me.
Q: Had you had any injuries like that before?
Q: When that went out, obviously you had to go back and get some attention, were you back out on the sideline for the end of that game?
Paschal: Yeah, I was. At first, they didn't know if it was torn or anything, they just thought I sprained my MCL or something. After I told them it was too painful to go out and play, I went back out, took my pads off and everything, went back out with my jersey on, on crutches and everything. I was watching the game.
Q: Probably a little slow getting to the pileup at the end.
Paschal: Yeah, I couldn't make it.
Q: You said you'd never had anything like that, obviously when you're going into a junior year, you've got this major knee injury, were there ever thoughts of how this is going to affect you in the long run?
Paschal: An injury like that is very hard on a person. That was the year we had all the ACL injuries, I was the last of like 7. I had a lot of people to talk to me and help me, guys who just pushed me through. It's a hard process. Anybody that ever went through it, they understand what I'm talking about. Rehab, things of that nature. You've got to have it in your mind that you're going to fight through it, or it's going to be a long recovery.
Q: Who was your best bud in the recovery room?
Paschal: At the time, my roommates were Jovon and Clinton, so they were always there, talking to me, telling me that they needed me next year, just keep working. I think the person that went through the same surgery was Albert. Me and AY always talked about it, he just told me things I needed to do as far as mobility and things to just keep working. Even if I'm not in the training room, keep working on it. I think that really helped.
Q: What was the hardest part of rehab? Was there a specific drill?
Paschal: The hardest part of the rehab on ACL surgery is just getting the motion back. Going in there, getting a surgery, you have all that scar tissue all crammed up together. It's hard to explain, but you can't straighten your leg or bend it. It's just like stuck, you've got to break it up, break all that scar tissue. It's painful, real painful, but you've got to do it.
Q: You played all last season, and you're healthy now. Is your 40 time up, your bench, I know they like to keep workout charts in the summer.
Paschal: We haven't really been timed again or anything like that, but I can just feel that burst. I know what I can do, I think I feel a lot better in the spring. I think the coaches see that, I was just moving around a lot better, making more plays, whereas last year I was always a step too slow, wasn't making the plays I would usually make.
Q: What are you benching now?
Q: What were you doing 4 years ago?
Paschal: Like 275.
Q: How do you get be a 215 pound safety from a 180 pound cornerback?
Paschal: Coach Doyle, Coach Doyle.
Q: No magic diet?
Paschal: Nope. Coach Doyle. Doyle. That's the key word.
Q: What's your favorite Doyle Drill?
Paschal: I don't know, a lot of them are a lot of fun. I don't know.
Q: Do you still do the thing with the buckets, carrying the guys with the weights?
Paschal: Maybe the linemen, we don't do it.
Q: What does he have the defense work on?
Paschal: We just do drills and stuff with weighted vests on. Pretty much just DB drills. We don't really do anything out of the ordinary that doesn't pertain to what we do on the field.
Q: Do you do anything unusual to stay limber? I know a lot of athletes do yoga to stay flexible?
Q: You're a flexible guy anyway?
Q: I know a couple guys on the basketball team use a game called Dance Dance Revolution to keep their feet nimble. Any guys on the team do that?
Paschal: No, I haven't heard anything like that.
Q: At least nobody would admit it.
Paschal: Nah, probably not.
Q: One of the questions in the offense this year is at receiver. A couple years ago you had Ramon Ochoa blossom, and Ed Hinkel. What receivers should we be looking for this year?
Paschal: I don't think we have any names, but I think the receiving core is going to be real good. As a defensive back, when we're in practice, that's who I'm going against. We've got a couple young guys coming in who I think will be pretty good for us. They've got good speed and everything, but Herb and Calvin are really going to help us this year.
Q: Who causes you the most grief in practice?
Paschal: I would say Drew. Have to keep my eyes on Drew. I'm reading him, he's reading me. Drew's the one that drives you crazy. The receiver has to run the route, then Drew has to get the ball to them. The receivers can't do anything without Drew getting the ball to them.
Q: There isn't a lot of experience in your receiving core, is Drew the type of player that can make receivers better?
Paschal: Yes, he could
Q: How so?
Paschal: Just because of his ability to see the whole field. Me and him, being here as long as we have, he's a competitor and we compete every day in practice. He makes me better and I make him better every day. To have the vision to look off or anything like that will get the receivers open. A lot of guys sit back and just stares down a receiver. I don't care how good the receiver is, you're going to stare them down, they're going to lock on to you and you're not going to be able to be successful. Being ale to look off and do other things, that's really going to help our receiving corps.
Paschal: Coming in, you've got to start somewhere. You can't just jump in. Guys like Jovon and guys like that, you have guys that do. Coming in as a freshman, that should be one of your biggest goals. You've got to start somewhere. Coming on special teams is not too much to learn. It's pretty much just physical. Kickoff team you down there, stay in your lane assignment and make a tackle. I think you learn from it and gradually build to one day being a starter.
Q: Who did you make your special teams debut against?
Paschal: I don't know. Whatever that first game was my red shirt freshman year.
Q: On coverage?
Paschal: Yeah, Kickoff coverage.
Q: Coach Ferentz said Bob Sanders made a tackle against Kansas State, he wasn't sure if he was in Erie, PA or Kansas City. What's that like stepping in and getting that first hit?
Paschal: It's big. One play that comes up in my mind, I don't know what year it was, it might have been my red shirt freshman year, we played Michigan. I made a big tackle on Breaston on a kickoff. It was at home.
Q: So Michigan, 2003. Special teams won that game.
Paschal: Yep, we got them down.
Q: With that rugby punting.
Paschal: Yeah, I made the tackle on the sidelines down there. The crowd was crazy, and I was just like, "Man." This is crazy. Making plays in high school was totally different. The crowd, nowhere near as loud.
Q: On special teams, no less.
Paschal: Yeah. That really just made me sit back and think "Man, I made the right decision."
Q: What does it mean to know that Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark, these are NFL guys, that started there. Kirk said he never noticed Dallas Clark until he saw him screening someone on kickoff coverage. He goes "Where is this guy, who is this guy?" Does that help a little, knowing the legacy of that role?
Paschal: Yeah. Guys like that who come in and work hard. That pushed everybody else in the program to work as hard as those guys did.
Q: What do you think is the best adjective to describe yourself as a player?
Paschal: I don't know. (laughs) That's a good question, I really don't know.
Q: Intense? Focused?
Paschal: You could say intense, because I demand intensity from the rest of the players, as they do from me.
Q: What do you do when you're just sort of relaxing?
Paschal: I just sit around.
Q: Do you play video games?
Paschal: Every once a while, but Albert always beats me.
Q: What do you play?
Paschal: We play the NCAA game sometimes.
Q: Who does he take, do you take Iowa?
Paschal: Sometimes. It depends. I'm really not a game guy, I just sit around, watch TV or just rest.
Q: Do you have a favorite show?
Paschal: Whatever's on. SportsCenter. See what's going on in the sports world.
Q: Sounds like it's pretty exciting.
Q: What do you have CD-wise?
Paschal: I've got everything. I just put the iPod on shuffle and let it go.
Q: What's on it, a mix?
Paschal: Got all type of rap, things like that.
Q: Who's your favorite rapper?
Q: What song of his do you like? If I have like 3 volumes of Chapelle's Show, does that make me hip? I asked someone the other day, no. It doesn't make me hip.
Paschal: He's got a song called "Why You Wanna?"
Q: He says something about "Why you wanna go and do that?" about why you want to do something like that. You know it's wrong. Just sit back, chill, and listen to it.
Paschal: Good rhythm?
Q: Yeah. I like T.I., I've been listening to him for a while.
Paschal: Where's he from?
Paschal: Can you imagine what life would have been like at Hofstra?
Q: I can't. Seriously, I can't. Having this experience, I really can't comprehend or think of being at any other place. It'd have been different, I'll tell you that.
Paschal: You were the quarterback.
Q: Can you still throw it?
Paschal: Yeah, I can still throw it. Guys always messing with me, because I'm a lefty. Before practice we'll get out there, especially me and the DBs, just throw the ball back and forth. I'll show em sometimes, I can still hang it up 60 yards.
Q: Michael Vick.
Paschal: Nah, I wouldn't say that.
Q: Who's got the bigger lefty arm, you or Jake?
Q: Who's your NFL team?
Paschal: I really don't have one. Sundays, after games, we really don't have time to watch the NFL. I might catch a Monday Night Football game every now and again, but Sundays we go, get in, work out, and just get a little shake through run, just analyze film. I'm pretty much busy on Sundays.
Q: Do people realize how draining being a player is for you guys? Eating, training, etc?
Paschal: It's a full-time job, then you add school on top of it, so it's really hard. I think now people start to realize recently. Maybe back in the day a lot of people thought it was just all fun and games. It's really a job. You've got to get your school work, all the things involved with football. Film, working out, everything like that. You've got to be really into it to be successful.
Q: When you came in as a freshman, who took you under their wing?
Paschal: Bob. Coming in, me and Jovon were real cool, once we committed or whatever, me and Jovon talked on the phone and by email and all that. Him and Bob were real cool, being from Erie. When I first got here, I was with Jovon all the time and Bob was always trying to teach us things. So yeah, Bob.
Q: Did you adopt Bob's mentality?
Paschal: I tried to as much as I could. Bob's a different breed. (Laughs)
Q: A couple of plays in that Minnesota game at the end of the year, you had the pop that Bob had. One coming over the middle, I know you broke it up. Is the big hit something you're working on?
Paschal: I wouldn't say working on. You've got to be in the right place at the right time to make the big hits. I don't go out looking for a big hit. They'll come. If you get in the right position and break on the ball, you'll make those type of plays. Bob, he was so quick and everything like that, his anticipation. That's what had him with all those kind of type of hits.
Q: Is that something you can learn, that anticipation?
Paschal: I think it comes with experience. When you're a new guy out there playing, sometimes you might be kind of hesitant and maybe don't believe in what you see. But as you get more experience, you start believing, reading your keys faster, being able to react faster.
Q: How much is chemistry important in the backfield?
Paschal: It's very important. You've got to have that between your safeties, because your safeties run the defensive secondary. I think we've had that ever since I've been here. I came in, my red shirt sophomore year starting with Considine, and he got on me right away. He wanted me, we stayed together in camp, in hotel rooms, he wanted to be around me at all times so we could have that togetherness to be able to rely on each other.
Q: Is Phil Parker really crazy?
Paschal: He's not really crazy, he's a good guy. He'll get on you, but no, he's not crazy.
Q: He's got that notoriety for liking to yell?
Paschal: Yeah, he does.
Q: What's the worst he's cracked on you about?
Paschal: Last year, he knew I was kind of aching a little bit. He used to talk about how slow I was on the field and everything like that. He's a jokester. He plays with you. When it's time for business, it's time for business. He can play around and joke sometimes, too.
Q: What do you know about Northern Illinois?
Paschal: Not too much. I know they've got a real good running back, I've heard. Other than that, not too much. A week ahead, then I'll start getting on them. I'm really just focused on getting to camp, being with my teammates and working hard. Whatever we achieve during camp is what we're going to rely on the rest of the season.
Q: Have you ever seen NIU play on TV or anything before?
Paschal: I think I've seen a couple highlights of their running back, but other than that, I can't say I have.
Q: The MAC in general, I know you've played a number of MAC teams the last few years, what's your take on the conference as a whole?
Paschal: I know they've got some great players and have for the last few years. Guys like Leftwich and Pennington and Roethlisberger, all those type of guys. They've got good athletes over there, so we'll have to really come out and play hard that game.
Q: The NIU game is right in the middle of the schedule for you guys. Is that an inconvenience for you guys, a distraction at all?
Paschal: I don't think it's a distraction being right in the middle of the Big Ten. No matter who you play, what conference they're in, you've got to prepare to play Iowa Football.
Q: I was just talking to Drew about his competitiveness. He mentioned he's gotten into some fights with DBs over late hits on receivers. Number one, did any of those fights involve you, and number 2, what's it like getting to know somebody like that an understanding that competitive nature?
Paschal: One, the fights were not with me. If I make a hit, you're not going to come over there. You know we'll get into a tussle. Guys will be out there making plays, and Drew's a competitor. Not going to lie about that, he'll get up in there. He'll run up and get in a DB's face, into the line. With Drew, the linemen follow his lead. They have a big old group fight. It's all about loving the game, nobody's getting hurt or anything like that. After it, we can laugh about it. Just going against Drew every day, it's very helpful for me, as I know it is for him. Being two guys that have been working real hard, we're both here representing our team. I think that makes us better, we can feed off each other.