Media Day: Bryon Gattas

Bryon Gattas always dreamed of playing top flight college football and always admired Iowa from a distance. Gattas talks about why he chose IA ahead of MSU and KU, the battle for the Will LB position with Ed Miles, his strengths as a player and more in this HN.com Premium Q&A.

What's the experience been like working under Norm Parker?

Coach Parker, he's a great coach. He always has insight on every play when we're watching film. He's very good at helping us learn the defense. He keeps it pretty simple for us. He understands that it's tough. But he demands for us to get it perfect. It's just great to play under him.

Where do you feel like you are in terms of the race for the starting position and playing time?

Yeah. Obviously, we have a lot of depth at linebacker right now. We're trying to replace two guys who were really good. But, we have a lot of depth there. We'll see how things go during the summer. I'm still learning and just trying to improve and get better and trying to contribute in any way that I can to help our team achieve our goals.

Do you feel like you're behind the other guys a little bit just in terms of experience in this system?

Well, obviously, I don't know the defense as well as everybody else that's been here for a few years, right now. But it seems like I'm learning pretty well, and it's coming quick. The spring helped a lot. As summer camp started, I wasn't really sure what to expect and how much I'd be able to retain, but everything is clicking pretty well right now and as a team we're all getting it pretty well, too.

What are your strengths? What are the things that you're pretty comfortable with now?

I can improve in every area. I'm feeling pretty comfortable against the run right now. We've been working a lot on our pass coverage the passed couple of days. Obviously, we all need to improve in every area if we want to be a great team.

Are you a natural inside guy? DO you feel most comfortable in there?

In junior college, I played on the outside. It's kind of line the LEO backer here. It wasn't the most natural fit for me. Then. I moved on in to the inside. I definitely feel more comfortable in the inside. But I have no problem walking out and covering the receiver, too. That's what we need from our Will. Hopefully, I can do that.

Long story short, how did you end up here?

(Laughs) Well, it is a long story, but I'll keep it short. I went to a Division II school (Truman State) and it just wasn't for me. As a child you kind of dream of playing at a big time school and a big time program. I made a bad decision. I went there and it wasn't for me. So, I left and went to junior college to try to get somewhere bigger. I played running back my first year at junior college. I played a little bit of linebacker because of injuries. We decided that linebacker was the best fit for me in terms of natural ability. So, I made the move last season and thrived, I guess. And here I am now.

Who else was involved besides Iowa coming out of JC, and how did you end up picking Iowa?

It was mostly between Michigan State, Kansas and Iowa. Those were my top three. But Iowa is a school that I've always kind of admired in high school and even when I was at the smaller school. I appreciate the way that we work hard here and try to get the most out of our players here. It's just the way that you're suppose to do it. If you leave potential that's not maximized, you're just wasting talent.

What's it like working with Ed? You guys are fighting for the same spot.

Ed has been real helpful. He understands the situation that we really want to have two guys healthy and able to play the position. You can never have enough depth, especially at the linebacker position. You're getting special teams reps and defensive reps. It's always important to have a guy that can come in and spell you and get you some rest. He's been really helpful in helping me learn the position. Obviously, I've go tto learn it real quick. But he's been great. Any time I've had a question, Ed has no problem helping me out with it. If he sees me doing something wrong, he'll always come and correct me.

Do you feel like you're going to see some action on special teams?

Yeah, I feel like I should see the field quite a bit this year, I hope. But I'll do whatever is best for the team. We just want to win.


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