Media Day: Mike Humpal

AFter waiting his turn behind talented LBs at Iowa, Mike Humpal is ready to step out of the shadows. Humpal discusses his move into the starting spot, what it's like being compared to Steen and Woods, the keys to the LEO position and more in this Premium Q&A.

The coaches have a lot of confidence in you. So, you've obviously been displaying something on the practice field that people are going to get a chance to see on Saturday.

Yeah, coming out here every day and doing the best that you can, that stuff takes care of itself.

For someone that hasn't seen you play in game time situations outside of special teams and a few spots plays here and there, what do you bring to the table?

I believe that I can be a good leader. And from watching those older guys, just bringing that intensity and understanding the defense and making sure everyone holds up their end of the bargain.

What are some of the things that you learned from guys like Abdul and Chad?

Like I mentioned earlier, it's not exactly how they played the game because everyone is kind of different with different athletic ability. But it was the little things like coming to practice and playing hard every day and really getting into the film and understanding the defense not just our linebacking positions, but the rest of the defense, conceptually, in the whole scheme of things. That definitely helps.

In your mind, what are some of the keys to success at the LEO position?

The biggest key in the success is defeating the tight end first. On the outside, you play up on the tight end and things happen even that much quicker than they do on the inside. It's defeating the tight end first and then knowing what you have to do after that.

Coach Ferentz said that you have a chance to take this position to higher levels than did Grant Steen and LeVar Woods. When you hear that, does it put pressure on you or do you feel comfortable with those type of predictions?

Ah, no. I guess I never heard him predict where I would be today a while ago. They just always harp on just coming to work every day and just keep chipping away, chipping away and doing your best and that sort of stuff takes care of itself. As far as pressure, no, I wouldn't say so. You just keep doing what I'm doing. And that goes for everyone, just keep doing what we're doing. We'll be fine.

Was it hard waiting for your turn?

Yeah. I'd say so. But that's just the situation we found ourselves in. You just have to deal with it. You can't really do much about it other than trying to beat them out. But they we proven. They had their chance. They did the best with it.

Did it make it even more difficult with the knee injuries?

Yeah, I'd say so. The first year I was going to redshirt anyway. I lost some time there in scout team and that sort of thing. You just look at it differently. You always hear people say that when they get injured and come back, every day you're just glad that you can be out there and play. You just appreciate it a lot more.

How much did last year being able to get in on some 3-4 sets help you get your feet wet?

Yeah, it helped. Coach Ferentz always tells us that experience is the best thing for you. It's 100 percent true. You can't coach that and you can't practice experience.

How big of a celebrity are you in New Hampton these days?

(Laughs) I don't know. I feel the same as I did in high school.

Do you feel like you guys have something to prove? I guess the skeptics will wonder if you can fill the shoes of Abdul and Chad.

Yeah, I mean, we have to prove that we're good linebackers just as they did. That's probably about it, just prove that we can play football, too.

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