Open Practice: Mitch King Transcript

Mitch King spoke with the media following Iowa's open practice on Saturday. Read what he had to say on the defensive line, the progress he's made since last year, the overall 'feel' of practice, and much more on this premium transcript.

Q: The weight's kind of on you guys now. The young guys are going to be carried on the DL, whereas maybe a year ago you had Greenway and Hodge behind you. Do you guys feel that?

Mitch King: Last year, Greenway and Hodge were the focal point. Obviously they were the seniors, they were all-Americans. I think the defense as a whole has taken it on their shoulders. I don't think anything is actually on the D-Line, any extra expectations, I should say. I think the defensive backfield is going to be real good. We're all going to click. We're all clicking right now. I think as the media is concerned, the defense as a whole has taken some of the weight off of our shoulders.

Q: What's it like being in front of a crowd again, for the first time in 8 months?

King: That's the shock. I was talking, me and a couple of the other guys were joking about how we were doing so well all week then we get in front of 8-10,000 people and we screw up on the simple things. We've just got to focus a little harder, that's the big thing. Just focus, really key on what we have to do out there.

Q: Do you ever get used to the enthusiasm that the kids and fans in this state have for the program? Was that you, 10-12 years ago?

King: Yeah. I mean, I was asking some of the little guys running around where they came from. Some of them came from the other side of the state, which is driving 5 hours for a practice, that's a little crazy. Hawk fans are Hawk fans, through and through.

Q: Have you sensed that Kenny's come back with a purpose? Since he's been back, he's looked pretty motivated out there today.

King: He's got a lot to prove, coming back, trying to get his starting spot back. Alex is doing well, and he has some big competition in front of him. I think you could say he's got a chip on his shoulder.

Q: It seemed like you are using a lot of rotations, both inside and outside. Do you see where maybe 3 men on the inside, 3 men on the outside?

King: We don't know yet. We're still trying to find out who our best guys are. Today we got a lot of film to watch and a lot of good film to watch and a lot of bad film to watch to tell us who are those best guys. Right now the coach is just throwing a bunch of guys in there to see how they do and look at the circumstances.

Q: Would you rather be in there every down, the whole game, or is it nice to have maybe you, Matt and Ryan rotating in and giving you guys a breather here and there?

King: That's the great thing about having so much depth. You know that you at 98% isn't as good as Ryan's 100%. It gives the team and edge, and gives us defensive linemen an edge as well to get breaks and everybody to be 100% at all plays.

Q: How much stronger do you feel this training camp as opposed to last year, physically?

King: Coach just keeps telling us it isn't all about strength, it's all about your effort. Me knowing more about the d-line system helps me out a lot more than it did last year. Last year I was just off the wall, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just running around. This year I'm buckling down, I know the plays and everything which makes it a lot easier.

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