How do you guys view playing a Division IAA opponent?
Any way you look at it, you have to respect your opponent. We do realize that they're from IAA, but you also have to consider the transfers they get every year. And there's really not a big difference between IA and IAA, especially with a team like that being one of the better teams. I hear they're ranked third. You can argue that that they're the best IAA team in the country. With that being said, we know we've got to bring it to them and start fast like we usually do. You don't want to get in a dogfight with those guys because then it's a toss-up and anything can happen.
What do you know about Montana, not so much as a football team but as a state?
(Pause with smile) I know one person from Montana. Other than that, I don't know. Coming out of high school, I didn't know where Iowa was. At least I sort of knew about the wrestling team. I have no idea what Montana is. But I do know they have a pretty nice football program. That's the only thing I'm concerned about.
Can you talk about yourself and the running game? It's not an exhibition game by any means, but it's still a chance for you guys to get some kinks out, you think, in the first game?
Trust me, the way that Coach Ferentz has been working us this summer, the kinks are out. That was definitely the most physical, mentally demanding camp I've been in. I know Coach Ferentz has stated that it's been one of the tougher camps that he's put on. So, I tell you right now, the running game has been looking sharp at practice. It's time to put on a show on Saturday.
Is the top priority not to stub you toe in September this year?
You can say that. That's out there. Everybody knows that. We have to come out stronger and finish in September. That's obviously an emphasis that the coaches have put on us during the summer. You could tell as players. We know it's no joke. September is going to be big for us.
You talk about tough camp and so on, but you haven't been tackled yet.
Yeah, that's the only difference though. I haven't been taken down to the ground, but I'm still doing everything else. We had three scrimmages during camp. I didn't quite participate in that, but I've done everything else, every day, team work and seven on seven drills. You guys will see on Saturday. If anything, I'm going to be more explosive when I hit somebody because I'm as fresh as can be.
So, you're fresh?
Oh yeah, definitely. I'll tell you that right now. My legs never felt this good going into an opening game. No soreness at all. Everything is there. I'm definitely excited to go.
Aside from the game, what are you most looking forward to this weekend?
(Long pause) That's pretty much all I'm looking forward to this weekend. That's all I have. We get to see where we are as a team and see how quick we can gel. That's always important for teams, especially an offense. Generally teams have offenses that have problems getting starting fast. That's all over at every level. It will be nice to see where we're at and gel a little fast and mesh.