Syracuse Week: Kenny Iwebema

Kenny Iwebema spoke with the media on Tuesday in preparation for Iowa's game against Syracuse. Read what the returning starter had to say about his time in the stands, preparing for his first game of the year, playing in a dome, and much more in this premium transcript.

Q: Sitting in the stands on Saturday, how was that?

Kenny Iwebema: Nobody really wants to be in the stands when you think you should be on the field. It was a learning experience for me. I had to deal with what I had done. That was part of my punishment, and now we move on.

Q: How excited are you to get back on the field and try and earn your starting spot back?

Iwebema: I'm very excited. I just can't wait to get back to work today. We're worried about Syracuse, that's what we're doing, just getting ready for Saturday.

Q: From where you were sitting, how did the d-line look?

Iwebema: Everybody looked good. It's the first game of the season, so obviously there's going to be some things that everybody could work on, but they looked good out there, getting a lot of pressure and everything.

Q: When was the last time you sat and watched a game like that?

Iwebema: (Pause) I think it was Illinois my freshman year. Yeah, Illinois my freshman year. That's the last time I was in the stands.

Q: What was it like in the stands, were the students pretty active?

Iwebema: Every time the d-line made a play, there was one guy in particular, he just kept giving me a hard time about it. It was all in fun, it wasn't anything bad.

Q: What have you heard about the Carrier Dome and playing at Syracuse?

Iwebema: I haven't heard much about it, just that it's on field turf. We've got that out here. It's a dome, we've played in a dome before, I'm pretty sure. Isn't Minnesota in a dome? It's not really that different. I've also heard that there's no air conditioning in there. It can't be that bad, we've got the bubble. I've had a little bit worse than that.

Q: You guys have had some trouble in road openers in the past few years, what's the focus this week to make sure you win that road opener?

Iwebema: Just starting fast. Start fast on both sides of the ball. All 3 areas. Offense, defense, special teams. We're just trying to get better, get ready for Syracuse this Saturday.

Q: Do you think you'll feel any rust, maybe missing practices?

Iwebema: Probably, it's possible. I haven't played since January. We're just trying to get better. I've been working, just getting prepared for every game, just like I was going to play, even though I wasn't. I was paying attention to what the defense was doing, all the different schemes they were using. Mentally, I'm in it, but physical there might be a little bit.

Q: How much of a learning experience was that for you, in terms of off-the-field stuff?

Iwebema: Not taking things for granted. I missed it. I really did miss playing on Saturday. Obviously I won't put myself in a situation that I'd ever have to miss a game again.

Q: Ettore on the defensive line, how good was it to see him out there?

Iwebema: It was great. His first two years were real hard on him. Two season-ending injuries in camp. Obviously he was down, but it was great to see him get out there and make plays. Gives the offensive line a hard time trying to block him. It was really nice, I was real happy for him.

Q: What kind of guy is he off the field?

Iwebema: Not a real loud guy. He's nothing like me. I talk all the time, I'm always joking around. He gets mad at me a few times. He's a cool dude. He's just "E", that's just him.

Q: Is that what you guys call him, E?

Iwebema: Yeah. Big E. That's Big E right there, he's a cool dude. His locker is right next to mine. It's always fun to be around him, he's a cool guy.

Q: You mentioned not taking things for granted, how do you approach this week in practice, they've still got you listed as a 'slash' with Kanellis on the depth chart.

Iwebema: You always practice like you're going to play. From the first guy on the depth chart to the last guy on the depth chart. You never know what's going to happen, obviously. I have no control over who starts, I have no control over who plays. That's up to Coach Aiken and Coach Ferentz. I'm not even worried about it, I'm just getting prepared to play.

Q: Do you think sitting out that one game will change how you approach game days from now on?

Iwebema: A game day is a game day. You're always preparing for that game like you're going to play. You've got to. You never know what's going to happen in a game. You saw in 04, you never know what's going to happen. You've got to prepare like you're going to be that guy playing.

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