Is it going to be nice to play at Illinois?
Yeah, all my friends go to U of I, so it will be nice to go back home and play against that crowd. It should be a good one.
Was there a lot of trash talking in the offseason about this game?
Not really. All my friends are just supporting me and it will be nice to go back to my home state and all of my family and coaches can come see me play. Hopefully I do well.
Coach said Mike Jones won't be playing this week. How does it change the chemistry on the offensive line?
It changes it because I'm used to playing with him. But the coaches will put someone in just as good and we'll work this week and we'll gel. Hopefully by Saturday we'll be a tight unit like we have been the last three weeks.
You guys have been pretty good in the red zone. Is that something you work on a lot?
Yeah, the coaches really emphasize the red zone. We always emphasize scoring points when we get a chance to be in there. So, for us, it's just an extra boost when we know we're in the red zone because we know we need to score points.
Are you disappointed at all in the running game? Albert said that he in some ways is disappointed. How about as an offensive lineman?
As offensive linemen, we like to run the ball. We hope get more passing plays so we can make everyone happy. We're traditionally a running team, so I hope we get to run more so Albert can get the ball and do what he does best.
How do you think you've done so far?
I've done all right. Each week is a learning process. I just go in every week just trying to get better. Whatever I mess up on in a game try to focus on that during the week so when it comes to next Saturday I've become a better football player.
Are things going to get more physical in the Big Ten?
Oh yeah. Each week it gets more and more physical. Now we're in the Big Ten and we know it's going to be hard hitting. We're geared up for it. We just have to practice hard.
How happy were you for Tony last week?
I was pretty happy for him. When he scored, I ran all the way over there and gave him a big hug and congratulated him because he's a really good friend of mine and we've grown up together.
He kind of needed it, didn't he?
He's done what the coaches have asked of him in terms of blocking and stuff. It was nice to see that he got a pass.
Teams have really been stacking the box against you guys this year. Do you see this as a game where you might be able to get the running game going?
It depends on what the defense does. We base our defense off of what they do. Hopefully in this game we get to run more, but it just depends on what they do.
Can you use the pass to set up the run?
A little bit. A lot of teams are daring us to run with putting these guys in the box. Either way, with Drew's ability and Albert's ability, it's going to be hard for them to make us one dimensional.
Did you get a chance to see Yanda's block?
Yeah, that was one heck of a block. We were watching it on film on Sunday. I felt bad for the guy. He was a freshman. I guess Marshal showed him how the Big Ten plays. It was a nice block.
Is that what you dream of sometimes, to get a shot at a guy like that?
It would be nice, not to hurt the guy, but just to have a block like that. I'll take whatever comes.
Was Illinois on your radar screen at all (as a recruit)?
At first they were. They were the first team to give me a scholarship. When Ron Turner gave me that scholarship, I was looking at them. I really considered it. But then other teams started getting into play and then I started looking at my options.
What was it about their program that caused you to look other places?
I just didn't like where the team was at the time. I was also getting questions if the coaching staff was still going to be there. I didn't want to be in a program where they were going to lose their coaching staff and have to start all over. I didn't want to go through that transition. That was one main factors that I didn't go to Illinois.
Coach Ferentz said that most like Seth (Olsen) would move into Mike's spot this week. What type of a transition will it be for him moving in there?
The only hard part for him will be moving from the right to the left. After this week, me and him should be working really well together and I'm looking forward to it.