Q: (A question on the anticipation on campus)
Mitch King: There's only been one day, and I've only had one class, so I really don't know how it is so far. Time will tell, I guess. I'm anticipating it's going to be pretty crazy all week long.
Q: Did you grow up hearing about the 85 Michigan game, other Hawkeye games that are infamous to fans?
King: I was born in 86, so no.
Q: I know you didn't watch the game, but as a kid that grows up in Iowa, do you hear about these legendary games, and stuff?
King: I would presume if you were a big college football fan, you would. But again, like I've said before, I wasn't a big college football fan. Being here the last 3 years, you've been hearing about them a lot. You see it on ESPN Classic, all that sort of stuff, you see all the big games. The last couple years I have been hearing about it a lot.
Q: When they first approached you as a middle linebacker, to play tackle, that's not a natural move to make, in football. What was your first reaction?
King: My initial thought, I probably shouldn't tell you, but I was a little worried that I wasn't going to get enough playing time. I wouldn't get what I wanted to, I should say, not enough. I knew it was going to be starting all over. I felt like I put a significant amount of time in film and learning the LB position, then switching was like teaching an old dog new tricks. It kind of hurt my feelings a little bit that I wasn't the linebacker that they thought I was. I just bit my tongue and helped the team out, worked as hard as I can on the line position.
Q: What was that first day like, I imagine you got your lunch handed to you a few times?
King: The first day, I got little breaks. Aiken's pretty intense on his drills and stuff, so I got a few hall passes, as he calls them. Other than that, after the first day, it was all downhill for me. I was in spring ball, and that was pretty tough for me.
Q: You had an all-American DL in the family, did you talk to him a little bit about it?
King: I did. He was a defensive lineman all his life, so he just told me, "Some days you've just go to go out there, and even though you don't like it, work your butt off and keep going." That's what I tried doing every day.
Q: Did you do any 1-on-1 drills with him over the summer?
King: He gave me some tips and things like that, but I'm still scared of him, he's still my big brother.
Q: Are you further along than you thought you'd be at this stage?
King: Thought? Maybe, but hoped for? No. I'm not quite satisfied with where I am. I'm glad with where I am, and proud of how hard I worked to get here. To answer your question, I think I should be a little further.
Q: What was maybe the first play you made that you thought, "This might work, I might have a home here."
King: At LB, I presume coaches would tell you I was a downhill kind of guy. I was a read run first, react to the pass second. That's what helps you the most. I always know where I'm going, I'm going forward every play. That really helps you out a lot. There was no significant play that I realized that this was going to fit for me. I just kind of grew into realizing everything, learning the defense. After I got the grasp of it, I knew I'd be at home.
Q: What was the lightest you played at least year?
King: I think game days I was in the 240s. It got pretty light, I guess. Especially the hard weeks of practices, I lost a lot of weight during that week.
Q: Does that even wash over you? You're going against 330-pounders every other week now, it seems like.
King: Not at all. I tell the younger guys, it doesn't really matter how much you weigh, it's how much effort you put into each play. Each play is a new play, so if you put 100% effort into every play, you're going to do a darn good job.
Q: How much is your quickness an advantage for you as well?
King: That helps me a little bit too. Some guys get a hold of me, 240 pounds is not going to push off of them too well, but I could run around them pretty quick.
Q: How didn't you wrestle in high school? You fit that mold, but you went for swimming?
King: I was a swimmer. If I would have wrestled, I think I would have been grounded my whole high school career. My mother told me if I wrestled, I'd have no personal life. I took it in stride, but I liked swimming, it was good for me. I think it helped me quite a bit.
Q: How important is it going to be to put pressure on Troy Smith?
King: You notice that he's trying to be a pocket quarterback a little more. To get him moving and to get him out of his norm this year, we're going to have to put a lot of pressure on him. Make him make a few more bad decisions than he's used to. We need to put pressure on him. Not just pressure, I think we need to put some hits on him, to know that we're serious about this game, we're going to come at him every play.