How did it feel to get back out on the field this weekend?
It felt good to finally be able to compete and be out there with your teammates and everything. So, I was just glad I was able to get back into the flow of everything.
What will the offense do now this week that you're going to have a different person throwing the ball; directing the offense? How do you guys react and what will you do now?
Very much like we did up at Syracuse. You have to rally behind them. We're confident that those quarterbacks can get the job done. So, we're not even concerned with that. It's just a matter of us rallying behind them and helping them out.
How does going into the week of practice knowing you're not going to have Drew change things?
It's just good to know what the situation is going to be like before hand. We'll find out who is going to be the guy, and whoever it's going to be he's going to be able to get his mind set focused on starting. Like you said, it won't be much of a surprise.
Does it matter to you when that happens?
No, it doesn't matter with us. We all have plenty of reps with both quarterbacks. It's not going to be that big of a deal. It doesn't matter what coaches says, who's going to take the first snap.
The offense seemed to struggle a little bit against Syracuse. Did that experience maybe help you guys? Can you draw upon that for this week's game?
We made a lot of mistakes that Syracuse game. That all can't be placed on the quarterback. It was definitely a different environment. We're at home this time. It will be a little friendlier. It was also good for Jason to get that experience. We learn from it and move on.
What's Jason like in the huddle? What's kind of his demeanor? Is he kind of a quieter guy?
He's not quiet. Jay really talks it up. Jay is relaxed and he's confident that he can get the job done. That's a good thing with him. He's been in the program. This is going into his fifth season. He knows what to do. He knows the checks. He's confident in that and you can tell his demeanor. We know that also.
How about Jake? What kind of quarterback is he? What's he like on the field?
Jake is confident. He's your typical quarterback. He believes he can get the job done when called upon. That's the type of attitude you want in your quarterback.
Is he a little more vocal than Jason or is his temperament closer to Drew's, maybe?
Yeah, he's a little closer to Drew.
How much is there a sense of urgency with this team with four games left and trying to get back to another January bowl and erase the bad feeling of the last two weeks?
Any time you lose two games like that back to back, you want to get back on the winning track as soon as possible. Our main concern right now is Northern Illinois. Everything else will take care of itself with bowl games and all the postseason stuff.
Do you see a scenario Saturday where the quarterbacks split time?
It's too early. I have no idea. We don't know what our coaches plan on doing. You guys know just as much as we do. This is our first day back, also. So, we don't know what's going on yet.
How is your knee holding up after Saturday?
It's alright. It's just one of those things, one of those sprains. It's something that I know I'm going to have to deal with the rest of the season. It's going to be sore and it's going to hurt at times. It's just something I'm going to have to deal with.
How many carries do you have in you? Can you do 20-25? Is it a thing where you and Damian are going to split time?
I'm not sure what it is, but that's the way it sure seems right now. Damian, he's definitely productive. So, there's no point in myself not being 100 percent and carrying the entire load when I don't have to. It's a different scenario than last year. I can see it more of a split and everything, but when you're in there, you want to get in a groove and get warm. Sitting too much, that's when you go in rusty.
Does this put more weight on the shoulders of you and Damian going into Saturday with Drew out?
I would expect for those guys to go out with a game plan to force the quarterback to do more, much like Syracuse. The running game is definitely going to have to be there to help out, but the quarterbacks are going to have to make plays themselves. They're going to force them to make plays. That's what we expect. That's what you expect any time you go in with someone who's not your starting quarterback. The other team is going to try to force them to make plays. If anything, he's going to have to step up because the box is going to be packed. That's a no brainer.
Have you talked to Drew in the last few days about his injury and what's going on? What's he like right now?
Drew is always how he is. He might have gone in today. I'm sure he'll be back for the next game. Drew is fine. He's alright. I mean, I'm sure he's down. It's his senior year, missing another game. But there is still a little more here to go.
What did you think of him playing the entire game after injuring it in the first quarter?
We weren't sure of the extent. It's not like anyone thought that he would need surgery. But Drew has done that plenty of times. We don't feel the pain, but it's not a good thing when your quarterback gets hit around like that. But Drew has always been somebody that if he gets knocked down, he's always getting right back up. We knew he would finish the game out even though I'm sure every time he took a snap it hurt. That's just him. We don't know if it made it worse or not, but we know Drew wasn't just going to leave his team out there.
In your experience, how hard is it to keep Drew out when he wants to play?
He's the ultimate competitor. And definitely with the circumstances now, it's his last season here, so you can imagine for a senior you don't want to miss any games. It's already hard enough not being a senior knowing that your games are getting limited here. Drew is definitely pushing to go in, but our coaches also realize we don't want to mess him up even more. Drew has a lot of football in him. So, you've got to be smart.
There's no real stat to show what Jason's meant to the program. But can you kind of explain how that's played out?
He's on the leadership council. Even though it's not a popularity contest, but usually guys picked are starters or play a significant amount. Jay has been there his whole career. That tells you right there. To not be the starting quarterback but every year his teammates are voting him as a leader. We keep saying it, but he's definitely the ultimate teammate. We tried to move him to receiver. Something happened to Drew. If Drew didn't get hurt this year, he would probably still be at receiver. But with Jay, there's no crying or complaining, he just goes to quarterback and just works. Getting out there is the No. 1 thing, wherever it's at, but he realizes that we need him at quarterback even if that doesn't mean being a starter. We know he's prepared. He's somebody who is always in here watching film day in and day out knowing that there's a good chance he's not going to play. This week, I'm pretty sure he's going to get an opportunity to play. We know he's well prepared.
Him being a senior and being connected to so many players is there almost a rally around him, when a situation pops up you want to see him start, you want to see him do well?
Whoever is in there, that's who we're going to rally behind, that's who we want to do well. But Jason is something that knows everything. He's just set back and not gotten caught up in everything and just play his role. It's good to see Jason go out there and get the opportunity to play and be successful.
Are there certain teammates that want to see a certain quarterback play? At what point do you want to get a look at the guy who's the future? Does any of that play with you guys?
We all just want the guy who is the most prepared and experienced and who is going to give us the best chance to win, regardless of who it is. It just happened to be up in Syracuse it was Jason. Jake has definitely grown. But we'll see on Saturday. It's going to be interesting to see what those guys are going to do with their opportunity.
How does it feel jumping out of the conference here deep into the season like this?
It's not really that big of a deal. The No. 1 objective is to get another win. We haven't had one of those in a while. Regardless of who it is, this game is definitely crucial.
As one running back looking at another, what makes Garrett Wolfe special?
He's very explosive; fast, quick, everything. He's not a power guy, but he's so much quicker and faster than everyone else. There's a need for that. There's a reason why he has so many yards. I know that he's been slowed down here the last couple of weeks. Very much like last year, our defense does a good job of shutting down backs, definitely prominent ones. So, we'll just see Saturday.
Three straight home games coming up, how nice is it to know that you have three in a row coming up at Kinnick?
Well, we haven't been doing too well on the road lately, so it's definitely nice to get back on home turf. It definitely helps a lot with the situation we've got with the quarterbacks to be in the home stadium. The crowd is going to be on our side. We'll give our fans something to cheer about.
You guys have faced adversity this season. Coming off two straight losses and without your starting quarterback is this maybe the most trying point of the season?
It's definitely getting there. There are only four games left and guys definitely want to get to a bowl game. Like Coach Ferentz was saying, we're preparing for our next Big Ten Championship because we're out of the race right now. We're definitely still pushing. This game is definitely very important just to get bowl eligible.