NIU Week: Jake Christensen

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday and Wednesday's practices likely would determine who will replace Drew Tate as the team's starting QB this week. One of the contestants is redshirt freshman Jake Christensen. He met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the opportunity and also his relationship with his competitor, Jason Manson.

You get a shot this week at starting.

I haven't even talked to coach yet. I don't know what the circumstances are, but I'm sure whoever is there will do a good job.

Well, you're 3 for 3 on the year.

(Laughs) I don't know how substantial that is or how good evidence that is of how someone is going to play with three passes against second string defense.

But, you've had enough reps to feel confident about your ability if you get in there?

Yeah, absolutely, that's how it is around here. Everybody gets enough reps and the next man in concept is always going on in this building.

It's like a two-day trial it sounds like to see who is going to get the start on Saturday. What do you try to impress upon the coaches most?

We just both play our game and just try to prepare like we have all year. You don't change anything just because the circumstances change. You always prepare the same.

Dad ought to be pretty happy about this situation.

You're never happy when the starting quarterback goes down. That's never a good situation. But when somebody goes down, it creates opportunities for other guys. The guys have to step up and try to do the job as good as the starter would.

Do you feel ready to start?

Yeah, everyone who is a backup here feels ready to start. That's coaches motto, next man in. He's always preached that to us since Day 1 when we set foot here. So, that's a big part of the success here.

Has there been a time here when you figured, "Hey, I'm not getting as much as I thought I would?"

No, I mean, for the most part everyone came here knowing what to expect. You do your homework in choosing a school. That eliminates the surprise factor of anything that happens in college.

Some coaches don't like left handed quarterbacks.

(Chuckles) Well, that's their deal.

Well, I think Coach Ferentz does.

Well, I hope so. I can't switch over now. It's a little too late. I'll be 21 in August.

You spend a lot of time with Drew. Have you talked to him and how is he doing with all of this?

I haven't talked to him but I'm sure he's pretty upset. He's as fierce a competitor as you'll find. He's one of a kind when it comes to that regards. I'm sure he's pretty upset, but I'm sure he'll be back next week. He's going to work hard and get back to play.

Coach Ferentz didn't rule out the possibility of both you and Jason playing on Saturday. What is that like for a quarterback in a game? Have you ever been involved in that kind of situation before where two quarterbacks play?

No, I haven't, but I'm sure coach will make the best decision that's best for the team. Me and Jason are best friends. We'll support each other no matter what happens..

Coach says there will be a competition for the starting job this week. What do you do over the next two days to try to win that job?

I'm just going to play my game. You can't change how you prepare or how you do anything. You can't press. You can't be nervous. You just have to relax and just play the game you've been playing your whole life.

You must be excited at the chance to start, but is it kind of a grain of salt with the fact that you don't want to see anybody else get injured?

Yeah, it's always tough to see someone go down, but when it creates an opportunity for you, you have to try and take advantage of it.

Jason got the start at Syracuse because the coaches felt he was more prepared at that time. How much have you grown or picked up since that point of the season?

Everyone likes to think that with each week you get better. That's the case with a lot of guys here. A lot of us it was our first time game planning for a specific opponent. That was the second week of the season. We won the game. That's all you can ask. They made the right decision.

Northern Illinois has the 117th ranked pass defense in the nation. When you hear that, what do you think about the possibility of being able to throw against them?

Ahhhh, we'll call the games like we always have. I don't think I've ever heard coach throw out a stat where teams are ranked in passing or rush defense. Michigan was ranked No. 1 in rush defense and Penn State ran for 100 something on them. That stuff changes every week.

You said that you and Jason are best friends. Obviously, you're a competitor and you want to be out there. But is there a part of you that would like to see him go out there and maybe have a successful game in front of the home fans?

Yeah, a guy that has put that much time into a program, everyone wants to see him succeed and get his shot. It's a good situation for him because he's getting a lot of playing time. It's his last year. Whoever is in there will do a good job. We're all confident in that.


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