Q: (A question on receivers)
Jake Christensen: We have 8 or 9 receivers that'll play in each game. We've got Albert and Damian, who have obviously been a 1-2 punch the last few years, Tom Busch. We've got guys everywhere. We're deep at tight end with Brandon and tony. I think we've got a lot of it, as long as we use them well, I think it'll be to our advantage.
Q: Being an Illinois kid, it's got to be exciting to start the season off at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Christensen: Yeah, it's exciting to think about it, but we're 1 day into camp and one practice. We have a lot of work to go before we can start thinking about that.
Q: What's this time of year like, can you have any fun or are you working too hard?
Christensen: It's fun. We come out, I think everyone is pretty excited to get on the field. I know we had some momentum built from the Alamo bowl and we're trying to build on that, keep that going. I think we're pretty excited for the season to start.
Q: Can you address the schedule? A lot of people don't think you're playing a strong non-conference.
Christensen: I don't think that's much of a big deal.
Q: Does it feel like ‘your' team?
Christensen: I don't think it's ever one man's team. If one guy thinks it's his team, the chemistry will obviously break down. Everyone has to feel like they're important and like they serve a role. You're only as tough as your weakest link, I think. It's cliché, but it's true. You're only as good as your least-talented player. Unfortunately, there are least-talented guys, but they mean something on this team too, it's important to know that.
Q: You've been here two years, and you're finally the starter, probably the starter. How does it feel, something you've wanted since day one?
Christensen: It feels good. I think when you sign with a college you're always trying to start and be a successful player. I think there's a lot of guys this year that came in my class or the class before me that are going to be playing a more prominent role than they have in the past. I think a lot of guys are really looking forward to getting a chance out there.
Q: You mentioned that recruiting classes, one of Iowa's best in a while. Are you guys ready to show that potential and that hype was worth it?
Christensen: We did lose 9 or 10 guys, which kind of hurts, but all the guys that are here are working hard. Whoever's on the field is going to do a good job.
Q: How much did going 2-6 in the Big Ten, I don't want to say "change mentality" but affect guys' mentality coming into this year?
Christensen: You don't want to dwell on a bad season, you don't want to talk about it too much, but you've got to learn from it at least. You've really got to take the negatives from it and try not to repeat your mistakes. You don't want to forget about it, but you also don't want to dwell on it. It's a new season with new opportunities and we're going from there.
Q: How about these receivers you're working with. Coming into last year, they were extremely young. This year they still seem young, but there's a lot of talent there with a lot of potential. How do you assess those guys?
Christensen: Potential is a tricky thing, because a lot of times it doesn't work out. There is a lot of potential. There are going to be 8 or 9 guys flowing in and out of the game, I feel, every game. We need to get to the point where in the 4th quarter it doesn't matter what receivers or RB or TEs are in there. We're comfortable.
Q: You've just had one day of practice, but do you ascertain what this team's personality or make-up might be?
Christensen: I don't even know yet, I don't think any of us do. We're 1 day into it. We've worked real hard this summer, and that's really all we have to go off of right now. Over the winter, we worked hard. The summer, we worked hard. On the field mentality is hard to tell yet. We'll find out for the first game.
Q: What do you do to avoid the errors that Drew Tate made as a sophomore?
Christensen: I think it might be inevitable. I don't shy away from it. It's a natural question, people ask those types of questions and they're entitled to know. We're obviously different. I'm a lefty, he's a righty, a different type of personalities. He's a lot more outgoing, fiery, I guess. I'm a bit more of a lead-by-example. Not introverted, but I don't always necessarily wear my heart on my sleeve. We're different.
Q: Do you go into this pre-season doing anything different over the summer, knowing that you were the expected starter as compared to last season?
Christensen: Like I said, I've gotten this a couple times, you can't really do anything different. You've always got to train like you're the starter and you're going to be in the game. Coach preaches to all of us, "next man in." It's so true. Last year, Jason and I both played a whole game, we had a lot of guys start games who didn't think they would. You've always got to be ready.
Q: Where do you want to grow and improve between here and the end of practice, before the NIU game?
Christensen: There's a lot of areas, it's hard to pick one. I think just the tempo of our offense, just to make sure that we're moving at full speed and doing things right, correctly, and making sure we're successful. I think you try and work on one thing a day, maybe your feet one day, your release the next day, but you can't really get caught up in mechanics. It's more about chemistry.
Q: Do you have the whole playbook, the whole gamut at your disposal?
Christensen: This is my third year, I've got a pretty good idea of the playbook. We added a couple things here and there, but I've got it down.
Q: How good is it to know that you have Albert healthy again back there?
Christensen: It's good to know. Last year, he wasn't necessarily unhealthy, he was just banged up. His hip was bothering him a lot. Him and Damian both being healthy is going to be really important for us to be successful. You have to run the ball well in the Big Ten, that's just how it is. We had one year, Drew's first year starting, which I don't want to say was a fluke, but it was kind of miraculous to win the Big Ten having not that good of a rush offense. We have to run the ball well, and those guys being healthy obviously is a huge part of that.
Q: You don't want to look at too many stats, but 118th in the nation last year for time of possession. How important is it to increase that for the success of this offense?
Christensen: I didn't even know that until just now, but I guess if you have 50-second drives where you're scoring touchdowns, it's not a big deal. I don't think we really focus on that, we just focus on getting first downs and moving the chains.
Q: You're probably a cubs fan, who replaces Soriano?
Christensen: I just saw that last night. I'm upset about that. I don't know. Probably Matt Merton, I don't know.
Q: Anything specific that coaches are making you work on this year?
Christensen: Little things here and there. Like I said, I don't think you go into practice saying I'm going to work on one thing, you get caught up in it and get deficient in another area. Coach O'Keefe is good at pointing out if you do one thing wrong, your feet are too wide, follow through, things like that to work on. Play-by-play though, I wouldn't say over a whole area.
Q: How much is your father a role model to you in the way that he played the position?
Christensen: He obviously groomed me up into this point. As soon as I got to college, he still tells me little mechanical things I do wrong, but he's kind of backed off. He has just as much respect for these coaches and players, like most of the parents do, or they wouldn't have sent their kids here. He's been my role model. He's someone I can talk to late at night if I'm thinking about something, I can just give him a call.
Q: Were you raised to be a QB?
Christensen: When he figured out I could throw he started going with that. It was kind of early, I think. He says it was early. I don't really remember. I remember throwing the ball when I was little. I actually remember hitting baseballs more than football, but he says I was into football.
Q: 10, or before that?
Christensen: I don't know. I played my first game when I was 8 or 9.
Q: How did you end up at Iowa?
Christensen: Just the coaches. Actually, I came out here during the summer, met Trey, met Marcus Wilson, playing receiver at the time. Trey committed that day, then we came for camp. My dad and I were scheduled to go down south to some SEC schools to see them. I told him, ‘I really have no desire to go, I want to commit.' He said, ‘Alright, let's do it.' There's nothing I can really find wrong with the coaching staff, and that's what it's about. Winning and losing is going to come and go, that's just how it is. Recruiting, all the things that play into it. Coaching staff is always going to be the staff.
Q: You had the redshirt year, then the backup year, now you're the starter. Are you happy that it's been able to happen that way for you, how you planned it?
Christensen: That's kind of the idea. You want to get a year or two to learn, then be in the mix and get a chance to play some games and start. That's where a lot of guys are at. We've all seen each other grow. We've all learned to know each other, all the young guys. I think it's going to be a good mix.