Transcript: Julian Vandervelde

Julian Vandervelde went from a greyshirt recruit to a scholarship athlete, to now joining the two-deep as a redshirt freshman. Read what he had to say about the whirlwind two years, the young defensive linemen, advice from an NFL player, and more in this premium transcript.

Q: Coming from a walk-on, to having that scholarship falling into your lap, then being on the two-deep coming into fall camp, has that caught up to you yet?

Julian Vandervelde: Right now I'm just living the dream. I couldn't ask for a better situation, a better team to be on. It was a little tough at first, making the adjustment. You catch up real quick, just because everyone is so supportive. I had Marshal Yanda, Bryan Ryther, Mike Elgin, guys like that, taking me under their wing and showing me around. It really only took me a few days to get adjusted to the way that Iowa life is.

Q: Is there one thing you had the hardest time getting into?

Vandervelde: I'm still working on the mental side of it. It's so huge, you have no idea in high school, just how much there is to learn and how big the learning curve is. It's going to take me another year before I'm really really solid on all the line calls, the audibles, everything. I've got guys like Rob Bruggeman that have stepped into the leadership role. If I've got a question, they're there.

Q: Is there one guy you go to for the mental side, the technique, guys with particular strengths to drain that type of information from?

Vandervelde: For general information I'll go to Seth Olsen, he's a good guy that I've always gone to, if I've got a tougher question, I'll probably call Mike Elgin, he's in the NFL now, but once you're here, it's a part of your blood. For the mental side, right now, it's either Rafael Eubanks or Rob Bruggeman. Even injured, he is an invaluable asset, just being a center and being here for so long, knowing what's going on.

Q: Did you talk to (Rafael) about getting that opportunity to play early on in your career?

Vandervelde: I haven't yet, but that's probably a good idea. I should probably ask Raf about it. Getting in, seeing what it's like for him.

Q: What are you seeing, outside of the front four defensive linemen, of the guys we haven't seen yet, Dunn, Clayborn, those people that maybe we've heard about, but don't really know about on the field?

Vandervelde: Our defensive line corp is strong right now. I've been watching them in the weight room, lots of bumps, lots of gains. I know Adrian in particular has been doing a fantastic job. We have a lot of young guys. An absolute boatload of young defensive linemen coming in this year. All I can hope for right now is that they're willing to put in the work that all of us are. I think they are, that's the kind of guys we recruit.

Q: As these freshmen linemen are coming in, are you taking that role that guys were to you coming in? Getting them acclimated?

Vandervelde: I'm trying, that's for sure. Markus Zusevics, Adam Gettis, Bryan Bulaga, they're the new guys. Each of our guys, I think, in our own way, try and step up to the next level, when we move forward a year. For me, a lot of that is going to those guys, if they have a question, they know that they can come to me. If I don?t know the answer, then I'll point them to the guy who does. I had a recruit, a walk-on named Ben Thilges, and he's come down a couple weekends and I've spent time showing him around Iowa City. Showing him the good places to eat, the good spots to hang out, the places to stay away from. When you move forward a year, I think you feel a responsibility to step up.

Q: Physically, is it hard to believe Bryan Bulaga is a freshman, just how huge he is?

Vandervelde: He is a big, big kid. I believe it, because they tell me it's true. From a physical standpoint, he's impressive, to say the least. It is a little odd, for me. This is the first place I've ever come to where people younger than me are taller than me. That's an adjustment to be giving him advice, turn around, and I'm looking up. It's not something I'm particularly uncomfortable with.

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