NW Week: Seth Olsen Q&A

Iowa junior offensive lineman Seth Olsen has a preference when it comes to his favorite type of blocking assignment: is it run blocking or pass blocking? Olsen answers that question and more in this week's Q&A session.

Q: How big was that second half for this offense, going forward?

Seth Olsen: Coach had confidence in us to keep running the ball and that helped us overcome the deficit, and overcome a penalty in the overtime and come back the next play and score a touchdown. Those things have been hard to overcome for us.

Q: How important is it for you guys to establish something on offense, maybe even to help out the defense?

Olsen: It's very important for us. You look at the first half last week, the defense was on the field a lot. We should take the blame for the points being score, the offense. We can't expect the defense to hold down a team when they are working on no rest with our three and out's. You can't expect the defense to have enough juice to keep stopping a team. Against Illinois, we established the run and established a solid offense even though we didn't score much. That allowed the defense time to rest and slow down Illinois. We have to keep doing that these last three games.

Q: You have known Adam Shada for a long time, as you played together in high school. How hard is this injury for him?

Olsen: It's real tough. I think he has kind of had an injury prone career. He has battled ankle injuries last year and the year before. He has always been banged up. It's tough. His spirit is still high that he can come back. I don't know what his timeline is. I think he is upbeat about it and he wants to get on the field for his last few games as a Hawkeye. I hope and pray that he can make it back on the field.

Q: What do you feel it says about the offensive line when you have a running back get 179 yards rushing?

Olsen: It says that we opened a few holes for him. Some of those runs, we opened the hole and he did more breaking tackles and fighting for extra yards, he was almost down and got back up. It's not just what we do, the receivers too. The touchdown run that he had, it was blocked well down the field. It is a whole team effort.

Q: Looking at the second half, what did you notice between you and your offensive line mates that you did more effectively?

Olsen: Just move the ball. We only had one drive in the first half where we moved the ball, otherwise we had three and outs. The second half we were running the ball effectively. One of the things that we did was to protect Jake really well. There shouldn't have been an overtime. We should have been able to finish it out. We had three series at the end of the game where we went three and out. That is one thing that we need to do, close out the game. The same thing happened against Illinois, we had a chance to close it out and not worry about an interception at the end.

Q: As a lineman, is it easier to get excited about running the ball, and pushing your guy forward than it is to pass block where your first step is backwards?

Olsen: Definitely. Most offensive linemen would tell you that they love running the ball. I think we love the physical aspect of the game. That is why I became a lineman. Well I didn't have a choice. But that is how I like playing the game, getting physical. It's more enjoyable to run it 45 times than pass it.

Q: Was that a part of the second half change, knowing that he was going to get the ball that many times and your job was to get physical?

Olsen: We knew we were going to pound the ball. Coach O'Keefe said that on Thursday and Friday and he did not deviate from the plan even though we were down by 14 at the half. We kept pounding it. When the running game is working, it gives us confidence to open up the play action pass that we almost broke at the end of the game, it was just off James' fingertips.

Q: When you are out there blocking, do you get more enjoyment out of taking a lineman out of the play, or getting to the second level and wiping out a linebacker?

Olsen: That is one thing I need to work on, my linebacker blocks. The guy that you go against most of the time is the guy right across from you. That is what I enjoy more, more of the challenge, how does this guy play and how will I do against him.

Q: Is there much smack talk amongst the linemen?

Olsen: No, I don't really get into that whole talk. I know that some of the players do, skill players. Linemen don't usually talk back and forth.

Q: Matt Roth talked a lot.

Olsen: I am sure that he did. He was a special player, and he had the right to say more words than most.

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