ISU Week: Rick Stanzi Q&A

The Iowa Hawkeyes will square off against their hated instate rival Iowa State this weekend. As you might imagine, the big game was the big talk at this week's press conference day. Rick Stanzi talked about the quarterback battle, his play, and more...

Q: What schools were recruiting you?

Rick Stanzi: MAC Schools. Iowa had been recruiting me the whole time, and Coach O'Keefe came to visit. Then I came to Iowa, I felt at home and very comfortable with everything. It reminded me a lot of my high school, the way things were done around here. It was an easy decision for me, I could see myself not only playing football, but going to school and being around the atmosphere here at the University. It's a great place, a lot of people love it. People come from all around. It was a relatively easy decision once I came on my visit.

Q: Has it been hard dealing with this quarterback battle?

Stanzi: A little bit. It's not something that you want, because either way, it can go good or bad. It's a competition. I said earlier, being that it's at quarterback, there is more publicity and it makes it tougher. At the end of the day, you still have a job to do and that is play football. You have to compete, and that is what it all comes down to; how hard we work as a team and as an offense. That is the main goal.

Q: With all due respect to FIU, things will get tougher Saturday. Do you have a feel for how much more difficult things will be than in the first two games?

Stanzi: We understand how hard they will play. We watched tape from last year and they played really hard against us and played a great game. We have to be ready for every team's best effort. If you prepare yourself that way. If you go into a game thinking it will be easy, that is the worst thing you can do. We have to be ready for their best shot, be of that mindset and be ready to give our best shot and play a lot hard and with more focus. You should take each team seriously.

Q: Does it worry you at all that this team has not been challenged where as Iowa State had a pretty decent opponent last week?

Stanzi: It doesn't worry us. It will come at some point, you will have a battle. We know it won't be an easy road. The main thing is having the right mindset, knowing that nothing will be easy from here on out. Once we figure that out, then we can come into each game ready to play.

Q: Things have been easy up to know. Have you guys done what you have wanted to do?

Stanzi: Yeah. Credit to us, we have prepared to make it like that. We have had good weeks of practice, and the coaches have been harping on us to not take teams lightly. With this week coming up, maybe we took them a little lightly last year. That is an opportunity for us and we are ready to go to work.

Q: Do the students talk to you about wanting to beat ISU?

Stanzi: A little bit. Nothing too serious the past few days. You do understand the importance of it, being around the campus, everyone has the Beat State shirts. It's important to people. Once you realize how important it is to the fans, it doubles the importance to you. You are the player; you are one of the people that can help win the game. We will have the fan support Saturday, and we are excited.

Q: Kirk said a few times you were not a factor in the quarterback debate last year. What have you done to change that?

Stanzi: The only thing you can do is work at your game, work on things that you have to fix. Little mistakes that will eventually make a difference. Watch film, work on the throws that you are having trouble with. Once you shore some of those things up, your confidence will go up and then when you do get the chance in the spring or in camp, you can make the plays that need to be made in order to show that you can play on Saturdays.

Q: A year ago, your name was not known. Now, you have all of us interviewing you. What is that like?

Stanzi: It's different. It's something I have never had before, so I am just still adjusting to it as it comes. It's something new, so I am not sure how to go about it. I am learning on the run. It hasn't been too tough so far. We do have a big game this week, so there is a lot more going into this than there has been in the past. We understand the importance.

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