Stanzi Prepared for Aggressive Illini

Iowa quarterback Rick Stanzi will make his third career road start Saturday against an Illinois team that is backed into a corner. Stanzi knows that the Illini will be aggressive on defense, and he talks about the challenges ahead.

Q: Did you get a chance to watch Illinois and Wisconsin?

Rick Stanzi: I did get a chance to watch it, as I had some down time. It was a good game, they are both good teams. We played Wisconsin and it was interesting to watch how their defense played. Illinois is a tough team and it didn't come out the way they wanted. We are not expecting anything less than their best game against us. They are a good team with great athletes.

Q: What are the adjustments you have to make for a 2:30 kickoff?

Stanzi: Wake up a little bit later, that is good for us. Other than that, none.

Q: Is it your job to make sure that all of the players are lined up at the line of scrimmage where they are supposed to be?

Stanzi: That is important, you have to make sure that you trust in your teammates to be lined up, but there are times when there are questionable calls and things get hectic. If you get a chance, you take a peak to see that your receivers are where they are supposed to be. That is something that we try to work on preseason, get all of those things fixed up before the games.

Q: Do you expect Illinois to be aggressive on defense?

Stanzi: Most of the teams that we do play, like Wisconsin, they are very aggressive. Illinois is the same way. We know that we are going to expect to see a very aggressive team, hitting hard, be all over the receivers and trying to stop everything they can and focus on the run. We expect them to get to the ball. I think you always have to expect a team's best effort each week. For our O-Line, they will see on film how they have to play guys. If they are really aggressive, that could be good for us in the play action.

Q: You guys aren't about individual accolades, but Shonn Greene is putting up some Heisman numbers, but it doesn't seem like the national media is taking note. What are your thoughts on that?

Stanzi: We don't worry about the national media, or what they think. That is not really one of our concerns when we are trying to prepare. Shonn is the same way, he is soft spoken. He is a great player and the people that need to know that, do. As far as the national media, that is not a concern of ours.

Q: Did the bye come at a bad time for you, stopping momentum?

Stanzi: The bye week is nice, it's nice to have a break and have time off. At the same time, it can be good and bad. You have to see what happens this week. You can script the season, play the first half, get a bye, then you have a four game finish. You can't let the bye week slow you down. You have to keep going and not let it hamper you in any way.

Q: Were you able to relax?

Stanzi: I laid around and watched football. It was strange not having to get up Friday and Saturday and do the normal football routine. I am not gonna lie to you, it was nice to relax.

Q: What do you think of Illinois linebacker Brit Miller?

Stanzi: He is an aggressive player, a strong kid. He has a good head for the game, he knows where he needs to be. He is a veteran player. He is someone we have to take into account at all times. You have a guy that is right there in the middle, able to make plays, you have to keep an eye out for him.

Q: How do you remember the high school playoffs?

Stanzi: In Ohio, the state playoffs, or any state, state football playoffs are nice. We got two games into it my junior and senior year. It's exciting. I don't know how it compares to being a Big Ten player. High school is different from college.

Q: Was the bye week a chance for you to take stock of what you have done so far, and what you have to improve on?

Stanzi: Yeah. As far as what I have done personally, I still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of room to improve. The bye week was a chance to get some practice under our belt, where we were focused more on technique and stuff like that. It was nice to be able to focus on some other areas. You are always doing that, whether it's the game week or the bye week.


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories