PSU Week: Rick Stanzi Q&A

Iowa quarterback Rick Stanzi had a mixed performance on Saturday against Illinois. He struggled at times but was brilliant at times. Stanzi and the Hawks prepare to take on the third ranked team in the nation in Penn State. Read what Stanzi had to say...

Q: Talk about playing the #3 ranked team in the nation this week.

Rick Stanzi: It's a big challenge for us as a team. We will have to play a really good game to beat them. They are a tough squad, good on both sides of the ball and special teams. We will have to be ready and have a great week of practice, focus all week and do what we have to do to get a win.

Q: Do you relish a challenge like this?

Stanzi: Yeah. There are not many times in your career when you get a chance to play a top five team at home. For us, it's a big deal and we need to treat it that way. We all have that mindset. But it's a big challenge.

Q: Is it fun to play spoiler to a team with national title hopes?

Stanzi: We are just trying to get a win; however that happens doesn't matter to us. We need to get a win and our confidence and improve our record.

Q: How important will protecting the football be this week?

Stanzi: It's important every week, it's a main focus. Their defense has an offense to compliment hem that can turn those mistakes into points, that is scary. You can't lose the ball.

Q: How much of a learning experience was last week, with your slow start but strong finish?

Stanzi: I think each week is a learning experience. You don't want to come out and have three turnovers and then play one good quarter. That will not help you win. Each time you turn it over, you need to learn from that and not repeat it. I have done that a couple times this year.

Q: What do you think about the student section wearing green this week?

Stanzi: I don't know. It will be kind of cool I guess. I guess that is for Shonn. I guess they will be green. I am not worried about that, I will be looking at the white jerseys.

Q: What is the process with plays coming in. Are they coming in late?

Stanzi: Sometimes on the road, it's tougher to get things in for whatever reason. The noise, getting people in and out of the huddle. We will work on that this week.

Q: Are the plays getting in there fast enough for you to process them?

Stanzi: There is a combination of things, it's not just one thing. We all need to do a better job of picking up our tempo.

Q: It sort of freezes you, and then you don't have time to make an audible.

Stanzi: It is hard to make a check out there with five seconds or less, and you have to go with the play or call timeout and that can kill your momentum.

Q: What comes to mind when you think about Joe Paterno.

Stanzi: Great coach. He is a legend. He has been around a long time. He has coached a lot of great programs. It's a neat thing to be able to play against him.

Q: Let's play word association; Penn State, 2008.

Stanzi: Tough team. That is all you can say. They are a really good squad, a lot of good players on the team. They are good in all three phases, offense defense and special teams. We will have to be smart with the ball, we will not be able to give up big plays or have miscues on offense if we want to win.

Q: How much do you go against your defense and will that help you prepare?

Stanzi: It will help. They help us each week, because we are able to play them a couple times to get a good feel about what it's like to play against a tough defense. Scout teams are good, but they can only take it so far. It's nice to go against our 1's during the week to get us ready.

Q: How much do you go against your 1's?

Stanzi: Every day we will do a little bit of it, so we have our routine challenged.

Q: Penn State will want to take Shonn away from you. Does that place more of a burden on you?

Stanzi: It's not a burden, it's playing football. Whatever we have to do during the game, however we have to score points that is what we will try to do. Run or pass.

Q: Is this a season defining game for this team?

Stanzi: Every game is. It has been that way. It's a playoff each week, you have to treat it that way whether Penn State or anyone else. This week is no different.

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