ASKED AND ANSWERED with Aaron Ripkowski

Fullback talks about his touchdown, his touches and Blake Bell

What did you think when they put the dive play in the game plan?

I was like wow, we’re actually going to make a change now and see what we can do. It was really exciting. I was just hoping he’d call it Saturday. He did, and it worked out.

Did you know how close you were to a second touchdown on 4th-and-1?

I knew how close I was, but at the same time, the game’s over and a guy is wrapped around my knees. I’m just going to go down as soon as I get the first.

You didn’t have a single carry before the game, did you think they’d actually call it?

I figured maybe once or twice, not four times – especially not on the goal line. I didn’t expect that.

Before last week, how many carries had you had in your career?

Taken a hand-off? Never. Not in high school. Not until now. That was my first hand-off, ever.

Did the coaches ever ask if you’d taken one before?

Coach asked me and of course I gave the response, ‘I took one every down in high school.’ I was trying to get him to call it.

Were you nervous when the call came in?

Every play, not matter how many times I’ve done it, whether it’s carrying the ball or blocking, I’m always nervous. There’s also a confidence that you have in your abilities. There’s just an extra boost of energy that you have from being nervous every play. If you’re not nervous, you’re probably just lackadaisical and going through the motions.

Is running cooler than blocking? You don’t have to wrap up or anything.

It’s just like blocking. Most of the time I still trying to get my nose in there and run them over the same way. It’s just with the ball in your hands.

So the fullback pass is next?

Yeah, we’ll see what happens.

Did it take a while to forget about the targeting penalty and the ejection?

After the play I just kind of got in my head that I’m not going to slow my aggressiveness. I just have to be smarter and not lay my head in there when it shouldn’t be. I didn’t expect to come out soft or block a different way. I just got it in my head that I wasn’t going to play any slower or any softer.

Is Blake Bell finally one of the tough guys now?

He definitely is. He’s always had that mentality about him. He just wasn’t sure of himself. Now, he has a lot of confidence in his blocking abilities, and he’s really showing it.


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