What are you feelings about being voted a captain for this upcoming season?
Mack: Oh it's great. I can't say enough about the guys that I play with. They voted (for me) and I have so much admiration for them. But it's not just one guy. I mean, our leadership roles on the team don't change. It's still, if I'm down, somebody's going to help me up. Or if somebody is down, I will be the first guy to help them up. So nothing has changed, but it is just a great honor. I love those guys that are out there on the field with me, and I can't say enough about them.
What does it mean to you, to be labeled a captain for this team?
Mack: It means the world. You play football and you almost grow up on that field with the guys that you share blood, sweat and tears with, that you workout with everyday, go to practice, things like that. For them to honor you as a captain, pick you as a captain, it's great. I thank my teammates so much, and I thank the coaches. Hopefully I will be able to be a good leader for them. But like I said, the rules don't change. We still all have to be leaders out there. There are sections. There are three different groups on the defense. The d-line, the linebackers and the defensive backs, and they all have to have their respective leaders. I just want to help out in any way I can.
You might have played the best game of your career against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. How do you carry that momentum into the 2003 season?
Mack: Well, just kind of seeing what we can do as a team. I played an alright game. I still had a lot of mistakes and things like that. But just seeing what we can do and what we can accomplish against a team of the caliber of a Colorado…and then in the Big Ten we've played so many other good teams, like Ohio State, just the whole (conference) Hopefully it will springboard us into next season.
After all of the injury problems you've gone through in your career, how does it feel to finally be healthy heading into your senior season?
Mack: It means a great deal. What happened was, when you have injuries, it's torture, mentally and physically. It just hurts from the fact that you have to go through it every day and you hate missing games and being away from your teammates. Just to feel healthy right now and be ready for the season, it feels great.
Q&A with Jeff Mack: Part 1
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