Jack Ikegwuonu quote file

Freshman discussed his friendship with Allen Langford and progressing into nickel corner role

Regarding his friendship with Allen Langford:

"My recollections of that; it's just you know really coming in, me coming in really not knowing my place here and seeing Allen coming in in the same position, in the same boat, kind of looking for our own identity and just seeing a kid that just really wanted to work hard, wanted to get better everyday. That just rubbed off on me, you know, and just doing the little things like coming in here on Sundays, you know, when no one is here. The McClain Center is empty, we're just upstairs working up the work together. Because you know that, in the future, that they're going to really rely on me and him to really carry the burden out there on the corner spots. So it's really just pushing each other and competing against each other to make each other better."

On competing for playing time in first fall camp and then redshirting:

"Camp was interesting. We were kind of thrown in there and kind of taken out and Brett's injury and really not knowing, you know, where we going to fit into the depth chart is real interesting. But I think the fact that we got to redshirt was a good experience for us. We really got to sit back, learn from older guys and get better both physically and mentally."

How much did your mentality change with your first spring practices?

"Oh yeah, definitely. I think one of the biggest things was just learning a lot about the mental game of college football. I realized that, you know, high school you can really get away with being just physically faster and stronger than everybody. But here everybody is big, everybody is strong and everybody is fast. You really got to be mentally ahead of the game. Learning how to watch film and how to anticipate what the play is going to be based on formations and personnel. I knew that's the most important part of what I learned from this year to last year."

You and Allen each decided to go to Wisconsin late in the recruiting process? Have you ever discussed that with him?

"We really haven't touched on the whole recruiting process. I really, you know, didn't know what I was going to do. I really thought that I was going to go play with my brother (Bill Ikegwuonu, Jack's twin who is on scholarship at Northern Illinois). So recruiting was not really a hot topic in my household, because we just didn't want to talk about it because Bill wasn't really getting recruited here, and I was. And Bill knew I wanted to come here.

"Really I didn't even know much about Allen until quite way into camp. I didn't really see, you know, that we would become that close of friends. But we really haven't touched on the whole recruiting process. That's kind of in the past. Kind of trying to move on a little bit."

Are you surprised at all to be the No. 3 corner?

"No, I'm not really surprised. Coach really told me coming into the season that he was going to really need me to be ready to play. My expectations of myself is to be out there at corner. I think that I can play out there. The guys ahead of me right now are playing well, and I'm not carrying any bad blood. I think that they're doing a great job and I'm just happy with what I get to do. I'm just happy that I get to play. I didn't really come into the season expecting to play that much. That's a lot of snaps I took last game, that's the most snaps I've taken and I was real happy with how much I'm playing right now and if Coach needs me to go out there I'm going to be ready. That's the way I look at it."

How did your performance last week look on film?

"It looked great… Actually the way it looked on film, I thought I was actually closer to him and I just kind of stepped in front of him. But he kind of, you know, made a nice cut and then I just came up under him. He had a little bit of separation, so it looked even nicer on film than I actually thought it was. It was great watching it."

You were talking about the interception… how about the performance overall? What feedback did you receive from Ron Lee?

"He said I played well. Obviously there's always little things that coaches pick on. That's what you've got to do as a coach is pick on little things, so that we can get better collectively. But overall, he really didn't have much to complain about.

"What's really the bad thing is that we're kind of letting up some big plays in the defensive backfield. That's definitely got to stop. And it will stop. I think we're determined to have that stopped. But overall I think we as a defensive backfield… played a pretty good game."

Are you still in the nickel this week?

"Yeah, I'll be playing the nickel this week."

How happy are you with your development?

"I'm really happy. I think specially coming off the Bowling Green game I wasn't really, you know, I don't think I was ready to play mentally in that game. Allen ended up going into the nickel spot in that game. And now that Allen's starting I'm kind of building up a lot more confidence in myself. I'm really happy that I'm coming along. Obviously interceptions can do a lot to boost our confidence, but I think a lot of little things that I was trying to work on coming into the season I think it's all coming together, and I think I'm really starting to find out what kind of a player I can be."

On having a ‘cornerback mentality' and Langford's comments regarding listening to Lee on the sideline headset following a poor play:

"It's the same way. You've got to have amnesia. You've got to forget about it and move on. When we get the headset on, Coach Lee harps on the play we're trying to forget about. We know it's coming. So we're prepared for it. We just try to block… out the negative parts and take in the positive parts and take in the coaching tips that he's giving us. But we got to forget about it and corner's really a position that, it's really just preparing you to fail. And that's why it's a real hard position to play. You're going to get beat. You got to just go in there knowing you are going to get beat and know that you've got to forget about it and go on to the next play."

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