Founded in 2010

News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

College Football: Iowa defensive players optimistic on carrying strong play into this season

IOWA CITY – Iowa’s defense was ranked #2 in the nation statistically last season, and Hawkeye players say they hope to continue that trend as the new season rapidly approaches.

Iowa Football Media Day
Defensive Player Quotes
August 11, 2023

Nick Jackson

On Coach Phil Parker:
“I mean, Coach Parker is unbelievable. He is a world-class coach, so I am grateful to be a part of his program. He has taught me so much already about the game of football.”

On working with Jay Higgins:
“It has been awesome. It has been fun working with Jay. He is instinctive and vocal. He’s a great leader. Working with him and building that comraderie, on and off the field, has been a pleasure so far.”

On replacing Jack Campbell and Seth Benson:
“I watched all the tape on Jack Campbell and Seth Benson. Those two are world-class dudes. They are great players, unbelievable talent. I don’t think about replacing them. I try and think about filling my role for the Iowa Hawkeyes and doing whatever I can do to help this defense reach its standard.”

How good can this defense be:
“It’s going to be a day-in, day-out process. We are going to have to come in every day and just let the tape tell.”

On what is most impressive about the linebacker group:
“The consistency. Day-in and day-out, everyone is coming to work. We are building on and stacking days. A lot of guys are growing up and there is a lot of depth in the group… All of us are close, and I think that is what is awesome about the group. We are all pouring into each other with all of our knowledge, trying to give as much as we can. We push each other everyday.”

On his play style:
“I am going to try and be in the right spot at the right time. I will try to be as physical as I can and make plays around the ball. That is what I am working on every day.”

Xavier Nwankpa
Defensive Back

On using last year’s bowl game as a spring board into this season:
“That is something I’m trying to do. The bowl game helped me accelerate into this spring, throughout the summer and into fall camp. I feel like that has boosted me as a leader, too, to try to bring everyone along and to keep the high standards that we have for our team.”

On what has been the biggest change from year 1 to year 2:
“When I’ve been in the film room with some of the other guys, you know, Cooper (DeJean), Koen (Entringer), Jermari (Harris), (Sebastian) Castro, just helping accelerate our DB group, trying to see everything how everyone sees it all together so that we’re all cohesive.”

On what Joe Evans means to the group:
“Joe is huge. He broke down every huddle last year, he always has the last words of encouragement. Coming back for his sixth year is huge, too. He has been a guy that ramps up the energy every day and it’s great to have him back.”

On where you think you are as a player:
“For me, I really like how I’ve grown, but I want to keep getting better every day and every practice. I want to keep competing and become the best player that I can. I am seeing things different now compared to when I first got here. I have a much wider picture, and the past year and a half that I’ve been here has helped. I feel like it will benefit me this upcoming season.”

Deonte Craig
Defensive End

On individual goals this season:
“We talk about it everyday, just try to get one percent better. Whether it is first steps, hand placement or anything like that, just working hard with my guys and figuring out ways to improve. Hopefully we can all turn that into a lot of wins this year. ”

On the experienced defensive line:
“Obviously, we have guys like Shanzo (Noah Shannon), Logan Lee, sixth year guys, Joe Evans. There are a lot of old souls in the room. I put Pitty (Jeremiah Pittman) in there, Yahya (Black) is definitely one of those. They all have much different personalities. Super fun group. Like I always say, I am blessed to be with those guys over there.”

Tory Taylor


On how punters get overlooked in the conversation of sports, but you’ve managed to get nation attention:
“I’m not going to lie, I don’t really like it or enjoy that type of attention. It’s cool that you can bring a little bit of entertainment for everyone. Our specials don’t get the love like our other guys do, but we just go out there and do our role. If you usually do your role and nobody’s talking about it, it’s usually a good thing.”

On what he has been doing in the off season to improve his punting:
“I went back home for a month and worked with my coach, and then I went out and worked with a coach in San Deigo as well. I am just trying to critique a couple of things. I’m excited for the future.”

On what he’s hoping the future entails:
“From a career point of view, hopefully football works out, but I am really just worrying about right now and just trying to get better at punting right now. Whatever happens down the track, I know I will have put myself in the best position. Sometimes a lot of thing are out of your hands, but I am really not too worried about that right now.”

Drew Stevens


On fall camp and the first couple week of practice:
“The one thing I try to do is focus on improving and getting better. This fall camp and many falls camps I have done that. I have continued to improve at a pace as which is acceptable. I’ve been testing out other things this past offseason as well gaining about 20 more pounds since I’ve got here and feeling my body.”

On Coach Woods and what he means for you and the special teams program:
“He’s a great coach. It’s always good to have someone that is never satisfied with your game because whenever you have someone like that, you are always going to be improving, and you are never going to settle.”

On how is this fall camp different than last year’s fall camp:
“Honestly this year is not different than last year. I am always just trying to focus on being the best player I can be, and whatever happens after that mindset is what will happen.”

On the pressure that there are not many other players fighting for the position:
“I feel comfortable in what I am doing. If I didn’t feel comfortable in what I was doing, I would not be on the field. That is how your mindset has to be to be able to perform at a level like this.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Even more news:

Copyright 2024 – Internet Marketing Pros. of Iowa, Inc.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x