Iowa State’s redshirt freshman, backup quarterback Grant Rohach spoke to members of the media earlier this week about his role on the 2013 Cyclone football team. Below is a transcript of the question and answer session that went down.
Q: Sam Richardson has talked about how the most important thing for a guy in your position to do is to stay locked in as injuries happen and helmets can pop off at any time. Is that the biggest thing that you’ve taken away from Sam so far?
GR:Oh absolutely. Anything can happen. One play can change a whole game. I’ve got to be locked in. Being on the second-string, you’re not playing every snap so your mind can wander to wherever it wants to watch the football game. But if one thing happens to Sam, I am in there and I have to know everything that he knows. Being locked in the whole game is pretty much my focus.
Q: How do you know that you know everything that Sam knows? How closely do you follow him during practice and in meetings?
GR:Well, I think one thing is we sit next to each other in meetings and I follow him with every rep. I am taking mental reps when he is going. Coming off the field, if I have a question I know I can go to Sam or Coach Mess for questions like that. We stay in touch and make sure that all of the quarterbacks are communicating – not only me and Sam but you have Chanse Creekmur, Trevor Hodge and Joel Lanning – making sure we all know what is going on so that we can all get better as a group.
Q: Having said all of that, it is still a competition between the two of you right?
GR:Yeah. There is no quarterback controversy, as Coach Mess has said. Sam is the starter and I am the second-string. He wants us competing every day because competition makes every player better on the team. That’s kind of what the mindset is.
Q: We’ve been told that you have a finger injury. How frustrating has that been this camp?
GR:It’s a finger so it’s the game of football. You have to tough it out. For being a quarterback, it may be some minor touch. It may be putting more on the ball when I throw it out there. It’s just something that I have to push through. It’s a finger. It’s football.
Q: If the opportunity does come, do you feel like you are ready?
GR:Absolutely. Coach Mess has gotten all of us prepared as quarterbacks. I feel like I would be in a good position if the opportunity came. I feel like we are very prepared as a group of quarterbacks.
Q: When Sam got his opportunity during the Kansas game last year, he has said that he didn’t see it coming. What was that like from your perspective, watching that unfold?
GR: I was in the same mindset. We didn’t see it coming. He came out and Sam went in. He had a phenomenal game. It was kind of like thinking about in the future, ‘What if that ever happened to me?’ It’s one of those, where people say it can happen but you never think. It happened for Sam and I’ve got to stay in the same mindset.
Q: Hypothetically, let’s say that you have to play against Northern Iowa on Aug. 31. What do you have to do between now and then to get yourself ready for that?
GR: A bunch of mental work. A lot of time in the film room. A lot of time with Coach Messingham and learning what he wants to do with the offense to make sure we all are on the same page. That’s pretty much the mental aspect that will be the biggest thing.
Q: It’s kind of a cliché in football where people talk about the game slowing down for a guy. Is that where you are at? Is that accurate?
GR: Yeah. The more reps – and I was out a few days with the hand injury and came back for the scrimmage. Things were going fast but the more reps you get, the slower things go and the easier it becomes.
Q: What’s it like now compared to last year?
GR:It’s a lot slower. As he said, with more time and all of the time in the spring that we got, everything is a lot slower. I am understanding and seeing the whole defense. Knowing where Coach Mess wants us to check to and whatever position that we get into. That’s the biggest thing.