The Iowa State football team will wrap up the 2009 regular season on Saturday when the Cyclones head south to Columbia to meet up with the Missouri Tigers. A lot is on the line, specifically bowl slotting in the Big 12 Conference.
Jesse Smith has had an incredible season for this Iowa State team. Smith currently leads the Big 12 in tackles and is ranked 11th nationally in that category.
CycloneFanatic.com caught up with the senior on Monday to talk about all things Iowa State football.
You seniors had some rough years there. Does that add to the satisfaction of what you’ve been able to accomplish this season?
JS: Oh yeah. Everything is a lot better when you win. Injuries don’t hurt as bad. Everything is just a lot better and it makes the offseason and all of that stuff that you do worth it.
Going to a bowl game was a big goal for you guys this year wasn’t it?
JS: It’s one of the first things that he (Paul Rhoads) came out and said during two-a-days. One of our biggest goals was to win a bowl game. That’s what we have been working towards. Everyday, we come out here and practice and that’s our mentality. Everyday, you have to get better in order to get to the bowl game and win that bowl game.
How do you explain how opportunistic your defense has been this year?
JS: It’s our defensive mentality. Go out there and execute. No matter what happens, if the offense goes out there and scores, great. We’re going to go out there and try to get a stop. If they don’t score or turn the ball over, it’s our mentality to say who cares. You have to do your job, no matter what the circumstances are.
A lot of you seniors are graduating this year. What will this defense look like next season?
JS: It’s going to be tough. We have a great group of seniors. I think that we have a lot of talent coming in next year. They are going to have a lot to do. The coaches have a great challenge ahead of them but they have a lot of talent and they just have to learn how to play football.