Iowa State’s senior linebacker Jeremiah George wasn’t very good in a season opening loss to UNI. He knows that. In fact, he’s obsessed with it. George spoke with the media about this after Tuesday’s night’s practice leading up to Saturday’s annual Cy-Hawk football game. Enjoy this Q&A from the session.
Q: Are you looking forward to putting that first game behind you?
JG:Oh yeah. You know what? I had a great practice today. I had a lot of energy. I was playing fast. I was playing physical. Just getting back to the things that made me the player that I am today – not thinking. Not worry about if I do this and he cuts back are we going to be short a player? I am confident in the guys around me. Jansen Watson, somebody who I am close to, he is coming back. He’s gotten in my ear a little bit. A lot of people expect a lot of things from me but more importantly, my teammates expect me to go out there and do what I am capable of doing and just doing my job. I am going to relax man. The Hawkeyes are coming to town. I couldn’t ask for anything better for a chance at redemption.
Q: Last week, Wally (Burnham) said that he didn’t really know what happened with you in that game.
JG:I don’t know either (laughter). I still look at it and it was like I was frozen. I wasn’t what I call pulling the trigger. You know what? I feel good and I’m really excited for Sept. 14.
Q: How exactly do you move on and get yourself ready to go for Saturday?
JG:I’ve looked at that game and so many other games from the perspective of myself. I mean, I’ve talked with Jake and A.J. about it. I’ve sat down with Coach Rhoads. I talked to my parents. It’s something like, it happened. I can’t ever let it happen again. I won’t every let it happen again. Like I said, now I’m just excited for this chance.
Q: It seems like this really, really bothered you…
JG:It really bothered me because I know what I’m capable of and that performance, it was embarrassing man. I tried to hide out in the locker room as long as I could after the game. I didn’t want anybody to attack me or anything. Like I said, I talk to these people because I am close to them. They know exactly who I am and what I stand for when it comes to playing football. That’s being fast and being aggressive, having a little edge to myself and talking a little bit. Just having fun and playing the game naturally. I didn’t do that at all. Me and Luke (Knott) were talking today. Now that I’ve let it go, what can he expect from me on the field? His brother has told him that I am this kind of a player and he said, “Yeah, my brother told me that you were this kind of way on the field. You weren’t that way at all.’ So I was kind of like, ‘What?’ Getting back to practice and even last week’s practice, he saw a little bit and understands how I play the game of football.
Q: How much of a difference does it make when Jansen (Watson) is back there?
JG:It’s just from a standpoint of, I am comfortable. I have played with him a little bit longer than I have played with some other guys. I am trying to expand my trust as much as I can but at the same time, I am trying to assist you and guide you as much as I can. With Jansen being back, we can all just feel a little bit better. It’s nothing against the young players that we have because they have to come in and they have to perform but as far as the older guys, I think we are at a point where we trust Jansen. We know what he can do and we know what we can do when he is out there as a unit.
Q: There is obviously a lot of chatter out there about how a big matchup in this game is Iowa’s rushing attack vs. Iowa State’s defensive front-seven. The middle linebacker has a lot to do with that. Do you welcome this challenge?
JG:Yes. They have a very talented group up front. He’s a very well taught, downhill running back. He gets his pads down and he is going to go at you for four quarters. It’s a challenge that I welcome. It is perfect for what I am trying to bring back to the table and prove to myself. It was great going against those guys last year and I thought that I played very well, even though I was young and it was my second true game. I am ready for this.
Q: Do you prepare differently for a back like Weisman compared to the shiftier guys that you see in the Big 12?
JG:Just a little bit maybe because it’s almost like I am tackling Jeff Woody instead of Wimberly. He’s going to give me a little bit more shake instead of dropping his head and Woody is the opposite. He’ll drop his head more than he does shake. I know that any back is capable of doing anything because that’s why they are back there. They are back there to make people miss either by shaking them or running them over. I think this running back will try to run me over. He’ll try to set the tone for his offense and do it all game long.