August 11, 2008

Vandervelde in the mix at guard

Competition can sometimes bring out the worst in people, but for Julian Vandervelde, he takes the view that it brings out the best in a person. As he competes for a starting spot with some of his closest friends, Vandervelde will let camp decide the starting spots. But, just don't ask him about how he feels about Iowa State if you want him to continue to talk to the media.

Q: How do you feel heading into the season?

JULIAN: Confident. We all feel very confident. We have a great group of guys who feel very comfortable playing next to each other. We are all close and we hang out together off the field. I think that the better you know the guys around you on the team, the more trust you have in them on the field.

Q: You guys are all close off the field, but how do you balance that when the guy you might be hanging out with is also trying to keep you out the starting lineup?

JULIAN: Unless we rotate again. (laugh) I think the key is that all of us care about the team more than we care about ourselves and that is the kind of players we have at Iowa. It makes things a whole lot easier when you don't have to worry about your own ego or the other guys ego. You can go out day after day and feel good about them improving, while you are improving yourself.

Q: Did the off the field stuff bother you at all last year?

JULIAN: Not really because I wasn't particularly close with any of those guys. But, the blanket that has been thrown on the whole team gets annoying. I have been a Hawkeye fan longer than I have been a Hawkeye player, so it is frustrating when you see that stuff happen to the program. The image that we have right now isn't so hot and that gets to you as a Hawkeye fan, but when I hit the locker room as a Hawkeye player, I am not going to let that bother me.

Q: The season didn't end very well last year. How much motivation did that provide for you guys?

JULIAN: I think we got a tremendous amount of motivation from it. Anyone who was in the locker room saw the faces of those seniors and we all felt it. I'll tell you, sitting at home and watching those bowl games, I just kept thinking that we should have been in a bowl game. It really starts to get to you and it makes you work harder for the next year.

Q: What did you take away from some of the off the field community service type stuff that you guys did this summer, like helping sandbag, going to Parkersburg, and things of that nature?

JULIAN: I think it gives you a great sense of community and helping everyone. It is a team sport and when you see a community come together like this and show the power of what people working together can do, you can't help but learn something from it. Something like that can translate on to the football field when you are surrounded by people with a common purpose who have the same goals. Our football team is a community in and of itself.

Q: How does Coach Morgan handle the competition on the offensive line with nine guys really competing for five spots?

JULIAN: He will just throw a few guys in there and tell us to get after it. Then we will watch the film and whoever performs best on film will probably have the spot.

Q: Has Coach Morgan told you guys of a timetable on when he wants to settle on a starting line?

JULIAN: Absolutely not. (laugh) They are going to let us go out there and compete like crazy until one of us makes a very clear case for themselves. If that doesn't happen, then who knows, we might have a the same type of deal like we had going the second half of last year where we are going every other series.

Q: Have you seen a change in this team?

JULIAN: There is definitely a confidence within the team. We have had great senior leadership across the board. Matt Kroul has been phenomenal in drawing everyone together and not just the defensive line. He has picked up the offensive line and the skill players and taken on the leadership role with the team. All of us on the offensive line really rally around Seth Olsen and Bruggy. We have more confidence in each other and it makes things easier knowing you have that level of trust with each other.

Q: Can I ask you about Iowa State this year?

JULIAN: You can if you don't want to talk to me anymore. (laugh)

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