April 21, 2008
Sophomore defensive lineman Ernie Hodge
On how the spring has gone for him:
It's been long, especially with the switching positions. Playing defensive tackle is totally different than playing defensive end. We still attack defensively. We're focused on getting off the ball and causing disruptions in the backfield.
On not playing football last season:
It was rough, but I fought through it. I really couldn't do much about it. I just had to keep moving forward. I just went home and worked out with my coaches a lot. I worked at home too, bailing hay with my uncle. That was one of the jobs that kept my mind off things.
On the lessons he learned last season:
You don't want to sit out. You have to keep your head straight. That's just something I've had to learn myself. My parents helped me get through it a lot too. Coach Pelini and Coach Solich kept calling my while I was home to make sure I was keeping my head up.
On watching the Bobcats last season:
I watched the Miami game and then I watched the others on ESPN2 or ESPNU. It was tough, but I wanted to watch my guys play.
On how the defense can improve next season:
We're going to have to stop the run. That's what our coaches keep telling us. If we can stop the run, we'll have a great defense.
On how painful it was to watch the defense struggle at times last season:
It was tough and I was getting mad. You get to the point where you ask, "Why is this happening"? I put the blame on myself a lot too for missing the season.
On what he hopes to show in Saturday's Green and White game (2 p.m.):
I'm excited. I hope that I can show that I can still play. People are wondering if I can make that switch from defensive end to defensive tackle and I want to show them that I can.
On the defense's struggles in the first two scrimmages:
It's been pretty disappointing. They (the offense) ran on us a little bit in the first scrimmage. We did better in the second scrimmage outside of L.J.'s long run.