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Big Ten Q&A: Iowa Linebacker James Morris Talks About Making a New Year's Day Bowl
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30 Dec 2013 12:12 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Linebacker James Morris makes tackle in win over Northwestern. (Image Source: Brian Ray/AP Photo)

New York, NY—Iowa linebacker James Morris was a stellar performer on and off the field this season. The senior was the only player in the Big Ten with at least 90 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions on his way to second-team All-Big Ten honors. Morris was also named to the Capitol One Academic All-American team and a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, where I was able to sit down with him and talk some football. Scroll down to listen to the entire podcast.

How big is it for Iowa to be playing in a New Year’s Day bowl?

It’s awesome. We’re really excited about it. I was out of town when we found out so I haven’t had a chance to talk to too many of teammates about it. I can imagine how excited some of my teammates are. Obviously LSU is a great team, a perennial powerhouse, all those things that you’d want in an opponent. We have plenty of time to prepare. My hope is that we can go out and really be great ambassadors for the University. Hopefully get a big win and sort of elevate the status of Iowa football in the eyes of the national media and national football consumers. That’s really our goal.

On stage you spoke about ‘corralling’ the program. You went from 4-8 to 8-4. How important was it for your senior class to go out on a good note?

It’s meant a lot. As you said, we had a 4-8 season and that was miserable. We lost six straight games towards the end of the year and that was something we knew we didn’t want to do again. I’ll say it right now, before the start of 2013 season our goal wasn’t to be 8-4, obviously we wanted to win every game we played, but you know as a college football fan, you know how rare that is. We were pretty aware early on after our first game (loss to Northern Illinois) that that wasn’t going to be the case. So for us it was a matter of coming out, trying to improve, trying to get better every week, making sure that when Saturday came we were in a position to compete and have a chance to win a football game and we did that more times than not. So we feel good about that. We felt like we improved. We’re 8-4, we’re playing in a good bowl game and have the opportunity to win nine games against a great opponent and that’s something we can be proud of. We’re not playing in a BCS game, we didn’t win the conference title, but we feel like maybe we’re getting there. We’re trying to lay the foundation to where we might be able to actually achieve those things in the future.  

How big would winning the bowl game be for Iowa?

Just for us as a program it’d be huge. I can’t imagine there are too many people that are going to have us picked as the favorites and that’s fine, we’re aware of that. That’s been the case all year, so we know going in that we’re going to be underdogs. But anytime you play a team like LSU, a national brand, a team that gets national media recognition and attention and you have a chance to upset them that means a lot. That could be huge for our program with regards to visibility and recruiting, all those things that if you’re smart and do it the right way you can parlay those things into wins in the future.

Big Ten Links:

One-On-One With Penn State Offensive Guard John Urschel

One-On-One: MSU LB Max Bullough Talks About Winning the Big Ten Championship

One-On-One: Michigan State’s Max Bullough Talks Playoffs & Defines Spartan Dawg

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 


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