August 9, 2009

Bulaga focused on the season

Somewhere down the road after the season, offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga will probably seek advice on whether or not he should leave a year early for the NFL Draft. But right now, his focus is entirely on the 2009 season and trying to win a Big Ten championship at Iowa. Bulaga talks about the NFL Draft projections, how the offensive line is progressing, and much more.

Q: The top 25 rankings are starting to come out and you guys are in them. Does that make a difference at all?

BULAGA: I think we've got the same attitude as Coach Ferentz. You know, all that stuff is pre-season hype. I think that whole poll will change about 20 times over the course of this season. I mean I think everyone knows that too, so it's going to be just going out there and being consistent and playing our game every game and not worrying about that stuff. That stuff will take care of itself.

Q: He compared this year's team to last year's team. You guys obviously didn't start as well as you finished. What things do you learn from that?

BULAGA: I think we definitely learned that we need to win close games. I know we lost a lot of the games because we weren't able to close out or be able to stay in the close games. So we learned a lot from last year's team just being able to build off those losses and just being able to stay consistent and keep practicing hard and staying on the grind and win those late games.

Q: Do you end up going against Clayborn quite a bit?

BULAGA: Absolutely, everyday.

Q: Who gets the better of those battles?

BULAGA: I don't know. He can answer that. But it's good just to go up against him everyday. He's probably one of the best defensive ends in the country. I think if you watch him on tape, you can see that. But I mean it's good to go against him. He makes me better as a player and I think I help him out too.

Q: Coach Ferentz was asked about the NFL and I've got to ask you about it. What do you think when you hear your name being brought up as someone who could leave early for the draft? Or do you hear it?

BULAGA: I mean you hear things and you catch things from what other people are saying. I think the main thing right now is just focusing on this season right now. That's in the future. We're here right now. I'm here at Iowa and I'm going to do as much as I can to try to win a Big Ten championship. I think that's everybody's goal right now. That's really what I'm focused on right now.

Q: Is that something you will wait and look at after the bowl game basically?

BULAGA: We'll see. We'll see what happens. Coach Ferentz, he helped out Shonn a lot last year and he helps all the guys out that have that opportunity to go after their junior year. He gives them great guidance because he knows a lot of NFL people, so he knows what's going on and he knows what people are saying. So I'll take everything Coach Ferentz says. He'll be the main guy I go to.

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