The curse of the cover & other tidbits


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DI: Julian, do you believe in the Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

Vandervelde: The what? [laughs]

DI: Sports Illustrated’s curse.

Vandervelde: I don’t know, the only curse I know of is the Madden one. And maybe that does show my generation. But yeah, I don’t know. Why? Are we on Sports Illustrated or something?

DI: Iowa is on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated.

Vandervelde: All right. Cool. I had no idea.

DI: It must be pretty cool to be like, “Hey, the cover of Sports Illustrated.”

Vandervelde: I mean, it’s pretty cool. It’s something you dream about as a kid. Being on this kind of team and getting on Sports Illustrated and all that, but I didn’t even know about it till you guys told me. So I think that shows that we’re staying pretty focused on where we are.

DI: What do you remember from that end of last year’s game against Northwestern?

Vandervelde: What I remember is that I went the wrong way on that play. I was supposed to slide left, and I slid right. But in the end, it’s just a tipped ball and we ended up losing the game. You try to flush that sort of thing in get away from it and move on.

DI: I heard you have a lot of Facebook friends. Any truth?

Vandervelde: Fifteen hundred or something. I’m not to Derrell [Johnson-Koulianos] numbers, but I’m up there a little bit.

DI: I seem to always see you on your moped, grooving to some tune in your head. What song are you listening to?

Vandervelde: Ah, a little bit of everything. I got a different sound for every day of the week.

DI: What was today’s?

Vandervelde: Let’s take a look, shall we? [Pulls out iPod] Rage Against the Machine, A little Kelly in the Name Of, the Metro Lights, which is actually a band out of Davenport. I don’t know if anybody else has heard of it. [Monday], I listened to Zeppelin the whole day. That was just my thing.

DI: When you were growing up, was there a certain player you looked up to?

Vandervelde: Reggie White was really my guy. I’m an offensive lineman now. I think growing up, I was a Packer fan — born and raised — and it was always Reggie White. He was making plays, and it wasn’t just that he was a playmaker, he was the kind of guy I wanted to be. They call him the “Minister of Defense” for his faith. He went out there, and I felt like he did things right.

DI: You’re studying Japanese; share with us an interesting fact about Japanese culture.

Vandervelde: There are three different alphabets, which is a little crazy. There have Hiragana, which I believe is 49 characters, that are used for native words. Katakana, which is 49 letters, for foreign words. And then they have Kanji, which the Chinese generously gave them way back to like 1,500 years ago or something like that. That is 50,000, which luckily, I don’t have to learn all of them.

DI: Have you ever been to Japan?

Vandervelde: I have not, but that’s been on my very short list to go. That’s No. 1.

DI: On game days, what’s your routine?

Vandervelde: For home games and away games, it’s a little different. You get taped, you read the media guide that they put in your locker. For me, I do my own wrist tape. I write on my left wrist, I put 2 Timothy 1:7. On my right wrist, for home games, I put Proverbs 21:31, and for away games, it’s Psalms 3:6. And I actually got that from Seth Olsen last year, who used to do the scripture on the back of his wrists. So it’s just kind of an in-game reminder for me. But it’s an ingrained thing that has become pretty regular for me I take really seriously.

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