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Q&A with Dace Richardson


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The Daily Iowan contacted former offensive lineman Dace Richardson and had him answer a few questions before the 2010 NFL draft on Thursday.

DI: What has your life been like since winning that game at the Orange Bowl?

Richardson: After winning that game, all the seniors that were getting ready for the draft and the Combine came back to Iowa City and started training. Some people went to other places. I stayed in Iowa City and started training, and we just started introducing new drills that we hadn’t done before. It was the most valuable five, six weeks preparing for the Combine. It was kind of hectic a little, but just from the standpoint of getting invited, doing something new that you hadn’t really done before. You just have to get your technique down so you can get to your peak performance.

DI: Growing up as a kid, was playing in the NFL always a dream of yours?

Richardson: Not really when I was a little kid. I was always into basketball. Tony [Moeaki] got me into football when I was a sophomore in high school, and from then on, I really wanted to see how far I could go with this. My ultimate goal was to play in the NFL. Ever since my sophomore year in high school, it was always my dream to be able to play at the top level.

DI: After you guys won the Orange Bowl, there was some talk about you trying to go for that sixth year of eligibility. Could you clarify how it all went down and what went into your decision to leave?

Richardson: After the game and throughout the week, I was talking with my parents, and we were just talking about the pros and cons — if I came back or if I left early. And from talking, we just felt that the best thing for me was to go to the next level and see how I do with that. So far, I feel like I made a good decision.

DI: You talked about the Combine and preparing for it. What did you take away from being there and meeting all the coaches, scouts, and GMs that came up to you, wanting to know everything about you?

Richardson: The biggest thing is that it’s a business now. People aren’t just playing for the love. … You’re trying to get a job, they want to make sure your body can run so that all that money they invest in you, you’ll be able to perform and play.

DI: At Iowa, you’ve shown that you’re able to play different positions whether it would be tackle or guard. From the conversations you’ve had with teams, what have they said as far as what position you’d want to play?

Richardson: It varies. Some teams see me just as a tackle. Some teams see me as both a guard and tackle, so a lot of different teams see me at both positions, and they really like the fact I can play both.

DI: You had the knee injury in 2007 with recurring problems in ’08, and then last year, you had the ankle injury that kept you out the second half of the season. Have teams brought it up and shown any concerns to you, and when teams do ask, what do you tell them?

Richardson: Teams have asked about my knee wanting to know where it’s at, and I told them it’s good. I came back this season and played better than I had the past three seasons, and it hasn’t been a problem all season. Some teams have shown concern, but if they look at my MRIs and stuff like that, they find out my knee is fine, and I’m ready to go.

DI: So since the Orange Bowl, as you’ve gone through all your training, would you say this is the healthiest you’ve been?

Richardson: I was just thinking about that. My body feels really good, my ankle’s feeling really strong, and I’m just ready for mini-camp.

DI: Have you gotten a chance to reflect back not only on this past season, but your entire career at Iowa. Do you feel you are where you thought you would be when you first came here five years ago?

Richardson: Since the end of the season, I haven’t really been reflecting. I’ve just been trying to move forward and get ready for the next season. Just sitting back now and thinking, I never really thought coming in as a freshman that I would come out and be able to make it to the next level, but I’ve stood by the coaches. Even though I had a rocky road throughout my career, I’m real happy with where I’m at. It just made me a better and stronger player.

DI: As far the draft goes, do you have any expectations for yourself? What has been your mindset?

Richardson: A lot of teams tell me I’m going to get drafted, but I’m just going in with the mindset of, “If I get drafted, sweet. If I don’t, I’m still going to get a shot with a team and make the most of it.”

DI: What type of advice have you gotten from teammates that have gone through this process before?

Richardson: That your rookie season is going to be the longest season of your life, and you just have to prepare for it. You just have to keep your body healthy, and you should be fine.

DI: Regardless of whether you get drafted or not, what would it mean to be able to make an NFL roster and have an opportunity to play on Sundays?

Richardson: It would mean a lot. You know, it has been one of my goals for a long time now. To be able to do it and be able to make it on a roster would be a great feeling.

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