Q: What was different about last year before the Texas game, and then leading up to it?
Mike Klinkenborg: I think a lackadaisical approach. The focus was not there sometimes during the week. I don't know if guys had other things on their mind or what. But the way things were in December was different, a different attitude.
Q: Was the lack of focus the most disappointing part?
Klinkenborg: I think so. You look back, and sometimes you are in the locker room after the Minnesota and Northwestern game is something we don't want to go through again. We remember what that was like. Every time we walk on the field, we have a little 2-6 card, and the standings, we see that every time we walk on the field.
Q: Do you think the bowl game momentum carried over into the summer and to now?
Klinkenborg: That is the attitude we kept all winter, spring and summer. If you ask any coach out there, they would say that it was the same as it was in December,. I am sure that will be that way in camp.
Q: What are you doing to elevate your game this year?
Klinkenborg: Anyone will tell you that you watch film, all you can do is focus on one little thing each day that you come out here and walk off the field better than you came on. It's the little things that you work on.
Q: Have you hit your potential, or do you have another level you can go to?
Klinkenborg: You never want to think you hit your peak, you believe you can improve. The whole defense looks at it that way.
Q: How did last year's turmoil make you stronger?
Klinkenborg: Uhh…these guys are the ones that made me stronger. Even though the season was rough, its tough for anyone to lose someone, but to be around these guys and not be alone was the best.
Q: Was football an escape?
Klinkenborg: It has been an escape my whole life. You come out here and forget about it.
Q: What memories of your father come to mind?
Klinkenborg: After every game, the Wisconsin away game, I remember going through the crowd and seeing my dad and giving him a big hug when I didn't expect .
Q: Do you think this team will be closer, better chemistry, because of what you went through last year?
Klinkenborg: Last year, we probably were not as tight of a group as we should have been. I think this year, because of the way things have gone, things are better this year. I am friends more with the offense this year, too, so that is a good thing. Probably not by the end of camp, though.
Mike Klinkenborg had a tumultuous 2006. He lost his beloved father, and the team suffered through a 6-7 record. His teammates picked him up through the toughest period of his life, and Klinkenborg wants to return the favor in 2007...