Q: How does it feel to be back?
Dace Richardson: It's nice. A year ago, I was watching it and now I am playing again. It's fun being out there and I feel like a part of the team again. no one knew that I would be out here playing as well as I have. I still have a lot of work to do, and have to keep my foot on the pedal and get ready for camp.
Q: What were your injuries? Can you share the timeline?
Richardson: I will start with my sophomore year, I had knee problems against Illinois. That has been around since then. I took a year off and now I feel really good. My goal is to keep making it stronger and hopefully it will be stronger going into camp.
Q: Kirk said last year he thought your career was over. Has this surprised you?
Richardson: Yes, it surprises me, but in talking with the training staff when I found out what happened to my knee, it pushed me to get back out there. It wasn't as severe as I thought it would be. I worked hard with the training staff and they helped to push me forward. When I would reach goals, they would make new ones.
Q: What is the best part of being back?
Richardson: Just being around my teammates, playing around and having some fun. Guys making jokes, I have been out for a year, but it's nice being back with the guys.
Q: Do you appreciate it more?
Richardson: Oh yeah, 20 times more than before I got hurt. I play every play like its my last. you never know when it is. So I give it my heart and don't look back.
Q: Why come back after everything, why is it so important to you?
Richardson: When you love a sport your want to play your heart out. I wasn't ready to give it up. I was feeling good so I kept pushing myself. When you love something so much its hard to let it go.
Q: How hard is the mental aspect of coming back, trusting your knee?
Richardson: It's a lot of strain. When you see guys out there playing, and you can't do anything but watch, it takes a toll. But your friends keep you up, they keep pushing you and see how hard you are working, that really helps you get through. If it weren't for my teammates and my family I wouldn't be here now.
Q: Do you feel like you are at the same level you were at before the knee injury?
Richardson: I feel like i am getting there. I want to get stronger going into camp. There is some work to do. I don't feel 100 percent yet, but hopefully by camp.
Q: Were their moments of doubt?
Richardson: Not in my mind. A lot of people felt I couldn't get back, and that pushed me to work harder to get back out there. Because when they say you can't you want to prove them wrong. That helped me.
Q: How care things coming along at the offensive line, in general?
Richardson: We kept switching. I played a little guard and tackle. I think where we are, we have a good nucleus, but no one has a starting spot right now. My job is to work as hard as I can and try to make my other teammate better
Q: Do you think you guys can keep the momentum going that last year's line took?
Richardson: I feel like we can. I feel like we have good people around us. Bulaga, Calloway, Eubanks, with all of these guys, I feel like we will have a good line if we push ourselves forward and don't get stagnant.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said last summer that he didn't expect Dace Richardson to be back on the field for the Hawkeyes, due to a serious knee injury. But Richardson didn't quit, and in the biggest surprise of the spring, he made it through every practice, getting better all the while.