Q&A with former Iowa tackle Riley Reiff

Junior who left early could be the first tackle taken in April's NFL Draft

Published: February 23 2012 | 2:23 pm - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 1:07 pm in
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Former Iowa tackle Riley Reiff took reporters' questions for about 10 minutes today here at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Among the highlights of his interview:

  • He talked about his practice battles with Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn
  • He talked about Iowa's coaching situation, including Reese Morgan, Ken O'Keefe and Brian Ferentz
  • He talked about whether he could play at right tackle

Here's the Q&A:

Would you be able to play multiple positions like right tackle or guard?

“I’ll go wherever a team wants to go.”

“I played some right tackle in college. I’d be happy to move over and play wherever the team needs me to play.”

What did you tell the coaches and scouts if you were drafted up high?

“I’m ready to play in the NFL.”

Did the Big Ten help you prepare for the NFL?

“I think the competition in the Big Ten week in and week out has been great. I have really good coaches at Iowa. It was a good experience.”

How does wrestling help you on the football field?

“Your hands, your use of your hands. Footwork. (middle of response inaudible because of loud speaker) Wrestling is a big endurance sport. Not only endurance, it’s mental toughness, too, that brings to the football field.

On what the team will get if it selects you:

“Just a tough, hard-working, coachable football player that loves playing the game.”

What did you measure in at?

“I was 6-5 and something and weighed at 313.”

What about arm length?

“33-something”

Where would like to improve as a player?

“I’d like to improve in all aspects of my game. Whether it’s your footwork in the run game or you’re the way you use your hands in the pass game. I’d like to improve in those areas.”

Who do you compare yourself?

“I really don’t compare myself to anybody. There’s a lot of good players.”

On why Iowa produces a lot of good prospects:

“Iowa has been known for a while, their offensive linemen. Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is a big part of that. He works with the offensive linemen. He’s just a great coach. Coach (Chris) Doyle in the weight room. I think that’s what leads to the success of Iowa.”

Did you go against Adrian Clayborn in practice?

“Yeah every year. Adrian was a great player and great competitor. He works hard every play. He never took a play off. It helped me improve, and I’m sure it helped him improve.”

Did you hold your own?

“Yeah.”

You won 3 state championships in wrestling and one loss?

“Yeah.”

How did that one loss happen?

“I just got beat. It was my freshman year. Lost to a kid, one of my good friends, actually.”

Then you took it out on everybody else?

“Yeah. Tried to.”

How does wrestling help an offensive lineman?

“Just using your hands, your hips, footwork. Mental toughness, that really helps you.”

Emphasis on 40-yard dash?

I think everything you do at the draft (combine) is important. I’ll give them my all and do my best.

“Is the combine something that you train for?”

“I trained for everything.”

Is it important to be the first tackle selected?

“The cards will fold where they fold. First, 20th. That’s not for me to decide.”

Who is your agent?

“Neil Cornrich.”

How difficult of a decision was it to leave Iowa and go pro?

“It was extremely tough. I was at Iowa for four years. The coaching staff was great there. My best friends were on the team. It was tough saying goodbye. I was ready to take the next step and play with the best.”

What position do you prefer to play?

“I’ll play anywhere. Wherever the team needs me. Guard, right tackle, left tackle.”

When did you have right tackle experience?

“I played one game my red-shirt freshman year.”

Brian Ferentz just left New England for Iowa. Do you know him well?

“I know Brian pretty well. I roomed with his younger brother (James) in college. He’s a great guy.”

What kind of interaction did you have with Brian while you were in college?

“He gave us some pointers, how to get rid of guys, what to look for. He’s a great guy off the field, too. Just give me advice, what to look for and stuff.”

Would you have liked the chance to play under him?

“Absolutely.”

What player in the NFL do you resemble your game after and in what way? Who do you watch?

“I really don’t know. I don’t resemble my game after anybody. I like to watch former Iowa players, players like Bryan Bulaga. Just watch Iowa players and people I played with in college.”

What was the best piece of advice you received about the combine?

“Go in there, be yourself and enjoy it.”

Were you surprised that Iowa OL line coach Reese Morgan switched to the defensive line?

“I actually was. Pretty excited. He’ll do great. He’s a great coach, a great guy. He’ll succeed.”

What’s the main thing you want to showcase here at the combine?

“I don’t know. Just going out and doing my best.”

Thoughts on former Iowa offensive coordinator coach Ken O’Keefe going to Miami:

“Ken’s a great guy, a great coach. They’re getting a good coach. They’re lucky to have him.”

Growing up in South Dakota, what fan?

“I was actually a Raiders fan. There were a lot of Vikings fans, and a lot of Denver fans on the west side of the state.”

On going from small high school football to high-major football at Iowa:

“I was from South Dakota. I had a good coach in high school and there were a lot of things I had to learn when I got to college but I had great coaching at Iowa and I give all the credit to them.”

Why are you a Raiders fan?

“The mailman was a Raiders fan and he always talked to me. Raiders and Cardinals. He liked to talk.”

So he delivered the mail and he liked to talk?

“Yeah, that is true.”

What kind of receiver is Marvin McNutt?

“Great guy, great player. Just watching on film just lets him speak for himself. He’s an even better guy off the field.”

On Iowa teammates Markus Zusevics and Adam Gettis?

“We’re all really good friends. We talk regularly. They’re going to do great. I just wish them the best.”

Your maternal grandmother had 15 children (actually 19)?

“That is correct.”

And has 55 grandkids?

“Something like that.”

And 44 great-grandkids and 2 great-great-grandkids?

“Yeah.”

What was a holiday like?

“You got to meet a new family member on Christmas.”

Is everybody in the same general area?

“They’re spread out. A lot of them are in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska.”

That must have been tough when she passed?

“Yeah, she was a great lady in the family. We miss her.”

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