By Brendan Stiles
As he waits to find out this weekend whether he’ll be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, former Iowa offensive lineman Adam Gettis took time recently to speak with HawkeyeDrive.com about what his future has in store for him, as well as reflect back on his Hawkeye career.
Should Gettis be among the 253 names called in New York City, he could potentially be one of three former Iowa offensive linemen taken in this year’s draft alongside former tackles Markus Zusevics and Riley Reiff, who is projected to go in the first round.
Below is the complete transcript of HawkeyeDrive.com‘s interview with Gettis:
HawkeyeDrive.com (HD): I’ll start off here by asking how have the last four months have gone for you from your last game in the Insight Bowl against Oklahoma up until now.
Adam Gettis: It has been going well. I worked out in Arizona for three months. I went down to PEP [Peformance Enhancement Professionals] and worked out with Ian Danney. Then I came back to Iowa City for the Pro Day. I think I had a decent Pro Day. It worked out well. Then I stayed down here and kept on working out.
HD: So just to clarify, you’re still in Iowa City right now then?
Gettis: Yes, I’m still in Iowa City.
HD: What are some of your thoughts on this process in general as you’ve been going through it?
Gettis: It’s a long process. It’s a very long process. But you know, in the long run, there’s nothing but good things for you in the end, so you can’t complain. You just want to do your best at every part of the process. That’s what really matters.
HD: Now what was it like for you at the NFL Combine to be there and to also see guys like Riley Reiff and Markus Zusevics there with you, guys that you spent the last two seasons together along the offensive line with?
Gettis: It was good. I didn’t get to see Riley and Zus too much because they were in the other group — they split us into two halves. But I was glad to see them again. They’re my buddies. I got to see Marvin [McNutt] and those guys while I was down there, so it was cool to see some Hawk stuff.
HD: One thing I have to ask you about from when you were there was your 40-time, because I got up that morning, turned it on, and watched you run a 4.91 40. Is that as fast as you’ve ran, or have you run faster before?
Gettis: Um, since high school, that was the fastest I’ve ran. So I guess that’s the fastest I’ve ran in awhile.
HD: So was that something that even caught you by surprise then, I take it?
Gettis: Yeah, I was surprised a little bit. But like I said, I had some good training from Coach Doyle and Ian Danney in Arizona, so I knew it would be a decent time.
HD: What were some of the things NFL personnel there were saying to you after you ran that and after your workout in general?
Gettis: They were a little surprised with the run. You know, I don’t think anybody knew an O-lineman was going to run that fast. But they were all saying, “You’re a small guy. You’re athletic. But you don’t really need to be a 320-, 330-pounder to play in the NFL as long as you’re able to hold your own and hold the big guys back like we do every day in the Big Ten.”
HD: You said part of the feedback was them saying “You’re a small guy.” How often do you hear about your size?
Gettis: All the time, from a lot of the coaches. They all say I’m a little on the small side, but that’s usually no problem. As long as I keep my athleticism and keep my playing style, I should be fine.
HD: Was there anything in particular about your playing style that has impressed them?
Gettis: A lot of the coaches say that they like the way I finish guys on the field, put guys on the ground and just keep playing through the whistle. That’s the main thing.
HD: What would you say are the biggest strides you’ve made as a player from that first start you made in 2009 against UNI in place of Julian Vandervelde up until your last game? Where do you feel you’ve become the player you are today?
Gettis: Well, first of all, I want to thank Coach [Reese] Morgan and Coach [Kirk] Ferentz for working with me so much from ’09 to 2011. They were the biggest part in me changing from that point. But I would say the mental part of it. I think it’s all mental. You just got to buy into the Iowa football mentality and you’ve got to do it from Day One.
HD: You laughed when I mentioned the UNI game. How often do you think back to that whenever you get a chance to look back on your career?
Gettis: Well, I think about it every once in a while. That wasn’t a great game for us. But you just want to build on it. That’s what I think about. I try to build on it and just get even better every day.
HD: Was there ever a moment in your Iowa career once you became a regular starter up front that you started thinking playing in the NFL someday could become a reality for you?
Gettis: For me, I wasn’t even thinking about the NFL at the time. I was thinking I just want to get on the field and actually play. Mike Daniels started, and we were roommates. That really kind of caught me up to play because I didn’t want to be the only guy out of our class that wasn’t able to play. So I just said, “I need to get on it and get that Iowa mentality. It’s time to go. It’s time to play.”
HD: So was the NFL something you never thought about at all until after this past season, or was it something you just kept in the back of your mind?
Gettis: To tell you the truth, I never really thought about it. I was just thinking about the next week and trying to win the game. I knew the more games we won, the better we did as a team. That’s all I ever really thought about. I never really thought about the NFL.
HD: When you have spoken with teams, have they pretty much pinned you down as a guard, or have there been discussions about you maybe playing another position such as center or even tackle?
Gettis: I’ve heard both center and guard, and then some guys want you as a fill-in guy, so both guard and tackle. Both sides — left guard and right guard.
HD: Do you have a preference as to which side you play on — left or right?
Gettis: No, not at all.
HD: May I ask who your agent is?
Gettis: Blake Baratz [The Institute for Athletes].
HD: When you do have a chance to talk to some of your former teammates who are already in the NFL, what sort of advice have you gotten as you’ve gone through this process?
Gettis: Just don’t listen to the hype. A couple of guys I talked to were Adrian [Clayborn] and Julian. A lot of the things they were saying as I was going through the Combine was just don’t listen to the hype. Keep your head level. Make sure you do everything right. You’re always on time. The stuff we do at Iowa, so just be yourself. Those were the biggest things. Just do what we do at Iowa, and you’ll be just fine.
HD: How many visits have you been able to make with teams as far as them giving you private workouts or simply just wanting to get to know you more?
Gettis: I’ve had several private workouts at Iowa. But I had a workout with the Bears at the Bears’ workout facility.
HD: How was that? I mean, with you being from Illinois, I would imagine that had to be a cool experience for you.
Gettis: Oh yeah. It was pretty cool. I got to meet some good guys. I sat down with Coach [Mike] Tice and the general manager [Phil Emery]. We just sat down, talked a little bit, got up on the board and wrote some stuff up, watched some film. Then we went in the Walter Payton Center and did a nice, quick workout. It was good.
HD: Was that surreal for you to just walk around an NFL facility like that and see how a team operates on a daily basis?
Gettis: It was surreal pulling up to the building. You know, coming from Chicago, everybody loves the Bears, especially my family. My family loves that team. But it was just surreal just being able to drive up to the driveway and thinking, “One day, I might be able to play here, or one day, I might be able to play in the NFL, period.” It was cool
HD: Do you have any plans for how you’ll be spending the draft weekend?
Gettis: Yeah, I’m going to be at my grandmother’s house in Chicago and I’m going to hang out there with just family and pretty much hang out for the three days.
HD: Have teams given any inkling as to where they might take you if they draft you, or is it all something where it doesn’t matter as long as you end up somewhere?
Gettis: I’m just at the point where I’m hoping to be drafted. That would be nice. But as long as I get into a camp, I’m happy.
HD: So if the scenario plays out where you aren’t drafted, but are able to sign with a team as a free agent, it’s something you’d still be able to appreciate?
Gettis: Oh yeah. You know, it’s always nice to get drafted. It’s something you dream of. But if it gets to that point, I’ll just work my butt off in camp when I get there.
HD: Your former head coach recently said he expects to see teams end up selecting both you and Markus on draft weekend. What does that mean to you to receive that type of endorsement from Coach Ferentz?
Gettis: You know, Coach Ferentz is, I believe, the best head coach in college football. Any time you get him to say something like that, it means a lot, especially to me. He took that chance on me coming out of high school. He took that chance on me being able to play. Whenever you get a guy to say something like that, it’s an honor.
HD: When you do get a chance to reflect back on your career at Iowa, what are the things that you’re going to remember most?
Gettis: I’d say the biggest thing is just on game day. Getting ready with the guys. Everybody has their headphones on. Nobody’s saying anything. When it comes time to come out of that tunnel, everybody’s holding hands and you got the music playing and 70,000 fans screaming. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ll remember.
HD: Last question I have for you here — Regardless of whether of not you end up getting drafted, why do you believe you’ll be a productive player at the next level?
Gettis: I believe it’s because of the backing I’ve gotten from Iowa. You know, the great coaches we have, playing some of the best players in the nation such as [Penn State's] Devon Still, Big Mike’s on the best, and [Michigan State's] Jerel Worthy. You play those guys week in and week out. I’m playing with Big Mike every week and just having a good time with those guys. Like I said, we’ve been playing some of the best people in the nation. All it does is it help me carry over to the next level.