From Jake Kurnot in Dunbar, Pennsylvania: Now that you have gone through your first minicamp, what are your initial impressions of the Steelers defense?
Mike Humpal: You hear a lot of rookies say the schemes in the pros that the defense is more complex, which is true. The plays happen faster. But its still the same thing. Its football, it just happens faster. Once I adjust to that I will be fine and learn the defense. College defenses are a lot more generic than pro. That is an adjustment right now. I look forward to fitting in and being part of the defense.
From Steve McNally, Albion, Pennsylvania: Do you see special teams as being a key for you right off the bat?
Mike Humpal: I do. Its going to be really big. If I want to make the team I am going to have to be valuable on special teams. That is something I am going to be working hard at and show them I am capable of playing well on special teams.
From Shane Jefferson in Fairmont, West Virginia: What makes a good special teams player?
Mike Humpal: Someone who is accountable and the other 10 guys can count on him to make plays. Special teams is just as important as offense and defense. Being a football player its just as big. Its a huge part of the game. You have guys on there who care and want to make plays.
From Scott Brewer in Pataskala, Ohio: What do you feel that is the most important aspect in playing linebacker: strength, recognition, anticipation, scouting, or speed?
Mike Humpal: I would say the biggest thing is recognition and then initial reaction. People thought Chris Spielman was too slow. He wasnt the fastest guy on the clock but he was always around the football because he recognized plays and reacted so fast. I think its recognition and reaction and not necessarily the speed and strength.
From Kevin Robbins in Grants Pass, Oregon: As a linebacker how does it feel to come to a team that has such a tradition of producing some of the best linebackers in the league?
Mike Humpal: Its great. The veteran guys that are there right now are really talented tough guys. They are good football players. The ones previously, for the past 20 or 30 years, as well. Its nice going to a program that has a solid defense and a strong tradition of having good linebackers. Its a good situation to go in to.
From Stacey Greiner in Des Moines, Iowa: You come from a school (Iowa) known for its defense and great head coach (Kirk Ferentz). Do you feel this gives you a great advantage?
Mike Humpal: Coach Ferentz ran things professionally here at Iowa. It is a disciplined program, which helps. Our defensive coordinator, Coach Norm Parker, he has been around football for a long time. He is football intelligent. Working with him over the years and learn from him helped a lot. There have been a lot of good players who have gone through the program who have been mentors too.
From Dan Cook in Powell, Ohio: What do you think will be the biggest adjustment to the NFL for you either on or off the field?
Mike Humpal: Probably not having to go to class will be a big adjustment. It will be waking up and going to practice instead. When the work day is over, I wont have to go to class and do stuff like that. That will probably be the biggest adjustment. It wont be difficult though.