Illini LB Gabe Jacas Talks Minnesota - Presented By HX Home Solutions

(Editor's Note: Illini sophomore linebacker Gabe Jacas appears on the IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular syndicated radio show each week courtesy of HX Home Solutions)

November 3, 2023

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

Larry Smith:  Gabe welcome back!  How was the week off?

Gabe Jacas:  Oh, it was good. To finally recover. You know, we got an eight week stretch just a week full of games. So it was really nice just to have a break and just relax and recover my body and just focus on my mental (state), so it was pretty good to have that week.

Brad Sturdy:  Is it more important to have the mental break, or the physical break right now in the season?

GJ:  I'll say it's more important for the physical. Because there's a lot of wear and tear on your body, you know. So I think it's most important for the physical aspect of it. Because, you know, we need time to recover and just get back into the season because, you know, everyone remembers November. So I mean, this is where this is where it counts.

Mike Cagley:  You know, Gabe, it was interesting, we got to see you put your hand on the ground. And you look really good there.  Have you had a lot of experience playing there because you slid right into that role?

GJ:  Yeah, I did. I played that position in high school, so it wasn't really new to me. You know, I was ready for the role. And I was excited to put the team first and just, you know, play that role against Wisconsin.

LS:  Yeah. How tough was that game against the Badgers? 21-7 lead and then they find their groove and come back. It felt like that was a victory had snatched away. What have the last couple of weeks been like trying to get past that one that you really could have had and been 4-4 instead of 3-5?

GJ:  It was hard for sure. I mean, give credit to them. But I feel like it was slipping away, you know, Johnny (Newton's) targeting call in the second half, (it was) pretty frustrated, and then just trying to focus on the next opponent ahead and just putting things behind us and going forward in November, because we only got four opportunities left in the regular season. So you got to maximize those opportunities.

BS: So going into this game, you don't have Johnny for the first half. How does that change what you're going to do? I guess you do get Keith Randolph back, so that'll be helpful. But how do you replace Johnny for that half?

GJ:  Knowing that he's not in for the first half is tough. But you know, I mean, we're still capable of playing four quarters of football, you know, just knowing that we got his back in the first half, you know, and he comes back, and we'll be good. So, I'm not too worried. We have a good game plan against Minnesota. Just can't wait to execute it and showcase what I've been practicing and really go out there and just having another opportunity just to go play the game I love.  He's coming back (in the) second half, so it's suddenly a 30-minute (game).

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