May 22, 2008

Gaglione builds his speed

It has to be quite a sight on the tack this spring at the Lake Catholic High School meets. There was Joe Gaglione, all 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds of him, lining up to run the 100 meters and beating most of the competition. The future Hawkeye and pass rushing specialist has been hard at work this spring building upon his speed and getting ready for his arrival in Iowa City this summer.

Q: What have you been doing since signing day?

GAGLIONE: I have been doing track. I was running the 100 meters and the 4 x 100. I have also been doing the workout program that Coach Doyle sent me.

Q: The 100? That's pretty rare for someone your size.

GAGLIONE: Yeah, I was coming in second or third in a lot of the meets, so I was doing pretty good.

Q: What kind of times were you posting?

GAGLIONE: I ran between an 11.7 to 11.4.

Q: You had to be the biggest guy running those races.

GAGLIONE: Yeah, I am up to 235 pounds, so I am probably the biggest guy out there. (laugh) I was running against other guys who were about 150 or 160 pounds so they were all looking at me. It was pretty cool.

Q: Where do you want to get your weight at before you come to Iowa City?

GAGLIONE: I am coming in July, so I would like to get to about 240 pounds. I would be really happy with that.

Q: How is the workout program that Coach Doyle sent you different from what you were doing and what are you getting out of it?

GAGLIONE: What I was doing was going to Speed and Strength, a local place and doing their workout program too. I do both of them. What I used to do were the football workouts that the coaches at our high school. That was a pretty basic program, but now I am doing more advanced exercises and I am seeing the results pretty quickly.

Q: Going back to when you were recruited, you had such a huge senior year. Did you even surprise yourself a bit with how well you played?

GAGLIONE: What happened was that I knew I had that inside me all along and knew I was a talented player. In my junior year, I thought I would have a great season, but I came down with an illness and it really upset me that I couldn't perform at a high level. I always knew this was inside me and I could have the type of season I had.

Q: You ended up with 22 sacks in your senior year. Did you keep track of it during the season?

GAGLIONE: My coach did and my teammates did. They had a chart up in the locker room, so they kept track of them.

Q: I talked to Coach Kaczenski a while back and he mentioned that your game against a guy who is headed to Ohio State really turned a lot of heads. Can you talk about that game?

GAGLIONE: Yeah, against Michael Adams from Dublin. I had 1 sacks against him and he is a big name player. He is about 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds and was the #3 overall recruit in the country. That got my name out there after I had a pretty solid game against him.

Q: That was your coming out party, so to speak, and I'm sure that tape got in the hands of a lot of college coaches.

GAGLIONE: Yeah. I sent out that tape and a highlight tape and that got my name out there pretty quickly.

Q: What are you looking to get out of your first year at Iowa?

GAGLIONE: The coaches are telling me that it is basically up to me. If I feel good in camp and I feel like I have the ability to play then I will go that way. Coach thinks I can come in and contribute, so we will see how it goes.

Q: What is the most important thing for a pass rusher? Is it speed? Technique? A combination of the two? What was your key to having your level of success?

GAGLIONE: It is really both. You need to be able to set up each move and not do the same move over and over again because the lineman will adjust to it. I am a little bit undersized, but I am getting up there. You need speed when you undersized, but technique plays a huge role as well.

Q: Is part of the reason you went out for track this spring to continue to work on and build upon your speed?

GAGLIONE: Yeah it was. It has really helped my first step and my overall speed. Those are very important.

Q: You got some late interest from some pretty good programs that are close to home. Did it make it tough sticking with Iowa?

GAGLIONE: I had offers from Pitt and Ohio State late and a bunch of other schools. But, when I went out there to Iowa on my official visit and I committed because the minute I stepped on campus, I knew that was the place for me. I get a hard time around here for not taking Ohio State, but I know I made the right decision.

Q: It had to be tough to turn away Ohio State.

GAGLIONE: It was tough and when I heard about the opportunity there, I was shocked. It is a dream for a kid from Ohio to get offered by their program. It was a challenge, but I am thrilled with the decision I made.

Q: A decision like that says a lot about your character and commitment.

GAGLIONE: When I see something I want and like, I will go for it and I am definitely very happy with the decision I made and looking forward to be an Hawkeye.

Q: Coach Kaczenski mentioned that your dad is a firefighter. That is a tough job. What have you learned from him being in that line of work?

GAGLIONE: He does that job and it is a 24 hour a day job, pretty much. You can go on call at just about any time and you have to be ready. He really taught me a lot.

Q: Talk about the relationship with some of the guys from Ohio that are coming to Iowa with you.

GAGLIONE: I actually saw Steve (Bigach) at a track meet the other day and we talked about heading to Iowa. We were also at a banquet recently where we both received player of the year honors for our county. I saw Willie (Lowe) a while ago as well. They are both really nice and I look forward to spending my college years with them.

Q: Are you doing any all star games this summer?

GAGLIONE: I am actually playing in the North/South game in June and then taking a couple of weeks off and then coming to Iowa City.

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