Last time out against Nebraska, Illinois safety Tony Adams tackled everybody. The St. Louis University High graduate recorded 12 stops in a four-point loss to the Cornhuskers on Sept. 21. Beat writer Bob Asmussen sat down with the converted cornerback to talk social media, the St. Louis Cardinals, Jay-Z and much more ahead of Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Minnesota:
How long did it take you to get over the loss to Nebraska?
I try to think about the 24-hour rule. You’ve got 24 hours to think about it, win, lose or draw. After that, forget about it. Act like it never happened. Move on to the next team.
When you have a difficult game like that, what do you do to put it behind you?
For me, it’s stay off social media. When you get on social media, you see a lot of people talking about it. Everybody’s got an opinion. I delete the app for a couple of hours.
What’s your platform of choice?
Snapchat. I go between Instagram and Twitter, too. But I stay on Snapchat all the time.
Was this a good time for an open week?
Most definitely. After a physical game like that, you’ve got people nicked up, you’ve got people hurting. A bye week is always great. Mentally, it does help a lot. You get to refresh.
What is the most important fix the defense must make before Minnesota?
At the point of attack, we have to make plays. We can’t miss tackles. When the ball is in the air, we’ve got to take it out of the sky.
Do you like the idea of a road game now?
It will be great for the team. Minnesota is pretty good this year. Right now, they’re undefeated. We’re going into a hostile environment, so it will be fun.
I know you haven’t seen every building, but what’s your favorite place in the Big Ten?
I’m torn between two. I got to travel to Ohio State my freshman year. I didn’t play because I was injured. The atmosphere was crazy. Nebraska, their stadium is rocking. They’re nice people. They just love their team. It was a packed house.
How are you doing health-wise?
I feel great. I’m 100 percent healthy. Everybody deals with soreness after a game.
Lovie Smith is very guarded about injury information. What do the players think about that?
Your coach is supposed to be your protector, like a dad. Dad always protects you. He protects from what we needed to be guarded from. Whatever he’s doing, it’s for our best interest.
The team has lost two close games. Does that make you feel better?
All losses hurt the same for me. The close ones, they hurt. But getting blown out, that hurts, too. You don’t want to feel that pain so you want to win.
The Cardinals are back in the playoffs. Are you taunting your Cubs-rooting teammates?
When they bring it up, I might say something. I’m always rooting for the home city.
Do you miss the Rams?
Yes. I hate that they moved to L.A. It hurt. I still call them the St. Louis Rams. They’re pretty good.
Think the NFL will go back to St. Louis?
I hope so. I would love to see a team back in St. Louis.
Were you at the Blues parade after they won the Stanley Cup?
I did not make it home for the parade. I’m a fan because they’re from St. Louis. I was watching the final game and going crazy.
Why do you wear No. 6?
I wanted something new when I got here. In high school, I started off as 41. I switched to 13. After I got here, I saw some of guys that had 6, like Kelvin Hayden, and you want to live up to those standards.
How do you like safety?
I played it in high school. I’m not as big as the other safeties in the Big Ten, but I don’t really care about all that.
You are a political science major. Someday, will they call you Senator Adams?
I haven’t thought that far ahead. But maybe something like that. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I love the debating part of it.
Who is the one person, living or dead, you would mostlike to meet?
Jay-Z. He’s a billionaire. He’s the American dream, to go from nothing to something.
Have you seen film of Illinois safeties coach Gill Byrd during his NFL career? What did you think?
I saw one highlight. A dude caught an out route and Coach Byrd came out of nowhere and blew him up. The numbers don’t lie. He was an excellent player.
Tell me something people don’t know about you.
I like to do the same thing before every game. If I don’t, it will throw me off. I like to wake up around the same time. I like to eat the same meal. There’s a song (“Knob Broke by Jeezy) I like to listen to before we walk out. I like to watch highlights before I go out.
Tell me something people don’t know about one of your teammates.
Jamal Woods and Kenyon Jackson are both great rappers.
You’ve got time left, but tell me your favorite moment at Illinois.
I don’t think I’ve had that moment yet. I feel like it’s coming.