Q&A With Fighting Illini Running Back Steve Havard

Senior Steve Havard
Senior Steve Havard

Nov. 5, 1999

by Matt Herrmann, UI Athletic Public Relations

MH: What is your most prized possession?

SH: I would have to say relationships. Relationships I develop with my teammates, coaches, different people that are close to me that I hold very dear. I think relationships that I develop with people are the most important thing to get out of life, next to a relationship with God.

MH: What are words Steve Havard lives by?

SH: Never give up. That's the attitude I was pretty much raised with. No matter what you go through or how hard it is, just never give up. A perfect example is--I had a conditioning test and towards the end of it I started to feel tired. You can easily fake an injury or go down or stop, but even though I didn't make my times, I kept running and never gave up.

MH: Was there ever a time you hated an opponent?

SH: No, I never hate any teams I play. I go into the game with the mentality that they're human just like me, and I wouldn't want someone to hate me. I don't mind a competitive attitude and just going out and butting heads, but hate is a strong word. And there is a difference between competitiveness and hate. I mean, if you compete so hard to a point where you hate somebody then you have to step back and take a look at yourself and why you're doing it. But if you're competing, I think, to win, to dominate, then that's not hate--that's a competitor.

MH: How do you mentally prepare for a game?

SH: For me, I just try to clear my mind and pretty much think to myself, 'Don't try to go out there and do something spectacular, just do the basics, do what you're trained to do, and everything will fall into place.' I'm not going in there and thinking I've got to break a run every time I touch the ball, for a first down. I try to master the basics in my mind, and pay attention to detail and everything will fall into place.

MH: What inspires Steve Havard?

SH: Wanting to be the best, I guess. I'd be lying if I said anything else, but I want to be the best at what I do. That's always lurking in the back of my mind.

MH: Who is the hardest hitting opponent you've ever faced?

SH: Probably Ohio State. They've got an aggressive defense that we're going to always have to raise our level against. We're going to have to raise our level against anybody we play, but more so them, because they're the team to beat in our league.

MH: If you had the opportunity to be anybody in the world for a week, who would it be?

SH: Walter Payton. He's the reason I got into this sport. Him and my high school football coach are a couple of the reasons that I started playing football. I saw what he [Walter] did, and I remember me being really young, at an early age, watching Payton on television, and seeing him get all this attention and doing these things on the football field, and I started saying, 'I want to be like that.' He' s the reason I'm in football.

MH: Have you accomplished everything you wanted to in your career thus far?

SH: There's a couple things I would have liked to have done before I graduate. One is be All-Big Ten, an All-Big Ten halfback. I've not done that yet and that's one of my goals this year. I'd say that's my top goal. But that's something I'm really working for and striving for.

MH: What's your most memorable experience while attending the University of Illinois

SH: My freshman year, after playing for the first time as a true freshman. I think either Ty Douthard or Robert Holcombe got hurt and I was next in line as a true freshman. Not a lot of people get to play when they're true freshmen, so stepping in was a real high spot. Also, after stepping into the spotlight, I scored a couple touchdowns as a true freshman. That really boosted my confidence a great deal, because from that point on I knew that I could play in this league and do some things for this team. The rest is history.