The defenses of both Iowa State and Iowa look to turn things around after losing streaks last season. Defensive tackle Mitch King is expected to lead an improved Hawkeye defense, and says it’s time to look ahead. King says he doesn’t want to point fingers after last season, but says they need to keep their focus every day as last year a lot of things went wrong.
King,a junior from Burlington, says the atmosphere in the lockerroom this year is better. He says everything is better this year. Senior linebacker Mike Klinkenborg of Rock Rapids, says the defense expects to be relied on early with their experience.
Klinkenborg says they feel they have the responsibility to stop the other team and get the ball back for the offense, and feel they have experience throughout to get it done. Klinkenborg says their good showing in the bowl game against Texas was something to build on. He says the work they put in, and the way they competed with Texas gave them an understanding of what it takes to compete in the Big Ten and through the season.
Klinkenborg says they don’t want to repeat the losing streak they had last year. Klinkenborg says sitting in the lockerroom after those loses is something they don’t want to go through again. He says the coaches have given them cards with 2-6, their Big Ten record last year, to remind them of what happened. The season starts at Soldier Field in Chicago against Northern Illinois.
King says playing in an N-F-L stadium is always an experience. King says it’ll be fun as they played in Tampa in the Outback Bowl, home of the Buccaneers.
Senior linebacker Alvin Bowen is expected to be one of the leaders of the Cyclone defense. Bowen says turning things around is simple. He says they have to make plays, as they didn’t make enough plays last year. New ISU coach Gene Chizik was the defensive coordinator at Texas, and Bowen says Chizik asks one thing of the defense.
"Be fast and physical all the time. I’m not saying that wasn’t here last year, but that’s the emphasis he’s putting on us every day," Bowen says, "He’s not going to put a soft football team on the field." Bowen was asked how the coach treats the players on the practice field.
Bowen says Chizik is "straighforward and sharp," and does clown around sometimes, but Bowen says players know what Chizik wants and you have to get it done. Bowen and the rest of the Iowa State defense get their first chance to show their coach in the season opener August 30th at home against Kent State.