Clayborn, Hawkeye D-line want more sacks

Aug. 20, 2009

Thursday, Aug. 20, Practice Photo Gallery | Video interview with A. Clayborn

IOWA CITY, Iowa — As a sophomore defensive end at the University of Iowa, Adrian Clayborn finished second on one of the nation’s top defenses with eight tackles for loss. Now he wants to increase the number of a more specific stop behind the line of scrimmage.

“We want to be even more of an impact on the field,” Clayborn said. “Get those sacks up. We have to get to the quarterback more.”

The Hawkeyes are 16 days away from their season-opener against Northern Iowa on Sept. 5. Clayborn is one of eight returning defensive starters and he is emerging as one of the bullies of the Big Ten Conference. A year ago he had 50 tackles, two quarterback hurries and two sacks.

“My dream’s for double digit (sacks),” Clayborn said. “If I can get that, I’d be alright.”

As a team, Iowa compiled 19 sacks in 2008, and even though the Hawkeyes ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense and 12th in total defense, their sack total was eight fewer than what their 13 opponents registered.

An older and wiser Clayborn is expected to boost the number of times the Hawkeyes flatten the opposing signal-caller.

“I’m a little bit more in shape and I know what’s going to happen this upcoming season,” Clayborn said. “Getting a year under my belt is really going to help me knowing how to take on the whole game and not just certain plays.”

Clayborn is a 6-foot-3, 282-pound junior from St. Louis (Webster Groves High School). He provides an imposing presence on the field and will once again be teamed with fellow junior Christian Ballard on the defensive line.

“We want to be even more of an impact on the field. Get those sacks up. We have to get to the quarterback more.”
UI defensive end
Adrian Clayborn

“The way I’m looking at it right now, we’ve got Ballard, we’ve got Clayborn out there that have played well,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They’re also excellent leaders. We’ve seen them grow and emerge over the past 12 months.”

While Clayborn has grown as a leader, he wants to improve in that area so he can mentor budding defensive stars like sophomores Broderick Binns , Lebron Daniel and Mike Daniels.

“I have to step up and be more vocal and push the guys along,” Clayborn said. “I have to prepare them and let them know what’s ahead of them.”

Clayborn said he has noticed momentum following Iowa’s 31-10 victory over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. That capped a string of six victories in the last seven outings for the Hawkeyes.

“That momentum has been carrying us since the bowl game,” Clayborn said. “We’re working hard and it’s carrying us right through camp and into the season.”

Iowa has one practice Friday evening before breaking camp Saturday. Then the focus can turn to Northern Iowa and the vision of sprinting onto the Kinnick Stadium turf in front of 70,585 fans.

“I love it,” Clayborn said. “I love hearing that (AC/DC song) Back in Black, getting ready to run on the field…all those crazy fans yelling and screaming for the Hawks. I get a buzz and it’s incredible. I love Saturday’s in Kinnick.”

To view an exclusive 32-image photo gallery of Thursday’s practice inside the Kenyon Practice Facility, click HERE.

2009 Iowa Football Season Ticket Application (v3a)