Klug clogs a hole filled by losses at D-Tackle

Aug. 26, 2009

Wednesday, Aug. 26, Practice Photo Gallery | Video interview with K. Klug

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Gone, but not forgotten. That’s Karl Klug’s take on the graduation losses of University of Iowa defensive tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul.

Klug, an heir apparent at one of the tackle positions, knows there will be a void, but with the 2009 season fast approaching, it’s time to move on.

“They’re gone,” Klug said. “Last year we tried to learn as much as possible from them. We’ll use that for this year and all we can do is go out and play.”

Klug, a 6-foot-4, 258-pound junior from Caledonia, Minn., appeared in 12 games last season, making 17 stops, five tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. Despite being a back-up, Klug was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following a 42-0 win over Florida International on Sept. 6, 2008. In that game, he had nine tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Now Klug can visualize himself among the starting front four when the Hawkeyes open the season Sept. 5 against Northern Iowa.

“That’s going to be kind of cool,” Klug said. “Usually I’m used to coming in for a couple plays and then coming out. It will be a little different. If I do start — that’s not for sure yet — it will be a change.”

Iowa is trying to maintain the momentum that carried it to a 9-4 record in 2008, including victories in six of the Hawkeye’s final seven games. Emerging each Saturday with a `W’ is foremost on Klug’s mind this fall as well.

“I just want to win,” he said. “If we can win as a team, that will take care of everything. We need to recognize that each game means a lot.”

At home games, Klug and the rest of the Hawkeyes receive a vocal reminder from 70,585 loyal fans inside Kinnick Stadium that each game is significant. That provides an awesome atmosphere for a small-toy boy from north of the border.

“I just want to win. If we can win as a team, that will take care of everything. We need to recognize that each game means a lot.”
UI defensive tackle
Karl Klug

“It’s crazy,” Klug said. “I’m from a small town so I was used to playing in front of 500 people. It’s completely different playing in front of 71,000. The fans are great. They support us 100 percent.”

During Iowa’s Outback Bowl championship season of 2008, King and Kroul combined for 111 tackles and 22 tackles for loss. So what exactly did Klug learn by watching that dynamic duo?

“They had perfect technique and the biggest thing is to go all the time,” Klug said. “They never took any plays off. Their last play was just as good as their first play. They had good motors.”

That attitude can eventually pay dividends for any upstart defensive tackle at the UI. King is now with the Tennessee Titans and Kroul plays for the New York Jets.

Eight starters return to a Hawkeye defense that a year ago ranked fifth in fewest points allowed (13 per game), ninth in fewest rushing yards allowed (94 per game) and 12th in total defense (291.31 yards allowed).

Klug has been named preseason fourth team all-Big Ten by Phil Steele’s College Football.

To view an exclusive 20-image photo gallery of Wednesday’s practice inside the Kenyon Practice Facility, click HERE.

2009 Iowa Football Season Ticket Application (v3a)