Sept. 4, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- Read the September issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — What’s not to like about Hawkeyes’ defensive line? In Iowa’s season opening win over Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes had seven linemen total nearly as many tackles as the entire defense surrendered rushing yards, 21-25.
Six of those tackles went for a loss, and three were quarterback sacks.
Those numbers alone are attractive, but in the eyes of a coach, beauty goes beyond the box score.
“I think everybody is improving,” said UI recruiting coordinator and defensive assistant Seth Wallace, “and at this point of the year that is all you’re asking for.”
Wallace is back on campus after spending the last five years at Valdosta State, where from 2010-13 he was defensive coordinator. He was a graduate assistant for the Hawkeyes from 2006-08, and rejoined the staff in 2014 as recruiting coordinator and defensive assistant, working primarily with Reese Morgan and the defensive line.
He has had three weeks of camp, two weeks of game prep, and one game day to evaluate personnel — and already he sees a familiar pattern.
“It seems like a motivated group,” he said. “It’s a group that is led by a few seniors that have the right mindset, which trickles down to the younger guys.
“The way they go about their everyday lifestyle, the way they prepare, and the way they do things is just a way to follow for the younger guys. They obviously had guys in front of them that set an example and they have followed in place.”
Wallace saw that example first hand in 2008 when the defensive line included Christian Ballard, Adrian Clayborn, Mitch King, and Matt Kroul. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense that year, eventually defeating South Carolina, 31-10, at the Outback Bowl.
Clayborn and Ballard graduated in 2010 — Davis and Trinca-Pasat’s first year on campus — but five years later Wallace says their identity lingers.
“I can’t say that this group is going to be like the other group, but they have the potential to be held in that same standard,” said Wallace. “That was an outstanding group of guys that took a lot of snaps here. So for those guys to be mentioned in the same realm… they can be there. There is no doubt.”
Wallace spoke with praise, but only on the condition of preparation and performance. He wasn’t anointing greatness after one week, and is well aware that Iowa’s next opponent rushed for 300-plus yards in a victory last week.
“You have to recognize your opponent and respect the fact that they are very good up front,” said Wallace. “That they did rush the ball extremely well and historically this program, since coach Lembo has been there, has been very strong, and with that comes a great deal of respect.
“As long as our guys are preparing the right way like we did against UNI we should be able to go out there and do what we need to against the run. To me it’s all about preparation, respecting your opponent and knowing what you’re facing.”
Iowa (1-0) and Ball State (1-0) meet Saturday at 2:35 p.m. (CT) at Kinnick Stadium. The game is televised on ESPN2. Tickets are available for purchase through the UI Athletics Ticket Office at hawkeyesports.com or over the phone at 1-800-IA-HAWKS.