The Linebackers: Constant and Unwavering

Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2019-20 | Hawkeyes in the NFL | Photo Gallery


IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Hawkeyes’ defense is known for its star power on the defensive line. The secondary has recently made headlines with its changing parts. The linebackers, meanwhile, have been quiet amid the noise, remaining a constant unit that ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring defense.

“I think the biggest part of having any success in any position is the consistency you need to have from a coaching stand point,” said Seth Wallace, linebackers coach and assistant defensive coordinator. “You evolve and there’s some things you tweak, but really the foundation stays the same. That’s why you’re seeing some guys grow and improve that we have currently at the linebacker position, and then the success of those that have left the program as well.”

The linebacker room is led by senior Kristian Welch. The team captain leads the team with 31 tackles, 13th in the Big Ten. Sophomore Djimon Colbert follows close behind with 23.

“Kristian is out in front and a lot of that has to do with experience and time that he’s had here,” Wallace said. “He’s a good leader for that group to have and someone that’s been around to see the ups and downs and still play through them. That’s why you’re seeing some growth out of some of these younger individuals. Djimon is starting to see how things are being done looking at Kristian and the other guys.”

The 2019 team has been known for its depth and versatility on offense. With Welch, Colbert and junior Nick Niemann, the same can be said about Wallace’s group. These three entered the season with 28 combined career starts. Collectively, they started all but one game in 2019.

“You see surprises every day and growth out of each individual,” said Wallace. “You also see the collective growth and that’s what I was speaking to at the beginning of the year. We’re still in the same position and we’re continuing to grow and improve. The guys that are in the front are still in the front and they’re continuing to make progress, but you’re also seeing great depth being developed behind them as well.”

The Hawkeyes are approaching Saturday’s game at Michigan with the same training and consistency that has worked well through four games. Wallace keeps it simple when it comes to preparing for the big game.

“I think with any week you have to prepare to stop the run first. You might see a team that has more production through the air, but you never want to minimize what the run game means to a particular game,” Wallace said. “From a defensive mentality, you stop the run first and from there you start to work on the pass. We were faced with that last week where we did a good job stopping the run and then faced the passing game and we’re going to be faced with the same thing this week.”

The Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play No. 19 Michigan on Saturday. Kickoff is at 11:05 a.m. (CT). The game will be broadcasted on Fox.

Iowa football hosts Minnesota in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale on Saturday, Nov. 16.  Fans are encouraged to wear black for the Blackout game, and it is the annual military appreciation celebration. Active duty military and veterans are eligible for a military ticket discount. Click HERE for tickets and pre-paid parking and additional game information.