The seniors talked to reporters while standing about 20 feet apart — Iowa defensive linemen Mike Daniels and Broderick Binns.
Daniels spoke softly, quietly confident about the season that opens at 11 a.m. Saturday against Tennessee Tech in Kinnick Stadium.
Meanwhile, Binns talked almost apologetically about what happened last season — about how four losses by four points or less just as easily could have been victories.
“That’s on us,” Binns said. “We can’t let that happen again.”
It’s unlikely to happen Saturday, but after that is anyone’s guess.
“Let’s just play and see what happens,” Binns said. “I think we’re going to open some peoples’ eyes.”
Daniels and Binns are pillars of a line that expects to be solid — and bulging with depth.
“You can learn a lot just by watching those guys — on and off the field,” redshirt freshman defensive lineman Carl Davis said. “They’re my mentors.”
Coach Kirk Ferentz said he’s planning to rotate up to eight players along the line as he attempts to preserve the unit’s stamina throughout a 12-game regular season.
“Coach has the confidence to put more guys in the game, so that goes to show you that there’s a lot more depth,” Daniels said.
“We lost three guys to the NFL from last year’s (line). We’ll miss them, that’s for sure. Who wouldn’t? Now it’s our time.”
Tampa selected defensive end Adrian Clayborn in the first round. Tackle Christian Ballard went to Minnesota in the fourth, and Tennessee picked Karl Klug in the fifth round.
“Now we get to take what we learned from them and spread that around to the younger guys,” Daniels said.
Thomas Nardo and Dominic Alvis will rotate at one tackle position. Defensive ends Binns and Lebron Daniel will rotate with their backups to a lesser extent. But Daniels?
“He’s a beast,” Binns said. “He’d play every down if coach lets him.”
Daniels, a senior, had 11 tackles for loss and four sacks last season. Off the field, he’s become a big brother to younger teammates.
“From the first day I got here, Mike embraced me, whether it was helping me out or kind of ripping me up a little bit and telling me what I’m doing wrong,” Davis said.
It’s part of the cycle. Daniels looked up to older players like Ken Iwebema when he got to campus; now players watch him.
“It’s a learned behavior; I’m not the first player in the program that’s done that,” Daniels said.
“You have to be honest with people, because if you’re not, they can’t be honest with themselves.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football