Cyclone Linemen Talk Spring Ball

As the Iowa State football team prepares to wrap up spring practice with Saturday's intrasquad game, caught up with a pair of lineman that figure to play big roles this fall, Aaron Brant and Nick Leaders.

Aaron Brant:

CN: What have you thought of the change at offensive line coach and coordinator?

Brant: I like Coach Cotton's attitude. He's more of a tougher guy, and that's the way he expects us to be. That's probably the biggest change.

CN: What can this group do between now and the start of training camp to keep improving?

Brant: Overall strength. We've got to have a good summer in the weight room and get stronger. We need to keep improving and learning the plays, so we can get them down and not think about them. We've been building on top of each day. I don't know if we've really had a bad day. We've added to the big picture, chunk by chunk.

CN: Coach Dan McCarney has said this offensive line is devoid of some true leaders thus far. Can you develop into one down the road?

Brant: Most definitely. Anybody can be a leader out there. It doesn't matter what year you are, it depends on who's going to step up and can say some things now and then, and back them up too. I'd be comfortable with that. But it's not a role that you decide for yourself. It's more of what your teammates look at you as.

CN: Has this group been able to build some chemistry yet on the field this spring?

Brant: I think we've gotten a little more used to each other's tendencies, so we know what the other person's going to do. That's made it easier. We got shuffled around all last year, and I don't think we had the same starting lineup two weeks in a row. When you can get some guys staying in the same spot, it makes it a lot easier. But we've still got to find out who those five guys are, too.

Nick Leaders:

CN: Has this team gotten significantly tougher since last season?

Leaders: We've been doing a lot more running during team one-on-ones, so we're going to be stronger and tougher. We weren't very good running the ball, and stopping the run last year. Those were two things we needed to work on this spring, and have done that. The coaches have always been pushing it, but we finally realized that we were getting pushed around everywhere on offense and defense. Then with Coach Cotton coming in, the offense has been a lot more hard-nosed and a running team.

CN: The starting lineup of you, Jason Berryman, Brent Curvey and Cephus Johnson have been together for much of the spring. What are the benefits of that?

Leaders: It's good to know who you're playing next to, get used to their tendencies, and get it together as a group.

CN: What's this about the eye opener drill in practice?

Leaders: It's basically one-on-one offense versus defense. It's something to get the team excited and get a little energy before practice. In a one-on-one block, you've got to make the play on the running back in a two-gap. It helps us out and gets the two teams going against each other. I like it. It's fun because it shows who can play and who can't.

CN: How about the play at linebacker this spring?

Leaders: We have a lot of people that are stepping up this year and we have a lot more depth. We don't have to have the same people playing all the time. It will be good to rotate more people through there.

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