Skladany Training Camp Q&A

Iowa State defensive coordinator John Skladany recently hit on a few topics with CycloneNation.com, as the Cyclone defense prepared for the end of two-a-days and 2004 season. Here is a question-and-answer session with Skladany.

CN: What was your evaluation of the first-year players on defense after its biggest scrimmage in nearly two weeks of two-a-days?

Skladany: We were really anxious to see how the junior-college kids did, and some of the young guys playing. We feel good about a couple of them. We have another hard week to go, but their attitude and effort is good. A few of them is grasping the defense a little quicker than the others, and those are the ones who will push ahead. We'll make up our minds in another week or so.

CN: Talk about the jockeying of Tyson Smith between rush end and WILL linebacker, and the depth you have now in the linebacking corps.

Skladany: Tyson Smith has always been a good football player here. He's a good athlete and important part of our defense. Tim Dobbins is a good football player. He's not ready yet and has to grasp the system. Matt Robertson has done a nice job. Jamarr Buchanan is another guy that's played steady football. We're going to need the depth.

CN: What are your impressions of the three JUCO defensive backs?

Skladany: Jerry Gair, Josh Hargis, and LaMarcus Hicks are all good athletes and have good speed. Jerry has been a safety, the other two kids have played corner, and we're looking to fill our specialty teams on some nickel and dime packages. We simply couldn't do that in the spring.

They have up and down days when it looks like they're grasping it, and some days where some things run together. But they're going to help us this year and I would really anticipate them playing this year in a lot of situations on the field.

CN: What about Tim Dobbins' rapid climb up the depth chart at MIKE linebacker?

Skladany: He was recruited out of high school by Mississippi, and Tennessee had him up there for a game, so people were looking at him. He's a quality athlete. But he hasn't proven anything yet. He's done a nice job in camp and we're optimistic that he'll continue to grasp everything and be a good football player. Until the lights come on and the show goes on, you don't know how anybody is going to do.

CN: Up front, Nick Leaders and Brent Curvey are having the best camps of their career. Talk about those two.

Skladany: They've played a lot of football. Nick's started for two whole years, is an experienced guy, and he gets better all the time. After playing so much last year, Brent Curvey has a lot more confidence and he's been a good player inside. Hopefully he'll have a good healthy year for us. Even outside, Cephus Johnson has had a good camp. He's had a lot of repetitions at that spot. We'll have to see what happens when the lights come on.

CN: What kind of role do you expect freshman cornerback Bobby Chalk to play?

Skladany: He's got a lot of athletic ability and is thick and physical. He's got a spark and seems to make a lot of plays. He's been a nice surprise, and we'll have to see where he fits in at the end of camp.


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