Bowl Preview Q&A: FS Steve Paris

Starting free safety Steve Paris might be <i>the</i> most underrated player on Iowa State's defense. The junior led the team in tackles and was very stout against opposing run games. Paris took some time away from the practice field to answer a few questions from

CN: What are some of your thoughts on the Miami of Ohio offense?

Steve Paris: The first thing we saw of them on tape is that they like to throw the ball around a lot. They're a very good passing team. We've got to stop their receivers and quarterback, because they've got a dangerous offense. It all starts with their quarterback Josh Betts, and continues with the receivers. They have a nice running back, too, but from a defensive back's standpoint we've got to stop the quarterback and receivers.

CN: Does their attack remind you of any others from this season?

Paris: I would probably say Texas A&M, because they threw the ball against us pretty well. But there are not very many teams that throw the ball like Miami of Ohio.

CN: Switching gears a little bit, let's talk about the breakout season you've had in the secondary. What's it been like to play a bigger role in 2004, and lead the Cyclone defense in tackles?

Paris: I think I answered the call pretty well. I did what I needed to do to help this team win. I did all that I could do. I liked when coach game plans that I'm in the box like a linebacker. I love making tackles. It's good when your safety is the leading tackler on defense. I kind of enjoyed that.

CN: What clicked for you that you took the next step?

Paris: It's really just playing more. We have a lot of experience on defense, and I liked how we bonded together. It made me feel pretty good to be playing on the defense. We played together as a team. This defense had a personality.

CN: As one of the many guys returning to the defense, what kind of expectations will be set for the future?

Paris: I want to do better than I did this year. I want to make All-Big 12. I've got to get some awards my senior year. We'll be losing Ellis Hobbs, Erik Anderson, Tyson Smith, and Brandon Brandon Brown on defense, but we've still got a good group coming back. I want to be a leader on defense.

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