Nick Leaders Spring Q&A

No current Iowa State football player has as much experience as senior nose guard Nick Leaders, a three-year letterwinner. Leaders is going through his final spring practice as a Cyclone and spoke on his many roles on a team that lacks many upperclassmen.

CN: What is your read on the defense so far this spring?

Nick Leaders: We're doing alright. We're having some good days and bad days, but that's to be expected with a bunch of new people coming into the system. We have a bunch of new people trying to find out what they're going to be playing. We're trying to get a little cohesiveness as a unit.

We still need to develop our consistency. We are up and down. For one series we'll play good for a couple plays in a row, but we'll come out the next time and give up a couple long plays, misfit on something, or miss an assignment. We need to get more turnovers, since we haven't gotten many of those this spring. But that's also a testament to the offense, because they're holding onto the ball better.

CN: With not as many seniors as last year's class how is the leadership developing?

Leaders: I feel pretty good. We've got a lot of new people stepping up. Even the younger kids. You can't really tell with how young they are, because they have started for two or three years now and are sophomores and juniors. We're lacking age but we're not lacking experience.

CN: Are you trying to step up in that area this spring?

Leaders: Yeah. I realize that I'm one of the older guys on the team and have played quite a bit of football. I've got to teach some of these young kids that haven't played as much or played at all. I've got to teach them what to do, how to practice, and how to prepare for games. It's something you step into as you get older.

CN: Give us your scouting report on walk-on sophomore Bryce Braaksma.

Leaders: He came in walk-on and has been playing really well. He's still probably under-sized, but plays tough in the middle. Right now he's just learning and keeps getting better every day. The more time he gets out there at practice the better he's going to be.

CN: Who are some of the other defensive surprises this spring?

Leaders: Adam Carper at outside linebacker has been playing pretty well. He hasn't made any big mistakes. Once he puts on a little bit of weight and figures out what he's doing out there he should be pretty dang good.

CN: Coming into this spring as a four-year letterwinner with more experience than any other player on defense, what approach do you take individually?

Leaders: It's basically just going out there and working on something new every day, just something little. I know what all of the defenses are, we've been putting in new wrinkles here and there, but basically everything is the same. It revolves around the same principles. Every day I go out there and watch film to see what I did wrong the day before, and try to make my game a little bit better.

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