Tim Dobbins isn't resting on his accolades of last season. The Big 12 Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year is ready this year to vaunt past expectations.
If the Cyclones can regularly shut down opponents, the play of the 6-foot2, 245 pound middle linebacker will be crucial; Dobbins is ready
"I'm a lot stronger and quicker [than I was last year]," Dobbins said.
The senior believes his flexibility is the biggest difference from now and a year ago.
"When I first got here I was very stiff; all muscle and no movement," Dobbins said Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt McGettigan has him "very prepared for this season."
Cyclone Assistant DeMontie Cross is confident Dobbins is ready for a big year. Cross, who works with the outside linebackers, sees a better prepared linebacker heading into the 2005 campaign.
"It took [Dobbins] a couple of games to get used our system and with his ability to make plays," Cross said. "He just improved every game with his leadership, with his tackling, and with his game changing plays that he made."
A huge void on the defensive side
of the ball this year is the leadership Ellis Hobbs demonstrated on and off the
field. One of the question marks is what Cyclone will step into that much needed
role. Coach and player both believe
"His confidence has shot through the roof and he's a leader for us on defense," Cross said.
Dobbins dream for this season is to be chosen one of the team captains.
"I've got to demonstrate to my peers that I can lead them to the right place," the senior linebacker said.
Dobbins said the one newcomer that might have the biggest impact on the linebacker core is transfer Alvin Bowen, out of Garden City Community College.
"He's a little inexperienced, but that's what I was," Dobbins said referring to the 6-foot-2, 210 pound WILL linebacker.
Dobbins added that Bowen has made all of his off season conditioning times and from what he hears, Bowen "can really hit."
What newcomers can immediately be impact players will go a long ways in determining the strength of the Cyclones defense in 2005.