Spring Ball 06 - John Skladany Exclusive

There are plenty of battles on the defensive side of the football this spring and CN caught up with the man that will make those decisions. John Skladany, Iowa State's defensive coordinator talks about everything from the Adam Carper move to other changes that we might see Come read more here in this CN exclusive.

Williams: Can you talk a little bit about moving Adam Carper to RUSH end and what your mindset was behind that?


Skladany: We're always looking for guys that can run and that are really athletic at that RUSH position. Since we've been here, way back we had James Elmore, Reggie Hayward, Tyson Smith and Jason Berryman and I really want to try a guy who really has some ability to rush the passer, to get out and play the perimeter on the run game, yet still be hard enough to play inside on the run so we've moved him from safety, to backer, now to D-line. He's a 6'4 guy; he's only around 220 some by now. I'm sure by the fall that he'll be around 230. He's looked very natural so far. It's an experiment and in a couple more weeks, ask me again. So far I'm happy.


Williams: So you think he's physically solid enough to play there?


Skladany: I really do. Yeah I really do. I think he's got a chance to be really good.


Williams: Can you talk about Travis Ferguson's progress?


Skladany: This is the best he's done so far this spring. It's only been three days. He seems like he's a little bit quicker. He seems more assertive. He's more aggressive and he's showing up a bit more.


Williams: This was your first practice with pads, were you happy with the intensity?


Skladany: Yes I was. We put Tyrone McKenzie at the SAM linebacker spot. With Carper's move, we've got seven new guys out there. The effort was good and we did some good things.


Williams: In terms of your linebackers as a whole, do you think there will be much of a drop off compared to last year?


Skladany: I think Matt Robertson, who was an outstanding player last year, when you put him at middle linebacker; he should be just fine there. Alvin (Bowen) play some last year but you can see how good of an athlete he is. I'm very excited about him. You can see McKenzie running around out there. He's a great physical guy that moves. We're really excited about those guys.


Williams: What are your initial impressions of your secondary at this point?


Skladany: This is Caleb Berg's third year here. He's been a backup and he's been in our system. He knows what to do. He's a good athlete and he's a physical guy. Jon Banks played last year in our nickel and dime stuff. Then in the bowl game, Stevie Paris got that concussion and he stepped in and played so I feel pretty good about him. DeAndre (Jackson) is a proven commodity. Chris Singleton can play. He played some last year and he's got a lot of ability. We've got to continue to build some depth. We've got to find out if Stevie Johnson can play and James Smith looks like a potential safety guy. Houston Jones is a guy that we need to keep evaluating. We need some more depth and we'll get that with some young kids coming in. We've got to find our starters first.


Williams: What about Brandon Hunley, are you guys grooming him to be a nickel back?


Skladany: Yeah he's a guy that we're looking at to play nickel back. That's why he's up where he is. We can go back to safety if we have to. He's getting some experience there. This is a time where we're looking around for a couple different personnel schemes for our specialty teams that could build some depth.


Williams: Do you think we could expect some more changes like the Carper move, some experiments?


Skladany:  Possibly. I can't say for sure right now. If we are going to make them, we'll do that in the next week or so. We'll just see what happens.


Williams: Stephon Dale, he has some big shoes to fill. How's he going to be?


Skladany: He's a young freshman who has a lot of ability. He's really good with his hands. He's just got to play. Nick Leaders was amazing. He stepped in as a freshman and had a total knack for it. Stephon needs to go out and play. I feel good with the quality of athlete that he is. I'm very excited about him.

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