Ahytba Rubin Q&A

The new ISU coaching staff is looking for players to emerge this spring, and one of them is massive Ayhtba Rubin, who spoke with CN this week.

Q: In terms of . . . I want to begin with just the conditioning program. I've talked to a number of players about it. What did you think about the five, six weeks that Coach Sheppard had you all, and what are some of the gains you felt you made?

RUBIN: Well, I feel like my conditioning got better from last year, and the team seems like it's getting faster, and we're getting stronger as a team. I just think it's great that Coach Shep came here; overall, I mean it's a blessing.

Q: You had a lot of playing time last year, a big part of the year. You seem a little bit thinner. I'm not saying that you were . . . not thin . . . last year . . . But the conditioning program, have you thinned down some, do you think?

RUBIN: I've thinned down, gained a little muscle, and just better condition I feel myself . . . like I can last a couple more plays. Like last year, I had to tap out a little early, you know. But this year, I think it's going to be little bit better. Coach Shep got everybody ready, so I'm looking forward to this year.

Q: You're an interior defensive lineman . . . you're a nose guard? Do you feel a lot of pressure to be the run-stopper for this team? 

RUBIN: No, I mean, just give it to me to take the role, and I'm gonna take it. It's football and I'm glad to play football as a Cyclone . . . and I think it's going to be alright, just clog up the hole and try to make plays when I can and try to get more sacks than I did last year.

Q: What are some of your goals for this season?

RUBIN: I want to win a national championship, Big 12, that's a must. And I just want to progress as a player, every game, every time I come out to practice, and get bigger in the weight room, faster. So that's the way I'm trying to get to.

Q: Is this your final season of eligibility?

RUBIN: Yeah, I'm a senior.

Q: Now, Coach Chizik on Monday said that it begins with the defensive line. How is the depth coming on the defensive line, in light of the competition, no declared starters?

RUBIN: I think some good defensive linemen's going to come in and help us out. If I stay healthy I think I can help our team a lot. I'm just looking forward to the first game, and keep on learning as much as I can from Coach Chizik.

Q: So who was with the ones today?

RUBIN: It was me, we had Kurt ‘Killer K', we had ‘Bubba' we call him Bubba, his nickname, and . . . we had Braaksma. That's pretty much who was out there.

Q: Who's Bubba?

RUBIN: Bubba? Uh . . . Rashawn Parker.

Q: (Laughing) We've got a new nickname for him. So you know, you guys had a chance to go scrimmage against the line today. The offensive line has been one of the big questions. How did they do today against you guys?

RUBIN: They did good, progressing as a team. I think Tibbs is going to be a good run-blocker, and Reggie, and a lot of them are progressing . . . we've just got to keep on getting better every practice so we can reach our goal as a team.

Q: Coach Bolt talked about the importance of speed on defense, as did Coach Chizik. Coach Sheppard talked about teaching speed. After the conditioning program and now that you guys are halfway through spring ball, are you feeling faster, quicker, more explosive?

RUBIN: I feel a little bit faster . . . I could do a little bit better. I'm not there yet but if I keep on taking the coaching, I'll be okay.

Q: Every player that's being interviewed is being asked about the new head coach, Coach Chizik. Will you talk about what he's bringing to the table?

RUBIN: He's already known to win championships, so that's what I believe he can bring here. I think he's a great guy all-around, as a man and stuff like that, and I'm just glad for him to be on this team.

Q: Is there a sense out during practices with Coach Chizik . . . I mean with all coaches, you need to be doing things right, but with Coach Chizik is it even more so? Is there like maybe even a little fear?

RUBIN: No, there's just respect of a player and coach . . . You've just gotta do the right things and make sure you give everybody respect so you get respect, you know?

Q: Now, in terms of the defensive line, obviously this is critical. You talked about the speed. Coach Sheppard has said this is going to be most physical team in the Big 12. How's the physicality coming along so far?

RUBIN: Um . . . like my friend over there, Alvin, he's a pretty good hitter, he's getting better. I feel like I'm getting better as a hitter, been doing pretty good on advancing a couple of strong guys out there. So it's just like keep on going in the weight room, keep getting better every day. That's all we can do.

Q: Now, you guys are lifting through spring ball. Did you guys do that last year?

RUBIN: I wasn't here last year, I was at a JuCo in Texas at Trinity Valley, but I heard they was doing pretty good, mostly running. And this year, I think it's going to be more like just, keeping in condition this year, and this hard-hitting football. I think we're going to be pretty good.

Q: Now in terms of blending into the program here, how excited are you to be here, playing in a program that some believe can have a chance to win the Big 12 North, or maybe even do more?

RUBIN: I think we should go all the way. I'm real excited, I mean, it's football, Big 12. It's a blessing, coming from a little town, Pensacola, Florida . . . it's just a blessing; I can't ask for any more, I'm real excited. Just got to be humble at the same time, too.

Q: What's it like, some of the differences for you between playing for a JuCo program and playing for this program?

RUBIN: Not a real big difference. It's like, more money and more guys, and here it's real, real physical, and just the tempo is way different in JuCo, so if you're a good enough player you adapt to anything.

Q: So then in terms of the scrimmage today, did you get any good hits in?

RUBIN: Um . . . not really, I could of did better. I've got a long way to go to reach my goal, so I'm trying to push to that goal every practice.

Q: Last question . . . you've gotten halfway through spring ball. What are some of the two or three things you really hope to accomplish between now and the end of spring ball?

RUBIN: I want to work better on my pass recs; I want to get a couple sacks this year, and be more dominant on run-block. And conditioning, that's my goal, just get better like that . . . and then points.



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