For Aiken, It's All About Technique

Iowa defensive line coach Ron Aiken has his work cut out for him this year. It's not that he does not have talent, it's that it's nearly exclusively young talent. Mike Follett is the lone senior and he has never played on the defensive line. We spoke with Aiken about the challenges ahead, as well as what makes Iowa unique from other programs in that they have a high level of success from year to year.

What is it that you do to overcome some size issues?

Ron Aiken: We have never been concerned that much about size; our concern is about technique and playing team defense. If we do that, we have a chance.

Comment if you will about your technique. Do you do things differently than other schools? You have success each year with new faces.

Ron Aiken: The key thing is that we try to teach fundamentals the whole time. We have had some good players and some guys that have played with a lot of talent, and we teach them the technique to go along with their athletic ability…so there is some athletic ability that is required. But we try to teach them to play with their hands and realize that if you play team defense, you can have success and make some tackles.

We spoke recently with Jared Clauss, and the Tennessee Titan coaches feel that Iowa is a D-Line school, not an O-Line school, because of the gap control and pad level that Jared showed as a rookie

Ron Aiken: I think we teach fundamentals. But Jared Clauss is a good football player, and Jared Clauss is good to say that, too.

Do you have an idea about your rotation?

Ron Aiken: I have no clue. We are too early in camp right now. We are just trying to get as many reps as possible and let the guys play and decide later on as to who will play what reps. There will be some changes made as we go through the season, so we really can't decide right now. I will say that we have some guys that are hungry, working hard. The key thing is to put that together and go from there.

What do you like about Ken Iwebema and Bryan Mattison?

Ron Aiken: They are two young guys. They are working hard. They have some work to do, but we think they are going to be good players for us.

Do you look forward to a challenge like this year when you are changing gears from four seniors to a brand new crew?

Ron Aiken: I think the key thing that we are going to do is to teach the technique to all the guys and they realize that when an opportunity is available to play, they will get that chance. When they are backing up someone, they are backing up someone because they are not as good as the guy in front of them, so they work hard to improve their technique. The guys realize they have a lot of work to do and they have accepted the challenge and are working every single day.

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