Kroul Ready to Lead

Matt Kroul came to Iowa last fall fresh off his Mt. Vernon farm. He impressed the coaches so much that he made the two-deep roster as a true freshman. Due to good fortune in the injury department along the defensive line and seniors that could play nearly every snap, Kroul was able to redshirt. Now this young player is ready to take on a leadership role.

The coaches have spoken highly of you since you arrived here last year. You were on the two-deep last year coming out of fall camp, but were able to redshirt. Now, it appears that you are going to have an opportunity this year. What can you bring to the table?

Matt Kroul: We are going to need a lot of people on the defensive line this year and I think that I might be able to bring a leadership role for the younger guys.

It's ironic to hear you talk about the ‘younger guys'. What is it about your game that caught the coaches' eye last year?

Matt Kroul: Just going hard to the whistle. Work your butt off and finish plays.

Is that because of the farmer in you?

Matt Kroul: Farming wasn't that hard. You guys make it out harder than it was. Getting up early every day might have something to do with it.

When you came in, there seemed to be multiple positions that you could play. Did you expect to end up on the defensive line?

Matt Kroul: I knew I would be on the line, though I did not know which side. I came in weighing 240-pounds and middle linebackers are around 235. So I knew that I would be on the line. I am 270 right now.

You will have a lot of 320 pounders on you. How do you combat that size differential?

Matt Kroul: It is technique. They call it a half a man versus a whole man. You are not pushing a whole man, you are trying to get around guys by moving your feet. When you are smaller, you have to move.

What have been the biggest challenges adapting to the position?

Matt Kroul: Being the smaller and younger guy. I took onto it being behind Roth and Babineaux. It was a challenge to play with them, as good as they were. Trying to get to their level will take a few years. Just trying to learn as much as them is what I did.

What are the biggest lessons you learned from last year's seniors?

Matt Kroul: Preparation, tempo of practice. Those guys were always going hard; it didn't matter if it was the beginning of practice or the end of practice. They were going full speed. They didn't take breaks in practices.

What did they do if they caught the young guys not going full speed?

Matt Kroul: It's usually Coach Aiken. He rides you pretty hard, but that is what he has to do to get us to the level we need to be at.

What do you say to the skeptics out there who have not seen you play yet? Is it unfair to assume that just because you are young that there will be a drop off?

Matt Kroul: Coach Ferentz has addressed it a lot that we will have 6 to 8 guys, maybe 10 guys stepping in to try and do the job, going full speed all the time. Continuous movement, being fresh and for us to work hard and be tough and see where it goes.

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