How do you pronounce your name, anyway? I think I have said it about three different ways since you have been here.
Ken Iwebema: There are different ways to say the name. My mother, my father and everyone else that knows my family, because my name is Nigerian, it is EE-web-EH-MUH. There are a lot of people that can't say that so I give them the easier way and just give them I-web-EE-MA.
Everyone is talking about you as being one of the anchors this year, one of the people that has shown the most. Do you feel like the leader of this young line, though you are also a young player?
Ken Iwebema: We are all young. I don't think there is anyone on the line (save Mike Follett) that is older than 21. We are all young. I wouldn't say there is one leader; it's a lot of people helping each other out. One person is better at things than the other.
You were roommates in camp with Howard Hodges a few years back. Some people compare the two of you….(Iwebema interrupts)
Ken Iwebema: I am faster than him. I hope he hears this, too. He tried to race me when we were freshmen, too. But he wouldn't do it.
In addition to the speed, do you think there are other similarities?
Ken Iwebema: That is one thing my coach told me. He is the most recent player they are comparing me to. We are both fast players, we both get off the ball real fast. He is probably a better pass rusher because he had more time at it, but I am going to get better at it. I haven't got all of my moves right and straight yet. As a line, we are going to do things this year, I hope.
There are a lot of people that have some concerns with the lack of experience on the defensive line, myself included, only because we haven't seen you out there playing yet. Do you feel that is fair, or will you surprise people this year?
Ken Iwebema: It all depends on what you are saying. If you say we are going to work hard and do our best and get the best four out there, then there won't be too much of a surprise, because that is what we are trying to do.
The coaching staff is talking about using a big rotation on the defensive line this year. Do you like that?
Ken Iwebema: That is definitely a positive. It will help me breathe. The more players you have, the better chance you have for big plays. Last year, you saw those guys getting tired. The LSU game, they were tired. The Purdue game, they were tired. The Minnesota game they got so tired. D-Rob played with a hurt knee. Those guys went hard last year.
You mentioned something in that Howard was better vs the pass than you are now and you will get there. But in my opinion, one of the biggest keys to being excellent on defense is stopping the run. What is harder to learn; rushing the passer or stopping the run?
Ken Iwebema: I would say becoming a good pass rusher. Because stopping the run is just you….well….I don't really know. I still think being a better pass rusher. All you have to do is play your man to stop the run, because we have Greenway and Abdul behind us, so they clean up everything. There are not too many people that are lucky enough to have those linebackers back there and have Tweeze (Antwan Allen) and Joe (Jovon Johnson) at the corners. We are real lucky to have them behind us; it takes a lot of pressure off us.
Are those guys like a security blanket for you
Ken Iwebema: Yeah. Everyone should say that about their secondary, but what I am saying is that they have been here for a while; I am not talking about playing. If we have a problem, we can ask them. They can let us know ‘if you see this, you can do that.'
A lot of people think it will come down to the rate in which the line develops to match what you have done in the past few years. Not so much that you have to be as dominant as the last three seasons has seen against the run, but just do a good job. Some people think you can compete for a national title if you do that.
Ken Iwebema: We are not worried about that. Don't get me wrong, everyone here wants an undefeated season, but we are working one game at a time. We prepare just like everyone else, going through camp, one game at a time. Right now, we are worreied about Ball State.
I think you guys are ‘miked' up and Norm Parker is somewhere listening with all of this one game at a time stuff I hear from all of you.
Ken Iwebema: It's gotta be one game at a time, because if you don't take it one game at a time, you lose sight of what you are really trying to do, and that is to win games. Yeah, we want to win that championship, you have to win games, so one game at a time. They tell us that, so that is what I try to do; win games.