April 6, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Broderick Binns entered his junior season as a major cog in the University of Iowa defensive line labeled one of the nation's best.
He finished with 36 tackles in 12 games -- 27 fewer than he had as a sophomore.
"Last year I didn't do as well as I wanted, but this year I have to go out and make more plays and try not to go out and do too much. If I do my job, everyone else will do their job and then it makes the defense better."
Binns is one of four three-time lettermen penciled in at the top of the spring defensive depth chart, joining Lebron Daniel on the opposite end of the line, Tyler Nielsen at outside linebacker and Shaun Prater at left corner. Last season, in theory, the player at left defensive end could expect a busy Saturday since All-American Adrian Clayborn was snorting fire from the right side. Clayborn, Christian Ballard and Karl Klug are weeks away NFL careers, leaving Binns as one of three veteran leaders of the front four.
"Now it's time for (defensive tackle) Mike (Daniels) and I to step up and take the role, whether that role is to get people going in practice, in the game or when situations are tough," Binns said. "I think so far Mike and I have done a good job stepping into the leadership roles. We still have a lot of spring ball left and we still have the whole season, but I think we have done a good job so far."
The Hawkeyes completed their ninth spring practice Wednesday. There are several fresh, young faces hungry for playing time for coach Rick Kaczenski on the defensive line and Binns enjoys the daily competition.
"It has to be (competitive) just so nobody is thinking a spot is safe or for anybody to think they're an all-star. I like it that way," Binns said. "Last year was tough for me, but last year is last year. We're moving on. This is a new team with new guys up front, so that's my main focus right now."
A signature moment for Binns occurred last season on Sept. 18 at Arizona. Not only did he compile six tackles, but his 20-yard interception return for a touchdown helped Iowa overcome a 20-point deficit to tie the game, 27-27. He had a season-high nine stops (with a forced fumble and pass breakup) at Minnesota in the regular-season finale.
The Hawkeyes were sixth out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (101.54) in 2010 and seventh in fewest points allowed per game (17). Binns and Co. looks to improve on its total for sacks (83rd, 1.69 per game) and tackles for loss (110th, 4.38).
"We have a whole bunch of young guys and that's good for us," Binns said. "This year everybody is going to work that much harder just to play for the team. The D line is going to be good this year."
Who has impressed Binns thus far in practice? Dom Alvis...Joe Forgy...Joe Gaglione...Carl Davis...Donavan Johnson...Mike Hardy...
"Those guys have shown there is some upside to their game and they can potentially play next year," Binns said.
Iowa opens the season Saturday, Sept. 3, against Tennessee Tech inside Kinnick Stadium.