Aug. 6, 2011
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Norm Parker and the Iowa defense. The two have been synonymous with each other for the past 12 years. When there is one, you find the other. 2011 will be no different for the Hawkeye defensive coordinator and his defensive unit.
Parker, in his 13th season at the helm of the UI defense, acknowledged that the Hawkeyes will have to replace a few standouts on that side of the ball. He noted that this is nothing new though, in 'Normism'-like fashion.
"I have always looked at a football team like a kindergarten class," said Parker. "Every year is a new class and a new personality. Who is in the classroom this year?"
There will be a few new faces in the classroom, but this is not the first time Parker and the Iowa staff have had to account for the losses of outstanding defenders.
"I think we should be good," said Parker. "We have a chance to be a good defense. We lost a lot of players but we have some good guys returning and some good young kids coming up. It is their turn to play now."
Under Parker's direction, the Hawkeye defense has been regarded as one of the most physical, hard-hitting units in the country, year-in and year-out. Iowa has been in the top 10 in scoring defense in each of the past three seasons after ranking 12th in 2007. Last season, the Hawkeyes were fifth nationally in total defense (332.1), sixth in rushing defense (101.5) and seventh in scoring defense (17.0).
Parker's defenses have excelled throughout his tenure despite having to replace numerous standouts, many of which are now playing on Sundays.
"I can remember when (Matt) Kroul and (Mitch) King were the young guys," said Parker. "Then (Adrian) Clayborn and (Christian) Ballard were the young guys. Well now there are some new young guys. It is like that kindergarten class -- the next class is in."
The next class is in, and will be looking to replace three NFL draft selections in Clayborn, Ballard and Karl Klug on the defensive line. Seniors Mike Daniels and Broderick Binns return to anchor the line, while senior Lebron Daniel, sophomore Dominic Alvis and redshirt freshman Carl Davis will step in as well.
"They were back there for quite a while and it is different not seeing those guys around," said Parker.
"It is like when (Abdul) Hodge and (Chad) Greenway left. They are gone now and somebody else has to step in. There is a lot of competition, and who will play out there will be determined by those guys in the coming weeks."
Parker and the staff will look to find the right combination of players to form the Iowa defense. They have worked it out in the previous 12 'classrooms,' and in all likelihood, the 13th will be no different.