Aug. 10, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- You could say that University of Iowa defensive lineman Broderick Binns was `discovered' last season as the Hawkeyes prepared for their Nov. 1 game at Illinois.
"Broderick might be on my mind as one of the most improved players on the team," UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said at media day Aug. 7. "That came to light in the bye week. We didn't block him during our bye week last year and we haven't blocked him very consistently in practice since."
So what switched for Binns after eight games a year ago?
"It was me practicing hard and getting better," Binns said. "My teammates helped me along the way. We had been practicing against each other for a long time. A lot of things add up and guys like Adrian (Clayborn) and Christian (Ballard) helped me out by telling me what I can do."
As a redshirt freshman in 2008, Binns recorded 22 tackles (11 solo, 11 assists) with 2 ½ tackles for loss, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. He had a career-high four tackles during a 22-17 win against Purdue, and he was credited with two solo stops during a 31-10 win against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
That rookie season for Binns was a prelude of what is to come.
"I'd like to mention Broderick Binns," Ferentz said. "We've got some guys I think that are ready to go. We're confident the young guys playing inside are going to do a good job."
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Binns played defensive end last season, and by the sound of things, could see time either outside or inside on the line this fall.
"Anywhere they need me to play," Binns said. "I'm a team player, so if they need me to play tackle, I'll go down there and learn it. It makes me feel good to know that I could be one of those success stories like Shonn (Greene) last year. For me, the time's not up yet. I still have a lot to write and hopefully I can finish strong."
"Broderick might be on my mind as one of the most improved players on the team. That came to light in the bye week. We didn't block him during our bye week last year and we haven't blocked him very consistently in practice since."
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
No. 21 Iowa participated in its fourth practice of the preseason Monday, a day when photographers from all media outlets were allowed in the Kenyon Practice Facility for the first 15 minutes of drills. After Monday, there are just 26 days before the Hawkeyes host Northern Iowa in the season-opener Sept. 5.
Eight starters return on an Iowa defense that, in 2008, finished fifth in the nation in scoring defense (13.0 points per game), ninth in rushing defense (94.0 yards per game) and 12th in total defense (291.31 yards per game).
"It's a big plus to have eight guys returning on defense," Binns said. "We're looking to get better. There are a lot of guys that can step up, so we're going to have a lot of guys rotating in. It should be a really good season for us."
Binns is currently listed as Ballard's back-up at defensive end. The tackle position took a hit with the graduation of four-year starters Mitch King and Matt Kroul. King is currently playing for the Tennessee Titans and Kroul is with the New York Jets in the NFL.
"With Mitch and Matt graduating, I can't say enough about what they did on the field," Ferentz said. "As you'd imagine, four-year players are great program guys and served as outstanding leaders. That's a void. I look at it like a year ago when we came with two new defensive ends, Bryan (Mattison) and Ken (Iwebema) had graduated the year before. Those two guys are both on NFL teams now. They played well. The way I'm looking at it right now, we've got Ballard, we've got Clayborn out there that have played well. They're also excellent leaders. We've seen them grow and emerge over the past 12 months."
Binns, of St. Paul, Minn., is a 2007 graduate of Cretin-Derhman Hall High School. He attended the same high school as current Hawkeye teammate Rafael Eubanks, a senior, who is listed as the starting center on the preseason depth chart.