Aug. 25, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dominic Alvis spent the first two years of his University of Iowa football career transforming his body into a Big Ten Conference defensive lineman. After waiting his turn behind three NFL draft picks, Alvis' time is now.
Listed atop the depth chart heading into the fall camp, Alvis knows more is expected of him in 2011. He got a taste of game action last season as a redshirt freshman before missing the second half of the season because of injury.
"I know more is expected of me this year and that's what I like," said Alvis. "Each day I am expected to get better, and I want to get better. It's all about your attitude, preparation and focusing on things that I can do better to get myself game-ready. I haven't had the opportunity to play in a real critical game, so that's all about attitude."
When Alvis arrived on campus in 2009, he was a slender 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. Two years later, he is listed at 6-4, 255 thanks to the work of UI strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
"Dom has really changed his body since he got here," said Rick Kaczenski, Iowa's defensive line coach. "He came in here a skinny kid, but was a great athlete. Coach Doyle has done an unbelievable job with him. He looks like a completely different kid from the first day he walked on campus.
"I know more is expected of me this year and that's what I like. Each day I am expected to get better, and I want to get better. It's all about your attitude, preparation and focusing on things that I can do better to get myself game-ready.
Sophomore Dominic Alvis
"He's put himself in a position to be successful here. If you look at the guys that have been successful, he's on that same track. He thinks football now, it's his time. When you have Adrian (Clayborn) and those other guys out there, things seem 100 years away. Now all of a sudden you are a guy who the coaches are counting on, and the team is counting on you. I think he sees that, and he accepts the challenge."
Alvis is in a position to accept the challenge after observing Clayborn, Karl Klug and Christian Ballard the past two seasons. Clayborn was a first round NFL pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ballard was selected in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings, and Klug was a fifth round pick by the Tennessee Titans.
"I learned a lot from them," he said. "Those are guys that are going to do well in the NFL. They're great people that you can sit back and watch and hope to be like one day."
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz likes the versatility that Alvis brings. After getting repetitions at the defensive tackle position in the spring, Alvis gives the Hawkeyes more options on its defensive front.
"We played him inside predominantly, and he really did a good job," said Ferentz. "That will give us some flexibility depending on who is doing the best. One thing, at the end of the day, we're probably looking at playing six to eight guys on that defensive front. We have high hopes for Dominic. We think he'll do some good things for us."
Alvis likes having his name first on the depth chart, but he knows he has to earn it, and continue to improve throughout his sophomore season.
"Writing your name down doesn't mean much, you have to earn it," he said. "I want to be so much better at the end of the year than now. I want to look back and say... is that really me."