Fearsome foursome: Relentless D-line key to Iowa defense

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, August 4, 2022

IOWA –  Iowa’s defensive line is short on size but relies on experience, technique and energy to make up for it.

The unit returns three players with starting experience in seniors Connor Roy, Kyle Arsement and Kyron Labove. A fourth senior, Kolton Keys, rounds out the starting unit.

Roy said the group works well together.

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“I’ve known them for a long time, I have trust in them,” he said. “I know they are going to make plays. I know they have my back and they know I have theirs. Kyle is physical and a good leader. He gets people motivated and teaches others what he does.”

Roy said he brings a physical presence to the group.

“My physicality, acceleration off the ball and heart are my strong suits,” he said. “This year I want to be a leader, help all the young bucks, be more physical and win. I worked on all aspects of my game and did a lot of work in the weight room to get ready for this season.”

Arsement said he improved last season at reading the offense.

“I was better at recognizing plays as they happened,” he said. “Now I’m working on getting stronger and faster.”

Arsement said Labove brings energy on every play.

“Kyron doesn’t stop; he has a great motor,” Arsement said. “Connor has great technique. Our defense should be physical this year. We never stop.

“Last year we were able to win, win, and win – we never got complacent. I’m looking forward to doing that again this year.”

Labove said hard work is the line’s calling card.

“The best part about being a defensive lineman is my teammates,” Labove said. “They always bring it and work hard. We push each other, we communicate well.

“Connor is fast, has technique and contains well. Kyle is the fastest lineman and gets past the offensive linemen quickly. I’m explosive. On blitzes I can push offensive linemen into the quarterback. I’m working on improving my speed, getting more tackles and sacks.”

 Head coach Tommy Johns said Keys is developing rapidly.

“He’s one of the most improved players on the team,” Johns said. “He had a great offseason and spring. He also adds some size to our front.”

Johns said the group has a great approach to the game.

“They are all two-year starters, great kids who work hard,” Johns said. “They are smart, know what to do and are the leaders of our defense. They are not the biggest group, but they can move. They give us some advantages there. They know what to do and are good at it.”