Christian Ballard Interview
By: Ian Kenyon
February 16, 2011
Christian Ballard

Ian Kenyon: You've seen time at both defensive end and defensive tackle at Iowa, where do you feel is your best fit and how comfortable would you be switching to the five technique in a 3-4 scheme?
Christian Ballard: Right now I'm just trying to get better; of course I feel that I can fit anywhere on any scheme really. Defensive end is where I played before so I'm a little more comfortable out there, but a lot of teams are looking at me as a defensive end on run downs and a defensive tackle on passing downs because of my quickness and everything.

Ian Kenyon: What sort of preparation are you going through to get ready for the draft?
Christian Ballard: I've been working with coach Doyle, he's the best in the business, he gets offers from NFL teams every year so a lot of teams like it when we say we're from Iowa and we work out with him, so that's what I'm doing. Usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we'll do a lot of speed work and weight lifting, then on Tuesday and Thursday, just a lot of your general physical preparation stuff. Not too strenuous but it's still a good amount of work. We also watch the combine stuff, do a lot of 40s, it's pretty good.

Ian Kenyon: Do you have any goals set for the combine coming up?
Christian Ballard: Just trying to be the best. I want to be the best that I can be out there. I want to run the fastest, of course, but just go out there compete against anyone I'm up against. Just go out there and have a little bit of fun too.

Ian Kenyon: You had the opportunity to compete a couple weeks ago in the Senior Bowl, can you just comment on that whole experience, what it meant to you, and what you were able to take away from it?
Christian Ballard: It was a great experience, gives you a little bit of foresight on where you're going to be headed and what the tempo and practices are like in the NFL. It's definitely a great experience to have. Being from Iowa, coach Ferentz is a big NFL guy, so a lot of our practices are run just like the NFL so there wasn't too much new to me, but just the basic things that he tells us that we have to keep on doing. It was a good experience though, the off-season's great and I made a lot of friends so I think it went real well.

Ian Kenyon: This season saw some of your numbers go down a bit, what do you attribute that to? How do you show teams that you're improving and becoming a better player?
Christian Ballard: I just tell them to turn the tape on. I think I had a pretty good season, rushing the ball, using my hands. There's a lot more out there than just stats out there. You have to be able to run, run the ball down, stay in your lanes, and that's kind of how Iowa's defense is built. Defensive linemen from Iowa used to come out with 10-15 sacks, kind of like Adrian his junior year. But usually it's more like 7-9 at the most, and we're just trying to play within the scheme. The other thing I like to show is my ability to run down any type of ball carrier, wide receiver, running back, quarterback, I can keep up with some of the fastest guys I think and I can make them rethink about coming to my side so that's just what I try to show out there. That I have the speed to contain the perimeter but also I can stop the run. Definitely have to work on my pass rushing a little bit but I think I did a good job overall.

Ian Kenyon: What will you miss most about college football?
Christian Ballard: Just the atmosphere, playing with your teammates at school. As you know, the NFL there's a lot of competition, it's a business, I'm sure it's going to be a little different.

Ian Kenyon: What are some of your hobbies off of the football field?
Christian Ballard: I play video games and do a little bit of art, not too much though.

Ian Kenyon: Who is one player on Iowa that isn't well known but we should watch out for next year?
Christian Ballard: Oh man, Mike Daniels. I'll tell you what, Mike Daniels is going to be one of the best defensive linemen in the conference next year. He has a lot of power, he can run players down, he's a monster out there, so watch out.

(February 8, -- The official roster of players invited to this year's scouting combine, which takes place from February 23 - March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. has been announced. Refer to the tabs in the navigation bar for the combine participants by position. Overall, a total of 330 players have been invited to this year's combine, three more than last year. Sideline Scouting will be posting complete weigh-in and testing results daily.

*A.J. Green
WR, Georgia
*Nick Fairley
DT, Auburn
Von Miller
LB, Texas A&M;
*Da'Quan Bowers
DE, Clemson
*Cameron Newton
QB, Auburn
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