Alston emerges as leader for new Hawkeye linebackers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

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Alston emerges as leader for new Hawkeye linebackers

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Senikor Quinton Alston is listed as Iowa's top middle linebacker in spring practice. Senikor Quinton Alston is listed as Iowa's top middle linebacker in spring practice.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - The Hawkeyes won eight games and played in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day last season. But when spring practice started last week, coach Kirk Ferentz didn't hesitate when asked for the team's biggest challenge this season. It's replacing three senior linebackers who all had over 100 tackles.

With Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey, and James Morris all gone, Quinton Alston is the most experienced linebacker returning. The senior from New Jersey is a three-year letterwinner who is listed on the spring depth chart as number-one at middle linebacker.

Alston is a bit under-sized at 6'1" and 230 pounds and has just 24 career tackles in three seasons but he plays hard.

"Just go out and play, let it loose," said Iowa outside linebackers coach LeVar Woods. "When you're a young player sometimes, personally I used to get all bound up thinking about this and that, this step that step, this responsibility, oh man I blew it. Instead, what we're looking for is just let loose and go. See who can run, see who can play, who will hit. Who will put themselves in the right place and then coach them up off of that."

Iowa attacked much more last season under new defensive coordinator Phil Parker. The Hawkeyes ranked third in the Big Ten in total defense and were the least penalized team in the conference.

They're trying to keep that up-tempo style in spring practice.

"We're making a lot of mistakes but we're making mistakes playing very fast," said inside linebackers coach Jim Reid. "Before you can win you have to play fast and then you have to be detailed in your assignments and your reads."

The Hawks will hold a spring practice at West Des Moines Valley high school on Saturday, April 12th which is open to the public. The spring game is April 26th at Kinnick Stadium.
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