Cyclone Sports Report: How exciting is for you to be playing with the first team defense?
Jake McDonough: It’s just very exciting to be a part of this program right now. I’ve been through a lot in the past year and so for me to be making the strides that I have made during the spring is just a blessing.
Cyclone Sports Report: What are some of those strides that you are talking about?
Jake McDonough: The first thing is getting over all my illnesses. Then getting to work with Coach McKnight on getting by size and strength back has been huge. I’m up to 270 and the coaches say they would like to see me up to between 275 and 285 by the season. The third thing that I have made strides with is in the film room. I’m really understanding the plays and gaining a full understanding of what I am suppose to be doing at my position.
Cyclone Sports Report: What is the biggest adjustment that you have had to make switching from defensive end to defensive tackle?
Jake McDonough: Taking on the double teams is definitely the biggest change. The style of defense is also completely different. We played a read and react defense in high school and here we play a get off defense and so I’m just trying to make sure I get off as fast and quick as possible.
Cyclone Sports Report: Are you playing with a new level of confidence?
Jake McDonough: I have definitely gained a lot more and I feel like I’m picking up new moves and playing pretty well now. The competition at my position is so close and we all just push each other. It’s nice to have someone to push you. Austin (Alburtis) is someone who has definitely helped me learn a lot about the position.
Cyclone Sports Report: How has Coach Rhoads helped you as a player?
Jake McDonough: He’s like a second dad in that he is always there for you. He’s real approachable and will help you understand anything on the defense that you are struggling with. He really looks out for your best interests and he’s really a lot of fun to play for. He’s a great guy and a great coach.
Cyclone Sports Report: What do you need to improve on before the season starts in the fall?
Jake McDonough: I’m trying to work on my pad levels. With as tall as I am I need to try and stay low off the ball. I’m also working to make sure I’m taking the right steps on each snap. Sometimes I get bicycled up and so I’ve got to improve on that.