April 18, 2010

Ballard taking nothing for granted

In some ways, it is hard to believe that Christian Ballard is already a senior even though he has two years of starting experience. The Kansas native says one thing he learned from Mitch King and Matt Kroul a couple of years ago is you take nothing for granted as a senior. No matter the expectations, he knows the defense is not going to have anything handed to them. They are going to have to earn it through hard work and perform on the field.

Q: Is it hard to believe you are a senior already?

BALLARD: It is. I didn't redshirt my freshman year, so it's a little bit quicker, but it's still hard to believe I'm a senior. There are some big games left, so I've got to make them count.

Q: You kind of took on more of a leadership role last year, but do you step it up even more so now that Pat and A.J. graduated?

BALLARD: Yeah, I think as a front four, we're all leaders. They look for us to set the tempo every practice. If we have a bad practice, the team is going to have a bad practice. We're the oldest guys in the bunch, so we're definitely going to come out every day and try push people and make everybody better.

Q: How does it feel to be in the shoes that Mitch and Matt were a few years ago as the returning old guys on the team?

BALLARD: It feels good, but you've always got to know that it's never over and nothing is ever going to be handed to you. Mitch and Matt had a great way of conducting themselves on the practice field and the game field. They knew that just because they were seniors, nothing is going to be handed to them, so they've got to work for it every day. When you come out to practice, you come out here to get better and improve.

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