clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Exclusive: BTB interview with Cowboys ILB Akin Ayodele

We’ve got nothing but love for Dallas Cowboys ILB Akin Ayodele, now that he agreed to answer 10 questions from BTB. I sent questions to Akin by email and his responses are below. Akin answered each of the questions, didn’t dodge a one, and did a great job of being candid.

Blogging The Boys: Now that you've been with the Cowboys for a year, how do you feel about playing for America's Team and all the national media attention and scrutiny that comes with it?  

Akin Ayodele: I grew up in Texas (Irving, TX), grew up as a Cowboys fan so it's a great honor for me to be back in Texas and playing for the Cowboys.  With that said, I already expected for the Boys to have a lot of scrutiny and media attention as good as we are, and as good as we can be, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being on this team and being in the limelight.  

BTB: You came to Dallas as a 4-3 outside linebacker and were promptly moved to inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. How was that adjustment? Did you feel you got more comfortable as the season went on?  

AA: Took me a while to adjust to the 3-4 but the more games I played the more comfortable I felt and the easier it became for me to make the necessary plays.  

BTB: There have been comments by players about being restricted in the Bill Parcells defense. Do you think that was a problem and how is it different for you now, based on what you've seen so far from Wade Phillips?
AA: With Parcells 3-4 scheme we were more static and not as mobile which is similar to old school 3-4 defenses, and being more reactive than proactive. Now with Wade Phillips we are being more proactive and running downhill and attacking. It is a more aggressive defense than what Bill Parcells had installed.

BTB: As fans, we've been lamenting the slide at the end of the season and discussing theories as to why the defense didn't play as well over the end of the season. What is your theory for what happened at the end of the year?

AA: I would say that this league is a copycat league in that once the New Orleans Saints exposed a lot of our weakness the other teams followed their lead. They used that game and the footage from that game to learn how to exploit our weaknesses and use it to their advantage.  

(Ed. note – Nice, Akin agrees with the theory that I backed, the Sean Payton Blueprint theory, that post can be found here. )

BTB: We've read about a Purdue clique forming on the defense with you, Jacques Reeves and Anthony Spencer. What can you tell us about Spencer and how his transformation from defensive end to outside linebacker is going?

AA: So far so good, he is a Purdue guy so of course he is smart and athletic. I can relate to Spencer because I also moved from defensive end to outside backer. So it is just a matter of time before he feels comfortable and can live up to the #1 draft pick status.  

BTB: Bradie James recently mentioned that with Wade Phillips' new one-gap scheme, the inside linebackers won't get pounded by offensive guards as often. Can you give us a little X's and O's about how that works?  

AA: In the 3-4 scheme, the inside backers and the defensive line usually have a two-gap system where you have an A and a B gap. In Wade's attack defense the majority of the downs you have a one-gap that you have to be responsible for. If the ball doesn't attack your gap you can go and make a play and not have to worry about having to sit back and wait for the offensive lineman to come up and attack you.

BTB: Your little brother Remi just finished up his NFL Europe season. Give us the scouting report on your brother and where he fits in the 3-4, nose tackle or defensive end?

AA: Pretty much the scouting on my brother is he is a better athlete than I am. He fits in this scheme as a nose tackle, big, strong, and quick enough to penetrate in the back field. He is looking forward to having the opportunity to show the new coaches what he can do.

BTB: We don't know a whole lot about new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. What can you share with us about his style and what he's trying to implement in Dallas this year?  

AA: With Stewart he is young, energetic, and really understands the defense and how to relate it and teach it to the players. In saying that, he brings a new aspect to the players by making it relatable and making it fun again. He wants everyone to have the mindset going into the game that we are a dominant defense week in and week out.

BTB: One of your new position coaches is an all-time Cowboy favorite among the fans, Dat Nguyen. How's he doing in his new role as a coach? Does he look like he wants to get back on the field with the pads on?

AA: Actually, Dat could probably still get back on the field if he really wanted to. Seriously though, he seems like he is enjoying his new position as a linebacker coach. He is very knowledgeable on the game, and for me and Bradie it helps us out a lot because he is only one year removed from his playing days so we can sit and talk football and he can really relate to us and the game so that helps us a great deal.

BTB: Look into your crystal ball, what do you see for the Cowboys in 2007?

AA: I see an exciting and fun season in which the Cowboys are looking forward to reaching all of our goals. We are definitely shooting to go further in the playoffs this year and bring back those glory days!!!  


Thanks Akin for taking the time to answer these questions. We can’t wait for the season begin and see what happens with the new Phillips 34 defense. I’ll be out at training camp to watch all these changes, and will report back to you guys everyday on what I see.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys