FRISCO, Texas — Ray Lima doesn’t post eye-popping numbers for the Iowa State defense, but third-year head coach Matt Campbell sees the junior as a textbook “glue guy,” that unsung hero who makes those around him better.
“Ray plays a position (defensive tackle) where humility has got to be at the forefront. The reality is he’s not always going to be a player that’s going to have elite stats,” Campbell said Monday at Big 12 Conference Media Days. “Because of the position we ask him to play, he’s going to have to do his job. Defensive football (is) everybody doing their 1/11th, that’s what allows you to have great success. It’s got to start up the middle and it’s got to start with Ray.”
Last season, his first at ISU, Lima started all 13 games, finishing with 25 tackles, 4 1/2 for loss. On a defense featuring a 2018 first-team preseason all-Big 12 selection in cornerback Brian Peavy, Lima is happy to play a lower-profile role.
“I’ve always seen myself that way. That’s the great thing about football, it’s a team sport,” he said. “That’s my part, I’m more than willing to do that.”
Lima’s contributions to the ISU defense might go unnoticed to those away from the program, but his teammates realize he makes them better.
“That’s a great definition of Ray Lima, a guy that’s like glue, that you don’t really see but honestly will stick things together,” Peavy said. “He may go unnoticed, but as a defense we know what he’s doing out there.”
Hakeem Butler a 'freak'
One of the funnier quotes from the afternoon breakout session came when junior running back David Montgomery described junior wide receiver Hakeem Butler.
“I’ve never seen five animals in one human being,” Montgomery said.
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Montgomery sees Butler as a combination of a giraffe (length), gorilla (strength), cheetah (quickness), turtle, the one reference which seemed out of place, and an eagle.
“He soars in the air like an eagle. He can catch the ball, he’s going to go get it. He’s a freak,” he said.
Iowa State's black uniforms
Another afternoon highlight was asking the ISU contingent about the new black uniforms they’ll wear at some point this season.
“They’re uniforms. I’m a swag-less guy in general,” Cyclones quarterback Kyle Kempt said. “It’s cool though for recruits, for the fans.
“It’s a slow time of the year. Everyone’s up in arms about them, which is funny to me.”
Peavy, however, offered more of a ringing endorsement.
“I like the black uniforms,” he said. “Matt Campbell has definitely brought a little swagger to Ames. It’s starting to show.”