– Jayme Murphy, special teams wrecking ball, will be elevated to senior status and be used on a limited basis this season. This is a response to the concussions that kept him out of the lineup for extended times last season. He told me on the beach in Tampa last December that he’s had four diagnosed concussions and that some tests were being done. He said he felt fine and wanted to play. Obviously something changed. He was to be a junior this season.
– WR Stephane N’Goumou didn’t make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse (it’s called something different now but it escapes me) and will instead enroll at a junior college this fall. The 6-4, 200-pounder probably had a chance to crack the lineup.
– O-lineman Julian Vandervelde will miss a game or two. He was tried at center in the spring, but he’ll miss all of camp and that will be put on hold. It’s something he does, however, want to try.
– D-linemen Chad Geary (knee/ACL) and Joe Gaglione (shoulder) will be out for an extended periods.
– QB Ricky Stanzi is up to 230 pounds after playing most of last season at around 210. He wasn’t able to lift as often as he wanted to last season because of the shoulder injury he suffered during summer conditioning.
– RB Jewel Hampton called himself “9o to 95″ percent healthy and ready to go. He suffered a knee injury in early July during summer conditioning. He expects to be 100 percent for the opener Sept. 5 against Northern Iowa.
– Speaking of RB, coach Kirk Ferentz said running back and D-line will be “committee” situations going into camp. D-line coach Rick Kaczenski did say four players (Karl Klug, Mike Daniels, Cody Hundertmark and Travis Meade) have a chance to make D-tackle a rotation. At end, it’ll be Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard and Broderick Binns. Binns will be a pass-rush specialist. Kaczenski said there are no plans to move Clayborn or Ballard inside. At RB, the committee will definitely include Hampton and redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson, who will enter camp this year with his severe asthma in check.
– Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is somewhat cool with being No. 2 on the depth chart. He enters camp listed No. 2 behind sophomore Marvin McNutt. He said he understands coaches and motivational tools. If he ends up No. 2, he said he knows it won’t be because of his effort and how he handles himself in practice.
– Center is way, way up in the air. Senior Rafael Eubanks is comfortable with the competition. OL coach Reese Morgan said four or five guys are in competition. I’ve got Eubanks, Josh Koeppel, James Ferentz and (not now) Vandervelde. I don’t know who else would be in that mix. Casey McMillan?
– OT Bryan Bulaga is mulling the insurance that the NCAA provides players who could very well be high draft picks in the NFL draft. Bulaga is as grounded as they come. You don’t get to be in the position he’s in (potential top 10 pick in the draft) by listening to people who tell you how good you are. He says his sights are set on being the best player he can be this year. All involved — Kirk Ferentz, Morgan and Bulaga — say he needs work on technique.
– DT Mike Daniels bench presses more than 400 pounds, according to fellow DT Karl Klug. Or in Klug’s words, “He can lift a house.”
– WR Keenan Davis was recruited by the UI since his sophomore year in high school. He’s glad it’s finally a reality and is eager to prove himself all over again.
– OC and QB coach Ken O’Keefe would like Stanzi to polish up on ball placement. He said he’s always been happy with the way Stanzi conducts himself, as a leader and in the huddle.
– Left cornerback goes like this right now: 1) Jordan Bernstine (he certainly passes the look test), 2) Shaun Prater/Willie Lowe.
– This statement by coach Ferentz got my attention: “This team kind of feels like the team we had a year ago. I know our seniors in terms of numbers are about the same. Returning, starting experience. I think we had a significant amount last year. We just hadn’t had a lot of success or the kind of success we wanted. I think if you look back, our last — you know, all season last year, we were competitive. We didn’t quite get it done the way we wanted to in certain ballgames. I think we’ve made progress. But all that being said, really we’re starting over again.”
– This one also got me, speaking about this season’s schedule, which, as you all know includes road games at Iowa State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State: “It’s conceiveable we could have a better team that last year and have a record that doesn’t indicate that.”
– K Daniel Murray and Jayme Murphy are on scholarship.
There’s more and it will be coming soon, including a bunch of video interviews. Tentatively, we’re livechatting on Monday.