Kirk Ferentz says summer workouts for linemen are more than flipping tires and the Iron Hawk contest.
He believes an O-lineman can make a move. It might not be from third-team to starter, but it can build the scaffolding for something in the future.
He gave a pretty good example.
“In 1983, Mike Haight was basically just a guy on our team in the spring,” Ferentz said. “I’ll never forget, he came back in August and had taken some major steps. We had our first scrimmage and it was like, whoa, this is good. That’s one that sticks out in my mind.”
Haight didn’t go on to start that season, but he did go on to become a first-round pick in the 1986 NFL draft and played seven seasons in the NFL.
“That’s why players need to work hard, train hard. You just never know,” Ferentz said. “Everybody’s got a different progress rate. You just never know when that’s going to be.”
It wouldn’t hurt for a few current Iowa O-linemen to make that move this summer.
During spring practice, Ferentz said the race at O-line had six contenders, including centers Josh Koeppel and James Ferentz.
Left tackle Riley Reiff and left guard Julian Vandervelde are in. Juniors Adam Gettis and Markus Zusevics held down right guard and tackle, respectively, with Koeppel and Ferentz battling at center.
Rather than worrying about depth chart, coach Ferentz is focused on the basics.
“First thing we need is for everybody to stay healthy,” he said. “That’s important at that position because we’re not deep at this point. First thing, stay healthy. Second, they have to show continued improvement in August. To do that, they have to have a good summer. That’s the focus, to make sure everyone does what they need to do to be ready.”
By the way, the linemen version of 7-on-7 is footwork drills, movement drills and some handfighting. As far as the actual skills, no way to duplicate, Ferentz said.
“The biggest thing they can do is get ready physically and mentally, so when we get camp going, they can maximize those opportunities.”
QUICK OL DEPTH CHART
No changes since the end of spring.
LT — Reiff
LG — Vandervelde
C — Ferentz
RG — Gettis
RT — Zusevics
LT — Matt Tobin (6-6, 285 So. walk-on) OR Nolan MacMillan (6-6, 285 red-fr.)
LG — Woody Orne (6-5, 295 jr.)
C — Koeppel
RG — Cody Hundertmark (6-4, 285 jr.)
RT — Brett Van Sloten (6-7, 290 red-fr.)
Here’s a top 10: 1) Reiff, 2) Vandervelde, 3) Zusevics, 4) Gettis, 5) J. Ferentz, 6) Koeppel, 7) Hundertmark, Orne, 9) MacMillan, 10) Van Sloten/Tobin.