Mike Hardy showed during the spring game that he's headed in the right direction. How many defensive tackles can say they intercepted a pass?
It's a start for Hardy, a 6-5, 270-pounder from Appleton, Wis. In all likelihood, he's looking at a depth chart season, behind Mike Daniels and, maybe, Steve Bigach. When he came to Iowa City, Kirk Ferentz used the term "growth potential" in regard to Hardy and that's still where he resides, growing the body for the battles inside the line of scrimmage.
Also, remember that sophomore Dominic Alvis rotated inside during the spring practice. Alvis has been an end since he arrived on campus. If he gets a look at tackle, that further jumbles the depth chart, which might keep Hardy off the field in 2011.
Three most interesting bio items a year in . . . 1) Was WFCA state Defensive Player of the Year and Fox Valley Association Defensive Lineman of the Year; 2) helped prep team post three-year mark of 40-2, including perfect 14-0 seasons as a sophomore and junior; 3) won individual state championship in discus as a junior.
Key quote . . . Defensive coordinator on the readiness of the young D-linemen: "Well, you would like to have seven or eight, if you had seven or eight. I think we have got to find out, you know, exactly where we are at and what the difference is in their abilities and when have we -- I don’t want to say diluted it, but by playing too many guys, when have we gone down ability-wise.
"But I think we’ve got young guys that, I mean, they are eager and they work hard."
Standing after spring . . . Bigach's shoulder should be cleared and ready before summer workouts begin here this week, so Hardy is looking at a depth position in '11. Maybe a best-case is breaking into a rotation, or performing well enough in fall camp to force his way into the rotation. The same goes for incoming freshman Darian Cooper, by the way.If Hardy and Carl Davis make strides, they have a chance to be the D-tackles of the future. I'm not saying King and Kroul. They started as redshirt frosh. Davis and Hardy could set themselves up for a good two- or three-year run together, but that's a ways off and there is a lot of competition.