Pertinents from the "Walk Off"

Ferentz draws comparisons to '08

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April 3, 2014 | 2:34 pm

Here's the off-camera portion of Kirk Ferentz from Tuesday. This will be built for speed. There will be some paraphrasing, but I want to get to the pertinent (at least what I think is pertinent) info.

Punt returner?

Micah Hyde wilk be No. 1 and then it's Keenan, Kevonte. Kickoff return, we'll wait and see. You've got Bullock and Canzeri. Keenan has been back there. Kevonte again. Hopefully, backup punt returner and kickoff return. There are some recruits with some return ability, so true freshmen will get a look. -- "Maybe get a little more octane back there."

Iowa, UW, MSU lumped together offensively, will that change?

Depends what our players do best and what they can do. I don't think that's a derogatory remark. I like the way both of those teams play. They've been productive and efficient. I don't know how much different we're going to look overall, but it will be different. If you're paying attention, things will be a little bit different. We'll try to size up our players over the next 15 days and then really figure out what's the best thing to do with this group.

Recruit differently?

I don't see that.

How much have you tweaked the offense from year to year before this offseason?

We're always tweaking. A new coordinator gave us a chance to start from scratch. I think a lot of what Greg has done in his past, it's a very diverse past, it's worked out pretty well. The biggest change is language, the way we call things. We melded a little bit, but for the most part, we're going with what he's done. He's the guy calling plays, so it's got to come out fast. The last group to catch on to all of this is the coaches. The players learn fast.

Spring is important always, but coaching changes and young team, most important spring you've had in a while?

They're all important, but I go back to '08.  We were really trying to build something with a very young team. It's similar. I think the change is good for us, too. It forces us to be more on edge. We're all learning, even on the defensive side of the ball. The terminology isn't changing a lot there, but we're adding a few new things. Guys are at different positions. I think on one hand, it will be good. The players are responding to it, or will respond to it. I think everyone is excited about this.

Phil slip something past your desk that was like, hmm, OK?

I don't know. We've had conversations since the onset of this whole thing, just to understand where we were going. Again, we'll still look like us, I think. But it will be a little different, probably a little different in percentages, probably.

Not too predictable on offense?

Not really. My biggest gripe is usually execution. We looked at the bowl game 10 days or two weeks ago. The biggest challenge to me is always execution. Can you execute better? Can you be more proficient? I don't have any problem with what we were doing. It's not like we're going to have a lot of new plays, we'll just see where we go with this whole thing.

'08 parallels

It's not so much new coaches, it's a young team, too, and a team that went through some changes. At that time, Stanzi and Angerer were second-team players all through spring and then in September end up emerging. Those kinds of stories we could possibly have. I mentioned King earlier in '05. He begins down on the depth chart at linebacker and ends up finishing spring ball as No. 2 tackle and ends up being one of the better guys who played here this past decade. There are guys on our roster right now I'm sure who are capable of doing some things that we're not seeing yet. Dallas Clark in 2000, sitting there as third-team linebacker. He ended up the next year as the best special teams player in the conference and the next year, we got smart and moved him to tight end. Those are the things we're looking for right now. It's a great opportunity for the players to step up and show us they can contribute.

You're a bit of a rover in practice. There are significant changes on the coaching staff, first year for LeVar, first year for Reese on defense, first year for Phil as DC, do you see yourself wandering over there a little more?

I don't know about a little more. In spring ball, we're Iowa vs. Iowa so much anyway. Every time I'm looking at film, it's us against us. You have a couple of different topics there. LeVar is a new coach, kind of. We got to watch him when Norm [Parker, former DC] was held out two years ago. He jumped in and helped out at the linebacker spot. And then this past year, obviously the defensive line. I've seen him coach and teach. I think he's totally capable and will do a great job. I feel the same with Reese moving over. He's a veteran coach who knows football. Just a half hour ago, he's up there going one-on-one with Kampman [former Iowa DE and Jacksonville Jaguar Aaron Kampman, who is in town to work out and help Morgan with technical tips to DL play] in his office back there. Every guy who's walked through the building is getting quizzed. He's been out researching with some really good people, just like Rick [Kaczenski, Iowa's former D-line coach] a few years ago. I'm not worried about that. Darrell [Wilson, defensive backs coach who moved from LBs with the shakeup], same way. Darrell is an excellent coach and he's been out seeing some good people. Darrell can coach. We'll be fine. I have a real confidence level with everyone on staff. It's kind of invigorating for everybody. It's not "the same old thing, on 2." It's a little different challenge. Guys are out researching and getting with people who are really good in their profession. Reese ran into [Kansas City Chiefs head coach] Romeo Crennel yesterday in the hallway and they had a half hour discussion on defensive line play. That was Romeo's forte coming up. He also was a college coach. They were talking about that out in the hall. -- Open NFL campus pays off -- It's not all bad.

Special teams, philosophy change there?

I don't know so much that. We have to do better. There's no question about that. I don't know if we're going to look a lot different as a team next year, but we're going to have to be better. That's the bottom line. The things we can correct and address are the things we're really going to have to work on. That's where we're at right now.

You think the average fan will notice differences when you guys roll out?

At times, maybe, at times. But not all the time. Does that make sense?

He was asked about Brian Ferentz and what to expect. Really nothing new there. Good quote on BF and LeVar.

"Anytime you get the opportunity to bring guys back who've been in the program, I think it means a lot to them. That's a good thing."

Asked if he made a promise to Brian to bring him back (in high school, I think?): "Nah, nah. Absolutely not. The only thing I felt strongly about once he left here and his playing career was over. He just needed to be away. He was trying to come back as a GA a few years ago. The only thing I was sure of, no matter what you're doing, you need to get away and learn and do all the grunt work, the hard work. That's how you learn and he was in a great graduate school that way. He was lucky to have that opportunity and he did a good job with it, but no, there were no guarantees, promises. Nothing like that."

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