This is the coaches portion. Sorry it is so late. I’m probably not breaking any new ground here. Got caught up in the On Iowa Live show last night, which was a ton of fun out at Fieldhouse Southwest. Thanks to Mark Dukes for having us out there. The food smelled great, which had a guy who only at a Milky Way and a bag of chips to that point, drooling.
This is Kirk Ferentz inside and in a suit.
Going into his 14th season at Iowa, Ferentz says this will be one of his yougest teams. He brings up some names on the defensive line. Ferentz also talks about “piecing together” the running back position. And catching the ball is “part of the equation.” Coordinator questions, too.
Quick run down of young defensive line, which, I think, is the major storyline for 2012. If it works, wow. Ferentz also talks in general about the freshman class. There’s also more coordinator questions.
First-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis breaks down his gameday operation, as in calling plays from the press box. He already has a thought in his mind on scenarios for plays. He’d like to be at the LOS with 18 seconds left on the playclock. No timetable for running back, “You really can’t separate backs until you start tackling.”
Phil Parker says his first defense as coordinator is in the installation period. Also, as a secondary coach, he focused on the small picture, but now, as coordinator, his world view has grown. Also, Nico Law isn’t a solid starter, at least not year. Finally, he’s asked how much the defensive line will define what Iowa does on defense in ’12.
Reese Morgan is in his 13th year at Iowa, but it will be his first as D-line coach. He talks about how it’s different but the same here. Also, he talks about some of the names he’s looking at to contribute. There are a lot of names. He might’ve left a few out. Morgan knows there’s a spotlight on this group.
I asked if O-line coach Brian Ferentz, who coached TEs famously with the Patriots, had any input on TE and he directed me to grad assistant David Raih. I did that and we had an excellent conversation. I also talked Rob Gronkowski and C.J. Fiedorowicz comparisons. I knew this might get batted back into my face, and it did. And that’s fine. I should’ve said maybe a Gronkowski outline for Fiedorowicz, who really only does have 14 career receptions. We eventually got to O-line and Austin Blythe, who I think might be a really good player at Iowa. Anyway, great conversation with Brian. I learn a lot about the game talking to him and that’s something I absolutely love. Probably don’t compare a college kid with 14 career receptions to an All-Pro who redefined the position in the NFL last season.
Running backs coach Lester Erb said “one thing about it does [Iowa's ongoing running backs situation] is keeps me young.” “You can’t assume anything with any of them right now.” I asked a silly question about waiver wire. Silly. Thanks to coach Erb for humoring me. I don’t know what I was going for there. Also, I asked about Damon Bullock. They like him. I think they really like him in space and with his hands. “His knowledge level in coach Davis’ offense, it’s a little bit ahead of the other guys.” We also talked about the circumstances that brought Bullock to Iowa.
OC Greg Davis said Iowa will use “six or seven” wide receivers in a game this year. That’s a bit of a departure for WR coach Erik Campbell. I asked if the younger receivers benefited from the offensive change. Campbell said, not really, it’s still a second system. Then, how do you stack up Nos. 3 through 7? “Work, you have to put the work in. It’s an open competition and you might see some freshmen in there.” Davis mentioned that freshmen Tevaun Smith and Reese Fleming have stood out.
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