IOWA CITY — The conversation with Jordan Lomax begins with a question that only means something to you if you’re plugged into social media.
Want to do a Vine?
Lomax’s response is a smile and a laugh.
“You’re not the first one to ask me that,” the University of Iowa sophomore said.
A Vine is a smartphone application that is a six-second video. You can pause and edit the videos and then post them to Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media has your attention at the time. Lomax and running back Damon Bullock raised the art form that is Vine in the last year with posts that were high-art in comedy.
By the end of the spring semester, the UI campus caught on. Their Vine work started to trickle into the news. (By the way, Lomax said each Vine took only about 15 minutes to conceptualize and execute. Some of them seemed more elaborate, but that’s what he said. “We were just trying to be funny,” Bullock said.)
“When we started Vine, no one really knew about it and we had only about 50 followers,” Bullock said. “Then, we made a video and overnight we had about 5,000 followers. Coaches got word of it. Now, we’re up to 70,000. We stopped making them. If we kept making them, I don’t know where we’d be right now.”
There are more important things on the agenda, especially for Lomax.
The 5-10, 195-pound cornerback missed 2012 after having shoulder surgery. He was 100 percent for spring practice and was inserted as a starting cornerback opposite senior B.J. Lowery. The Vines were fun, but Lomax would like the world to know he plays a little football.
“Yes, definitely football,” said the Maryland native.
Lomax started fall camp on top of the depth chart. He’ll be closely pursued by sophomore Sean Draper, who played in ’12 as a true freshman.
“I have to keep performing on the field and keep doing my best to help the team out,” Lomax said. “I have to stay in the film room, keep growing with my teammates in the film study, keep the camaraderie going on the field. We all a team and making plays together.”
Let’s focus on Lomax the football player and not the best supporting actor (Bullock wrote himself as a the star most of the time) in Vines.
“One thing with Jordan is he’s very smart, very intelligent,” defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker said. “You have to know what you’re doing and you have to be able to diagnose. He had an injury and he had to sit on the sidelines [last season]. He took the mental reps and he started understanding the game a little better.
“He was injured and it was like a redshirt. He’s farther ahead now mentally. That’s where I see the improvement.”
In the April spring scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa quarterbacks avoided Lowery and aimed at Lomax. He had a rough afternoon, with a pair of pass interference penalties and a defensive hold. He also had a few pass breakups, but he clearly rode an experience curve. He’s gone to work since.
“I’ve been studying B.J. Lowery, his technique and what I can take from it and add to my game,” Lomax said. “I’m a physical, aggressive corner. I like to take on blocks and jam. I’m an aggressive corner-type.”
Part of the detail Lomax beamed in on was the offense, particularly formations and what those tell a defender.
“The game is slower for me now,” Lomax said. “I’m able to recognize formations and recognize plays.”
You can’t play defensive back for Parker and be strictly a cover corner. The way the Iowa defensive is structured, corners often find themselves playing “force” and setting the edge of the defense. Bottom line, you’re going to tackle, you’re going to get your helmet scuffed.
“I think he’s tough and physical,” Parker said. “He has struck people in scrimmages. Just looking at the position [cornerback], I want those guys to be tough and to understand what toughness is.”
The smarts translate to a major in economics. Lomax said he has five or six hardcore courses left in the major.
“We learn a lot about GDP (gross domestic product), the business cycle, the fluctuations of the business cycle,” Lomax said. “We study major companies and their investment decisions and how much capital they want to use, how much they want to pay their workers so they can get the most profit and most revenue. That’s what I’ve been studying.”
His mom, Pamela, also was an economics major. She works in government, in the CIA. Lomax said he would explore government work.
If Lomax goes from Kirk Ferentz to the CIA, that Vine account is going to stay retired.
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