IOWA CITY — Iowa’s secondary appears more in sync entering this fall than last year, and the players attributed their improvement to one man: defensive coordinator Phil Parker.
Parker coached the defensive backs for 13 seasons at Iowa, but he left the position to become the defensive coordinator last year. Parker added the secondary responsibilities this off-season, and his players touted his attention to detail as one reason they’re more confident midway through training camp.
“I just believe it’s coaching that’s got us to the point where we are right now,” Iowa cornerback B.J. Lowery said. “It’s all on Coach Parker. It’s really him.”
For more than two seasons, Lowery has been considered perhaps Iowa’s top cover cornerback. His praise for Parker does not mean the defensive coordinator is easy on him in practice.
“Have you seen him?” Lowery asked. “He’s calmed down a lot. The better we do, the less he yells. The worse we do, the louder he yells. We’ve kind of limited that this summer. It’s hasn’t been as much screaming, but he still screams every now and then.
“I can’t remember the last time he yelled at me. Maybe it was (Friday). I kind of came in on a blitz, and I forgot to keep contain and (running back) Damon (Bullock) held me but that’s not an excuse. I’ve got to get off. But still that’s something he yelled at me about.”
Iowa safety Tanner Miller laughed when asked if Parker had stopped yelling.
“Oh, no that’s impossible for Phil,” Miller said. “That’s just the kind of coach he is and the kind of guy that he is. If he didn’t yell, we’d know that something’s wrong. That’s what we want from him.”
But Miller — like Lowery — credits Parker for turning the defense into a more efficient unit.
“Our football IQ has went up so many levels from this point last year,” Miller said. “It’s just made a cumulative effect over the whole defense. We’re just playing a lot faster.”
One line spot open
Iowa has three guards vying for one open spot along the offensive line midway through training camp.
Senior Conor Boffeli — who is injured and won’t return until midweek — has locked down one of the spots, Coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed last night. Sophomore Jordan Walsh, junior Andrew Donnal and senior Nolan MacMillan rotated at both guard spots during the scrimmage.
“Boffeli, he had as good a spring as anybody in the spring,” Ferentz said. “I think he’ll be hard to beat out. He’s really, to me, turned the corner and played like we hoped he would. I expect him to be back here midweek. The other one is still an open book right now. We might rotate a couple of guys and see. Really not anybody who’s not in that first four guys, it’s open game.”
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