Hawkeye Nation http://www.hawkeyenation.com Iowa Hawkeyes Football | Basketball | Recruiting | Wrestling Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:34:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Talking Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa Hawkeye football, basketball and more with Jon Miller & friends. Hawkeye Nation no Hawkeye Nation jdmiller71@gmail.com jdmiller71@gmail.com (Hawkeye Nation) Hawkeye Nation Podcast hawkeyes iowa ferentz mccaffery Hawkeye Nation http://www.hawkeyenation.com/wp-content/uploads/hnart.png http://www.hawkeyenation.com Des Moines, Iowa Each week day Mashup: No Night, Hoops Recruiting http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/mashup-night-hoops-recruiting http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/mashup-night-hoops-recruiting#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:32:09 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14756 No night games for Iowa in 2014, plus some Hawkeye basketball recruiting

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The Iowa football team will not play any games under the lights for the second straight year. The Big Ten announced that yesterday.

Iowa and Indiana will the only teams from the league who won’t play in prime time. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Purdue will not have any conference night games. Meanwhile, newcomers Rutgers and Maryland will each play one Big Ten night game.

Some people seemed disappointed about this on twitter and the message boards, but by and large these are business decisions. Iowa isn’t a big population state and when it has played in prime time games in recent years, it’s mostly been against opponents who hail from states with large populations. Iowa and Penn State have played in at least three prime time games since 2009. Iowa and Michigan played in a night game in 2009 (on ABC) as Iowa had three night games that year (Penn State and Michigan State).

You’re not likely going to see many Iowa v Minnesota night games now that the Gophers have moved out of the Metrodome and don’t have those evening kicks any longer. Neither team moves much of a national needle by itself when it comes to TV sets…or even a regional needle. But when you toss in a large population state team, you’re likely go get more eyeballs.

Here are the games the BTN selected this year:

Saturday, Sept. 13
8 PM – Penn State at Rutgers

Saturday, September 27
6 PM – Cincinnati at Ohio State
9 PM – Illinois at Nebraska

Saturday, October 4
7 PM – Michigan at Rutgers

Saturday, October 18
7:30 PM – Nebraska at Northwestern

Saturday November 15
8 PM – Michigan State at Maryland

Now, Nebraska isn’t a large population state, either. But dang near the entire state is likely to tune in to watch the game and like it or not, they are also a traditional college football draw.

Don’t get me wrong; Iowa fans tune into games, too. The bigger surprise for me is this Iowa team will probably be in the hunt for the West Division title, so you thought there might be at least one game on there. But you also wonder how accommodating Iowa was with regards to a possible November night game?

Hoops Recruiting: Cole Huff has set dates for three visits. He will see Creighton on April 27th, Iowa on May 2nd and Dayton on May 9th. Huff is transferring from Nevada and this article had this to say about his skill set:

“Playing primarily the power forward position, it is believed one of the major reasons Huff is transferring is his desire to play small forward, his projected position in the pro ranks. The junior-to-be, who will have to sit out the 2014-2015 season under NCAA transfer rules, averaged 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for Nevada last season. He made 45.1 percent of his shots from the field, including a team-best 40.3 percent from the 3-point line.”

Also, Juco All American forward Willie Atwood will decide today between Iowa, Florida State and Arizona State.

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Best Case: Carl Davis http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-carl-davis http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-carl-davis#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:43:44 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14750 Iowa's Carl Davis stood out last year for being more than just 'big'. How high is his ceiling in 2014?

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Iowa’s Carl Davis stood out last year for being more than just ‘big’. How high is his ceiling in 2014?

2013: Second team all-Big Ten by league coaches…honorable mention all-Big Ten by league media…started all 13 games at defensive tackle…recorded 42 tackles, including 11 solo stops and 31 assists…also had four tackles for loss and 1.5 QB sacks, along with one pass break-up and one QB pressure…earned first start of career at defensive tackle in 30-27 opening loss to Northern Illinois, recording career-best four tackles, all assists…started at defensive tackle in 28-14 win over Missouri State…recorded one solo tackle and four assists for career high five tackles as defense held Missouri State to 197 yards total offense…started at defensive tackle in 27-21 win at Iowa State, recording two assisted tackles as defense allowed just 59 net rushing yards…started at defensive tackle in 59-3 win over Western Michigan, recording one QB pressure as defense allowed just 209 yards total offense…started at defensive tackle in 23-7 win at Minnesota, recording four assisted tackles as defense allowed just 165 yards total offense and 30 net rushing yards…started at defensive tackle in 26-14 loss to Michigan State, recording one solo tackle…started at defensive tackle in 34-24 loss at Ohio State, recording one solo tackle and three assists, including one QB sack… started at defensive tackle in 17-10 OT win over Northwestern, recording two solo tackles . . . started at defensive tackle in 28-9 loss to Wisconsin, recording one solo tackle and two assists, including a shared tackle for loss…started at defensive tackle in 38-14 win at Purdue, recording one solo tackle and one assist as defense allowed just 53 net rushing yards …started at defensive tackle in 24-21 win over Michigan as defense allowed just 60 net rushing yards and 158 yards total offense…recorded career-best eight tackles vs. Michigan, including two solo stops and six assists, and 2.5 tackles for loss, a shared QB sack and a pass break-up…started at defensive tackle in 38-17 win at Nebraska as defense allowed just 89 yards total offense…recorded four assisted tackles vs. Huskers…started at defensive tackle in 21-14 Outback Bowl loss to LSU, recording two solo tackles and one assist.

There were times last year where Carl Davis was dominant, but most all of the time he was a factor. That was the big difference for Davis last year from earlier in his career where he stood out for just being big; he was consistently good.

This year’s challenge is for Davis to be consistently great…and he has the ability to get there. Before last year, I might have questioned his drive to get there but it appears as though that switch has flipped inside him and now he sees a future, that of a high round NFL draft pick.

Davis is helping the Iowa defensive line make the long and sometimes painful climb back to relevance after two years in the desert. 2011 and 2012 were mostly forgettable seasons for Iowa fans and the lack of their traditionally solid to dominant front four is a big reason.

Iowa made huge strides in that area in 2013 and Davis was the figurative anchor of that bunch and had a fantastic season, garnering second team all league honors by the coaches.

What is the best case scenario for Carl Davis as he enters his senior season? My guess is he will be first team pre season all Big Ten by the likes of Phil Steele and others. I am sure that is a personal goal for Carl and it should be. All American honors of some type should also be on his horizon because he has that ability.

If Davis can become consistently great this year, it will go a long way in helping Iowa’s green linebacking corps make their adjustments, especially early on in the season as they get their feet wet against less challenging opposition. Davis will likely draw double teams from the offense and that is always a good thing, as Louis Trinca-Pasat is alongside of him and he is no slouch.

Davis and LTP could really have a special season in 2014 and if they do, the entire team might be headed down that path, given the very advantageous schedule Iowa has this coming year.

What is the best case for Carl Davis? All of it.

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Best Case: Jordan Canzeri http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-jordan-canzeri http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-jordan-canzeri#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:17:31 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14747 We continue our 'Best Case' series with a look at Jordan Canzeri. Will he get the shot early on in 2014?

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We continue the series called ‘Best Case’, where we’ll take a look at several Hawkeyes leading up to the start of the season.

We’ll do so by taking a look at where they have been and what they have done in their Iowa careers to date and try to project what we might see from them for the upcoming season.

JORDAN CANZERI

2013 – - Saw action in 12 games…rushed 74 times for 481 yards and two touchdowns, along with four receptions for 61 yards…also averaged 15 yards on three KO returns…saw action in 30-27 opening loss to Northern Illinois, with two rushing attempts for six yards…saw action in 28-14 win over Missouri State as offense gained 491 yards total offense…rushed three times for 13 yards and had one reception for five yards vs. Missouri State…saw action in 27-21 win at Iowa State, rushing for 10 yards on three attempts as offense gained 378 yards total offense…saw action in 59-3 win over Western Michigan as offense gained 446 yards total offense and rushed for over 200 yards in fourth straight game…rushed 13 times for team-leading 73 yards, including first career touchdown on 16-yard run…saw action in 23-7 win at Minnesota, rushing three times for 13 yards as offense gained 464 yards total offense and rushed for over 200 yards in fifth straight outing…saw action in 26-14 loss to Michigan State, but had no statistics…did not see action in 34-24 loss at Ohio State…saw action in 17-10 OT win over Northwestern, recording two KO returns for 29 yards…saw action in 28-9 loss to Wisconsin…led rushing attack vs. Badgers with five attempts for 58 yards, with a long of 43 yards, the longest of his career…saw action in 38-14 win at Purdue as offense rushed for 318 yards and gained 509 yards total offense…20 rushing attempts for career-best 165 yards in win at Purdue, including 2-yard touchdown and a long of 18 yards…saw action in 24-21 win over Michigan as offense gained 407 yards total offense…rushed 12 times for 50 yards and had two receptions for 27 yards vs. Michigan…saw action in 38-17 win at Nebraska . …rushed six times for 59 yards at Nebraska, along with a 29-yard pass reception to set up a touchdown and a 16-yard KO return…37-yard run led to a fourth quarter touchdown after being stopped at two-yard line…saw action in 21-14 Outback Bowl loss to LSU, rushing seven times for 34 yards.

RUSHING G ATT YARDS YDS/ATT LONG TD YDS/G
2011 7 31 114 3.7 15 0 16.3
2012 0 0 0 0 0
2013 12 74 481 6.5 43 2 40.1
TOTAL 19 105 595 5.7 43 2 31.3

I’ve been a big Canzeri fan since seeing his high school highlight reel…that doesn’t always translate into success at the BCS level, but the kid just looked like a star in the making. Since he’s been at Iowa, I have joked that the only person who could stop him was Kirk Ferentz.

Given Canzeri’s late season production and juxtaposed against the lack of opportunities early in the season, that might not be far from the truth…or at least, it may have some shreds of accuracy.

In Iowa’s final five games of the season, against Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska and LSU, Canzeri carried the ball 50 times and gained 366 yards (73.2.game). That also amounted to 7.32 yards per carry. He also had runs of 43, 20 and 37 yards during that span.

Mark Weisman had two games where he averaged at least 6.0 yards per carry; 6.1 against a horrific Western Michigan team and 6.0 against a Minnesota team that couldn’t figure out how to stop anything that day. The Iowa staff chose to pound Weisman into the ground in the early half of the schedule and he felt the effects later in the year.

The thing about Canzeri’s numbers is he got his opportunity deep into the season and he didn’t put up his stats against a bunch of patsies. In the final five games, Weisman had 78 carries for 243 yards, or 3.1 yards per carry and 48.6 yards per game.

This isn’t to bash Weisman (although I am sure I will get that label at some point), rather to underscore my belief if Canzeri’s being underutilized last year. That said, Canzeri had trouble hanging onto the ball early in the year which leads to a lack of trust. This from Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis leading up to Iowa’s bowl game:

“We probably should have gotten him in there a little earlier because he’s a very dependable back. We had some concerns with ball security early in the season. We feel better about that now.”

Canzeri put the ball on the turf a few times during the last five games, too. If he can put that behind him, I think he is a back who gives Iowa a nice change of pace. He has shown excellent vision thus far and of the backs Iowa had available last year, he was the most instinctual runner of the group.

To begin this year, I’d love to see Iowa start out with Canzeri on the first series and getting more carries early in the game. Then bring in a Weisman or Leshun Daniels or a jackhammer to roll up the defensive front later in the game once they have been worn down a bit.

I am not suggesting that Canzeri get the ball 20 times per game; I don’t know that he could handle that type of pounding over the course of the season. But I do think he is a 10 to 12 touches per game kind of player, maybe a bit more depending on the game and circumstances.

It would seem like he may get that shot early on this coming year but Iowa will have a very crowded backfield. I am not sure any Iowa back will top 1000 yards this year just because there will be several of them splitting carries.

I do believe Canzeri will top his production from last year and he can be utilized in the passing game like he was against Nebraska, where he made one of the key plays in that contest off of a catch and run. He also had a key play on a run where he bounced outside on a zone play and his speed allowed Iowa to get down to the one-yard line where if Iowa’s other backs were in that spot, it would have been gain, but not down to the redzone. Here is a link to that play.

That’s the type of big play ability that Iowa needs on the field as much as possible. Weisman is capable and there is role for him on this team, but he is a doubles hitter at best and the Iowa offense needs every play option it can muster, given how mundane its production typically has been in the Kirk Ferentz era. Plays like that can take the pressure off of you and not always have you in third and gut wrenching 15 times per game.

I think Canzeri will max out at about 600 yards rushing but he will have a chance to break some plays early in games and help get the Iowa offense up and going.

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Hawkeye Recap: Golfers Win Another Title http://www.hawkeyenation.com/headline/hawkeye-recap-golfers-win-another-title http://www.hawkeyenation.com/headline/hawkeye-recap-golfers-win-another-title#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:46:31 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14743 The Iowa golf and baseball teams notched victories this weekend...and the golf team may be on the verge of being ranked.

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JON’S TAKE: I love golf and have paid attention to the Iowa golf team since the early 1990′s, when a few of my childhood friends were on the team, namely Sean and Chad McCarty. I am very pleased with what Mark Hankins is doing with this program and he has Iowa off to one of its best starts to a season since those McCarty-led 1990′s Iowa teams. The 1992 Hawkeyes were the last two win a Big Ten title and this year’s Iowa team might be the one to snap that title drought. Iowa held off 8th ranked Illinois to win the Boilermaker Classic by one stroke. UCLA (ranked 15th) finished third and Kent State finished 8th and they received votes in last week’s poll. Iowa didn’t receive any votes, but that’s going to change soon.

Iowa’s baseball team won it’s second straight series, taking two of three from Minnesota. An error led to the loss on Friday but the Hawks won games on Saturday and Sunday. They surrendered a 10-run lead late against Northwestern a week back, otherwise Iowa would riding a real nice winning streak. Check out the releases from Sports Information below.

WEST LAFAYAETTE, Ind. – The University of Iowa men’s golf team won the Boilermaker Invitational for the second consecutive season on Sunday, capturing its second tournament title is as many weeks. The Hawkeyes carded a one-over-par 54-hole score of 865, with a 14-under-par final round score of 274, tied for the second-best team 18-hole score in program history.

Senior Steven Ihm, who began the day in a tie for 10th place, defended his 2013 title with a seven-under-par 209 (72, 73, 64), posting a career-best eight-under-par 64 in his final round. Ihm birdied seven of his first eight holes to begin the final day en route to posting the second-best individual 18-hole score in program history.

“It feels good to get another win and to have the team playing well this time of the year,” said Ihm, the reigning Big Ten Golfer of the Week. “We played well on a tough course with a tough field. Today, things just clicked, and I was able to get on a roll and ride the momentum throughout my final round.”

The victory, which is the fourth of Ihm’s career, comes one week after he won the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational in Iowa City.

Freshman Raymond Knoll ended the tournament in a tie for sixth, the best finish of his career. Knoll carded a one-under-par 215 (78, 71, 66). Knoll’s final round score, a six-under-par 66, was the best of his career. Knoll played his last 18 holes bogey-free, notching six birdies in the process.

“I played steady and didn’t make many mistakes today,” said Knoll. “I was able to stay away from bogeys in my final round. Whenever I did make mistakes, I made them in the right places and was able to recover.”

Junior Ian Vandersee finished in a tie for 11th after posting a two-over-par total score of 218 (76, 72, 70). Vandersee birdied 11 holes over three rounds.

Junior Brian Bullington carded an eight-over-par 224 (74, 76, 74) in three rounds, finishing in a tie for 39th. Bullington earned par on 34 of 54 holes.

Freshman Carson Schaake finished 51st after firing a 11-over-par 227 (78, 75, 74).

Head coach Mark Hankins earned his 11th tournament title while at the helm of the Hawkeyes.

“Our guys were able to stay in the present and focus in on their individual goals today. The course was in good shape, and we took advantage,” said Hankins. “Steven came out today and wasn’t afraid to go low. He’s had a lot of good rounds, but today’s was one of the better rounds he’s ever played.”

Iowa has recorded top finishes in all five of its events this spring, winning two tournament titles (Hawkeye-GRE, Boilermaker Invitational). The Hawkeyes placed fourth at the Big Ten Match Play Championships, won the Big Four Championship, and finished runner-up at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational.

The Hawkeyes return to action on May 2-4 at the Big Ten Championships in French Lick, Ind.

TEAM LEADERBOARD

1. IOWA – 865 (+1)
2. Illinois – 866 (+2)
3. UCLA – 871 (+7)
4. Louisville – 875 (+11)
5.Ohio State – 879 (+15)
6. Northwestern – 883 (+19)
7. Purdue – 888 (+24)
8. Kent State – 889 (+25)
T9. Michigan State – 895 (+31)
T9. Indiana – 299 (+31)
11. Wichita State – 897 (+33)
T12. Miami (OH) – 904 (+40)
T12. Northern Illinois – 904 (+40)
14. Toledo – 909 (+45)
15. Drake – 918 (+54)

———-

Junior Dan Potempa’s three-run blast highlighted a six-run seventh inning, lifting the University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-6 victory and series win over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes won the final two games to claim their first series win over the Gophers since 2005.

“This was a big win for us, two comeback wins in a row,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys’ effort. Both (yesterday and today) were games where if you let down just because things weren’t going your way, you’d lose those game, but our guys kept fighting and playing hard.

“It was a great weekend, and I want to thank all the people that came out because we had great crowds all weekend long.”

It is Iowa’s second-straight Big Ten series victory after taking 2-of-3 at Northwestern on April 11-12. The victory moves the team’s record to 22-15 overall and 7-8 in league play. The 22 wins match last season’s total.

After being snake-bitten with rocket line-outs to Minnesota third baseman Tony Skjetfte to leave runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the Hawkeyes bats exploded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh.

“We had three line drives that were smoked right at their third baseman with runners in scoring position,” said Heller. “It looked like it was never going to happen, but our guys kept playing. They kept finding a way to get on base until we finally got the big hit.”

Juniors Nick Day and Eric Toole led off the frame with consecutive singles before junior Jake Yacinich singled through the right side to cut the deficit to 3-1. After the Gophers went to Dalton Sawyer in relief, junior Dan Potempa hit a no-doubt, three-run home run over the mound beyond the fence in left field to give the Hawkeyes a 4-3 lead.

Iowa wasn’t done.

Following a Taylor Zeutenhorst opposite field double down the left field line and a Jimmy Frankos walk, junior Kris Goodman narrowly missed Iowa’s second home run of the inning, roping an RBI double 3/4 of the way off the left field fence. Sophomore Nick Roscetti drove in the sixth run, plating Frankos from third on a safety squeeze to stretch the Iowa lead to 6-3.

Iowa added what proved to be a critical insurance run in the eighth when Potempa roped an RBI double into the left centerfield gap, plating Toole, who led off the inning with a bunt single.

Minnesota (19-16, 6-9) rallied in the top of the ninth, pushing three runs across the plate to make the game interesting. With one out, Dan Motl and Jake Bergren had back-to-back singles before Nick Hibbing got Skjefte to fly out to center field for the second out. Following an RBI single by Connor Schaefbauer, Iowa went to closer Tyler Radtke, but the rally continued.

Dan Olinger and Mark Tatera had consecutive singles — a dribbler the right side and a bloop single to right field — to cut the lead to 7-6. Radtke got out of the jam, getting Austin Athmann to hit a hard grounder to Yacinich at short, where he got the force out as second base to end the contest.

Hibbing (2-1) picked up the victory, allowing three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings. He had two strikeouts against zero walks in the outing. Radtke recorded the final out to get his second save of the season. UI starter Tyler Peyton allowed three runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings before leaving with an injury in the seventh.

Iowa finished with 11 hits in the contest with four players — Toole (2-for-5, 2 runs), Mangler (2-for-5), Potempa (2-for-5, 4 RBIs, 1 run) and Zeutenhorst (2-for-4, 1 run) — posting multi-hit games. Potempa’s home run was his second of the season, and he tied a career-high with four RBIs.

Sawyer (3-3) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings. Gopher starter Neal Kunik was solid in his first start of the year, tossing six scoreless inning and scattering three hits.

Peyton wasn’t sharp early, allowing the Gophers to jump out to a two-run lead and tally six hits over the first three innings. Schaefbauer’s RBI single in the first gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead before Tatera connected on a solo home run to right field in the third.

Minnesota tacked on its third run in the top of the seventh inning after Motl tripled to lead off the frame before scoring on a Skjefte’s single with the infield in through the left side.

Iowa (22-15, 7-8) returns to action Wednesday at Creighton. The game will be played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., beginning at 6:36 p.m., and it will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network.

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Eric Johnson Leaving the Iowa Staff http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/eric-johnson-leaving-iowa-staff http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/eric-johnson-leaving-iowa-staff#comments Sun, 20 Apr 2014 13:12:38 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14740 Iowa assistant coach Eric Johnson is moving on to pursue other career opportunities outside of football

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Longtime Iowa assistant Eric Johnson is moving on to a new phase in life, one that will take him away from football. You can read more at the release below. We wish him well on his next phase of life:

Eric Johnson, a member of the University of Iowa football coaching staff for 15 years, is leaving the Hawkeye coaching staff to pursue a career opportunity outside of football. The announcement was made Saturday by Johnson and UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz.

“I know Eric and his family have given this decision great attention and thought, and we all wish them the best as they move forward,” said Ferentz. “Eric has been a valued staff member since he joined our original staff in 1999 and has made many contributions to our program and team as a coach, recruiter and mentor. I am very appreciative of Eric’s efforts and his commitment to Iowa and wish him all the best in the future.”

“My family and I can’t thank everyone enough for our 15 years at Iowa,” said Johnson. “It has been a great time in our lives. From a family standpoint, we had a chance to raise our children in a tremendous community. From a professional standpoint, I have worked for the best person in college football. Coach Ferentz is the best teacher, leader, and person I have ever been around; he truly embodies the Iowa way. I have also been mentored by three great coordinators in Norm Parker, Phil Parker and Ken O’Keefe, and had the opportunity to work with one of the best people anyone can ask for in Reese Morgan.”

Eric and his wife, Patsy, have twin daughters, Jamie and Sydney.

Johnson joined the Iowa staff in 1999 and has served as Iowa’s recruiting coordinator for 10 years. In addition to his duties as recruiting coordinator, Johnson has assisted with the defensive line the past two seasons. Johnson coached Hawkeye tight ends in 2010 and 2011 after assisting with Hawkeye linebackers in 2008 and 2009. Johnson coached Iowa’s tight ends for five seasons (2003-07) and served as Iowa’s quality control assistant for three years. He was a defensive graduate assistant during his first year on the Iowa staff.

Johnson has been heavily involved in Iowa’s recruiting efforts since joining the Hawkeye staff. Iowa’s 2006 recruiting class was ranked extremely high by all the recruiting experts. Iowa’s 2005 recruiting class was ranked among the top 10 in the nation by all of the top recruiting services, while Iowa’s classes in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2009 were all ranked in the nation’s top 25. Sporting News ranked Iowa’s 2011 recruiting class second best among Big Ten programs and the 2012 class was ranked third among league programs.

Johnson ranked as one of the top ten recruiting coordinators in the country by Tom Lemming in 2001 and was named one of the Top Ten Recruiters in the Big Ten Conference by Rivals.com in 2007.

“I want to thank all the student-athletes who I have known throughout my time at Iowa,” added Johnson. “Their hard work, dedication and character are what have made coming to work every day enjoyable. They will always be part of our family and we will always be Hawkeyes.”

Iowa will conclude spring drills with the spring scrimmage next Saturday, April 26, at 2 p.m. in Kinnick Stadium. Pre-event activities begin in Krause Family Plaza at 11:30 a.m., with gates to Kinnick Stadium opening at 1 p.m.

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Hawkeyes Eyeing More Recruits http://www.hawkeyenation.com/basketball/hawkeyes-eyeing-recruits http://www.hawkeyenation.com/basketball/hawkeyes-eyeing-recruits#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:00:46 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14737 The Iowa Hawkeyes are not done recruiting in their basketball class of 2013-2014 and a new name has entered the picture.

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One day after Iowa announced the signing of Juco All American point guard Trey Dickerson, the Hawkeyes have extended a scholarship offer to Nevada forward  Cole Huff.

You can see Huff’s stats from 2013-2014 at this link and they are pretty impressive: 12.4ppg, 5.4rpg and .7 blocks per game.  That’s solid production for the 6-8/205 forward, but he also hit 56 three-point shots and made over 41-percent of his shots behind the arc.

Below is a video from his senior year of high school and you can tell he has the guard skills…he’s also proven himself against competition and has a good deal of upside. Rob Howe from HawkeyeInsider.com has reported Iowa put an offer out to Huff after asking for and receiving permission to recruit Huff and the school will not place restrictions on Iowa’s recruitment.

The Hawkeyes are still in the running for Juco All American forward Willie Atwood, who will be visiting Arizona State this weekend. Huff would have to sit out next year while Atwood can play right away. Huff would become eligible on the heels of Iowa losing Aaron White, if he came to Iowa City.

Iowa signed Trey Dickerson on Wednesday and he will have three years of eligibility while Huff would have two…so they would be on track to graduate together. Dickerson tweeted this on Thursday:

Here are Huff’s highlights from two years back.

Iowa Release on Trey Dickerson Signing

University of Iowa Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery announced today that TreyDickerson has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Iowa. Dickerson, who has three years of eligibility remaining, is the third recruit in Iowa’s 2014 class.

Dickerson is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard from Queens, N.Y. Dickerson finished his prep schooling at God’s Academy (Texas) and played his freshman year of collegiate basketball at Williston State College in North Dakota. Dickerson led the Tetons to a 27-6 overall record and 9-1 in conference play.

Last season, Dickerson averaged 19.8 points, 5.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 29 games played. Dickerson is rated as the No. 1 point guard and 10th overall prospect in junior college according to 247Sports. His efforts earned him third team all-America honors by the NJCAA and MVP of the Mon-Dak Athletic Conference.

“We’re thrilled that Trey is joining the program,” said McCaffery. “He’s an incredibly talented, quick, and creative point guard who can also score. He’s excellent in transition and can also play in the half court. Trey has great feel for how to play. He’s a perfect fit for our style.”

Prior to attending God’s Academy, he was a California all-state honoree his sophomore and junior seasons. He was also invited to the Nike Top 100 Camp his sophomore season.

Dickerson will join already signed recruits Brady Ellingson and Dominque Uhl on the 2014-15 Iowa roster.

2014 Iowa Men’s Basketball Recruiting Class

Brady Ellingson                  G             6-4          181         Sussex, Wis. (Sussex HS)
Dominique Uhl                  F              6-9          195         Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Point Pleasant Beach)
Trey Dickerson                  G             6-1          180         Queens, N.Y. (God’s Academy/Williston State College)

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Reese Morgan Talks Hawkeyes http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/reese-morgan-talks-hawkeyes http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/reese-morgan-talks-hawkeyes#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:25:47 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14734 Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan talks about his group, one that will be a true anchor of the 2014 Iowa Hawkeyes

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THE MODERATOR:  Coach, maybe an overview on how your guys are doing.
COACH MORGAN:  Before I talk about the guys, just a couple of general statements.  First of all, it’s really great to be here today.  There’s two of us who work with the defensive line, Eric Johnson, and I’m just really proud to work with him.  He does a tremendous job, and, again, I’ll reiterate this.
Eric played in this defense at Vanderbilt under Norm Parker.  He was a GA.  He did the playbooks.  He knows this defense in and out.  And he’s been just a great guy.  He’s a great teacher, very humble guy, and I really enjoy working with him and value our time.  I think we’re a great team.
The second thing is that last season was extremely rewarding as a coach because of the players and the people you work with, and I think we’ve got a great group of guys.  We love going in the room and working with and having the opportunity to do that, and I can say the same thing about our coaching staff.
In the defensive room, we’ve got some interesting characters, and everybody’s got positive input, and we really feel good about that.  I’ve already talked about Eric.  I’ll talk about LeVar Woods, and you know LeVar.  You’ve talked to him already before.  LeVar has played here.  He’s played in the NFL.  He’s coaching here.  And you won’t find a better person, a guy that cares more deeply about people and has such an unbelievable background.  Great teacher, excellent coach.
Jim Reid, you talk about a guy that’s enthusiastic, knowledgeable, great wisdom.  The way he got our linebackers to play last year, my wife was impressed.  He did a tremendous job with those guys, and he’s just a cornucopia of ideas.
Then you go to Phil, and Phil‑‑ you know, he got back coaching a position last year, and it really was a benefit for us.  He is an outstanding position coach.  But the things you don’t see probably is the leadership he provides for us in that room and the way he is in our meetings with our guys.  I wish you could videotape that sometime because he does a masterful job of keeping things simple.
He’s been around Norm, and he has identified that trait and characteristic to take a very complex task and make it simple.
And then it really all starts with our head football coach, Coach Ferentz.  The thing that he’s done in 25 years here.  What he’s done, his commitment to this university.  His three sons have played and are playing here, are coaching here.  His three kids are raised here.
Just the type of human being and the example he sets‑‑ humble, intelligent, tough minded, pretty doggone honest, and he does things right.  It’s great to be here.  Just had to say that at the beginning.  Sorry to take up your time.

Q.  Coach, are you comfortable where the defensive line is now? 
COACH MORGAN:  No.

Q.  Going back to two years ago when you didn’t have much depth, do you feel like you’ve kind of built it back to where you’ve got some depth and getting it back to where you like it? 
COACH MORGAN:  I would say this.  We have a lot of work to do.  We’re still a work in progress.
That first spring football, we were Custer, and the offense were the Indians at Little Big Horn out there the first 9‑9‑7 of practice.  We had a lot of work to do and so forth.  We had a great group of guys that bought in and so forth.
I think we’re at the point now where our guys understand the expectations.  We’re trying to teach fundamentals over and over and over again.  You would be absolutely bored to death trying to watch us teach stuff.  We actually think it’s exciting.  We think it’s fun.  And we know it’s the most important thing is to just go ahead and try to create muscle memory and do the same things over and over and over again until you get them.
I think we’ve gotten to the point where we are a more experienced unit, probably the most experienced unit on the team with three guys that started almost every game and one guy that started half the season.
We are not there.  No, we’re not comfortable with it, and I certainly hope nobody in our defensive line feels comfortable because I know the coaches don’t, and especially after watching us the other day.

Q.  What are your expectations for defensive ends?  I know everybody attaches pass rush to them, and I think backs are so hard to get anymore.  That’s a whole different deal.  What are your expectations? 
COACH MORGAN:  I’m glad you said that.  The defensive ends, there’s two different things here.  We are playing with guys that in a lot of programs would be defensive tackles.  Mike Hardy was a defensive tackle a year ago.  We moved him out because of our needs and so forth.
We’re playing with guys that, number one, take care of their job.  They have a run responsibility.  They have a key they’re going to read.  They have a certain way they’re going to take on blocks and get off of blocks.  That’s the number one thing.
On third downs or passing downs, we, as many or most teams do in the NFL, most teams are doing in college football right now, you have a special package you’re going to put in the game where you’re trying to get speed on the field and so forth, and our package was very productive for us last year, and we feel pretty good about it.
So I think we have the group of guys that are going to be out there primarily down situation, and then you’re going to have a special unit or group of guys which may comprise of other people outside the D‑line that go in on passing situation, and I this I that’s really helped us.
So as a defensive end, we want‑‑ who’s the number one guy?  South Carolina.  Okay, we want to recruit three Clowneys every year is what we want to do, and defensive linemen are really one of the hardest things to find.
We just sat in this very room three hours ago and went through our top defensive ends.  They’re great athletes, but they also have offers from a lot of different places.  So we do have to be realistic about who we can get and how we can develop him and what we can do within our framework to play our team defense because ultimately it’s all about the team.

Q.  Coach, last year you had a healthy Carl Davis.  How did that impact the defense, or how did that make better in a sense?  Is that going to be the same case again this year having Carl healthy? 
COACH MORGAN:  That’s a great thing, and last year was the first time he was healthy consistently.  I think what happened, as much as the health, was that Carl really grew up and matured.
Carl spent a lot of time in this building a year ago studying and understanding and learning the defense, developing a lot of knowledge about it and a lot of confidence.  But once he got on the field, he backed it up with action.
I recall very vividly one of our earlier scrimmages where we did a period called tempo, where we’re going against the no huddle group.  Carl’s going to be in there ten plays.  Coach, after four, I’ll tap my head or raise my hand, and you can get somebody in for me.  After four plays, he’s okay.  After six plays, he’s okay.  Eight plays.  He kind of looked to the sideline, and I just smiled at him and waved and kept going and going.
That day, that was the defining moment for me that, hey, I can go out, and I can play 60, 70 snaps a game.  Now, we’re probably playing him more than we need to.  We’d like to back that down maybe a few snaps, but Carl has really developed that and has taken a lot of pride in what he does there.  And being healthy is absolutely paramount.  That’s a great question.

Q.  Carl was talking right before the Outback Bowl about how long it took him to get on the field.  He was talking about Jaleel Johnson was saying, Boy, I want to play, I want to play, and he was telling him, you’ve got to wait your turn and earn it.  I know you want guys that want to play, but as a coach, how do you temper it between wanting to play and showing what they have to do to play? 
COACH MORGAN:  I think the tape is probably the best way to do that.  Hopefully, in the classroom we’re doing a real good job of identifying this is what we’re looking for.  These are the techniques, the production.  This is a good play.  This isn’t a good play.  This is how we want to do this as compared to that.  And then do your responsibility.
Over time, a young guy like Jaleel, who really has ability and desire to get on there, just understands that, hey, I’ve got to demonstrate in practice on a consistent basis that I can do this job.  Once I get to the point where I understand that, I can execute it, and I can be productive within the team framework of the system, that’s really good.
We want guys that are hungry.  If that young guy is better than a guy that started for three years, he’ll play if he knows what to do.  We’re going to play who we feel, based on practice, are the best guys.

Q.  You’ve had situations where two years ago it seemed like everything started to click for Louis, and then last year it was Carl.  Is there anybody right now that you’re seeing in spring practice where you see things are finally starting to be there for them? 
COACH MORGAN:  That’s a great question.  I think there’s a lot of guys‑‑ I think realistically, there’s 19 guys in our room.  One is not participating because he just had surgery.  But the rest of them are just really‑‑ everybody’s showing some progress, and everybody’s doing some things that are improving.
That as a coach is what you take pride in is the fact that, okay, we saw on tape.  We just watched tape yesterday for 90 minutes.  What we worked on, are we seeing a guy try to do that correct technique today, when we practice today?  If we’re seeing that, then we’re on the right tack.  If we’re seeing the same old stuff or a guy that’s maybe afraid to get out of his comfort zone and try something different, then we’ve got to find ways to get him to take that step.
But to identify somebody, I would‑‑ I think Carl’s improved.  Louis is not with us a lot because Louis is in grad school, and he’s got conflicts that interfere with practice.  So it’s hard to really put an evaluation on that.
I think both of our‑‑ I’ll tell you what, night Meyer is really coming on.  I would say that Nate Meier is a guy that’s shown‑‑ look, we know he can rush, but he’s a tough son of a gun.  He’s really doing things where he’s a 235, 240‑pound guy taking on a 300‑pound tackle, and I think he’s demonstrated to us that he can be an every down guy, and I think other guys have stepped up.  He might be a guy that’s kind of in that category.
And I think our young tackles are improving.  I think Riley McMinn is coming around, and he’s finally healthy.  I really‑‑ and just in fairness to all our guys, I should mention each guy because I think every guy has really made some progress.

Q.  Have you found it easier or more difficult to recruit offensive linemen or defensive linemen since you’ve been doing this? 
COACH MORGAN:  I don’t know that.  I think you’re‑‑ I know that kind of offensive linemen‑‑ I think I have a pretty good idea what Coach Ferentz wants here, the kind of players that are going to be successful in it our system.
I think that being said, we also have a pretty good handle on what we can‑‑ the type of guys that we can get as a defensive lineman.  However, in the recruiting areas that I recruit, there probably are more guys that would tend to be offensive linemen from that standpoint compared to defensive linemen.
Clowney isn’t in Springville, Iowa.  He’s not there.  But we can find a guy like a Matt Nelson right up the road that we think can be a great player.  A guy that maybe he’s a hybrid.  Maybe he did some really good things in camp that impressed us, his tape was good.  But I think it is a little tougher.  I know a lot of programs have to go national to recruit defensive linemen.
I think you can find inside guys.  We’d love to find all of our guys within a five‑hour radius.  That’s probably the best thing so their parents can come watch them play.  Sometimes you have to travel a little bit further to find those special guys.

Q.  Brian Ferentz was talking about your prideful simplicity.  What does that mean? 
COACH MORGAN:  It’s something I wrote up on the board.  I read it in a book.  I don’t know if that’s a mantra, to be honest with you.  I think as teachers, our job is to keep things as simple as possible, and if we can do that and we take great pride in what we’re doing and we understand that we’re just a small piece of the whole team and everybody’s got a job to do, and, yeah, we want to make a tackle and we want to make‑‑ but if we take care of our technique, that’s going to free up our linebackers, that’s going to help our cornerbacks, and so forth, and when we get that opportunity, we take advantage of it.
But it’s not‑‑ I have everything you can imagine written on my wall.  We have kind of wall talkers.  You can write on them like your grandkids did with crayons, only we do that as professionals.  That’s kind of overrated, to be honest with you.

Q.  Are you searching for a number three defensive end?  It seems like that’s probably the hottest spot you have going. 
COACH MORGAN:  I addressed that just a minute ago where I think Nate has earned the trust and confidence.  We’ve got three guys right now, 95, 98, 34, that can play there.  I think there’s other guys that are contestants.  We have six practices to go.  I think 94 and 49 are guys that are doing some stuff.  75 is going in and out and so forth.
You really want to play‑‑ last year we played six guys predominantly, three inside, three outside, and then 34, Nate, was our special teams package.  So we played seven guys.
Right now there’s probably 11 guys where you say I think in some way, shape, or form, these guys have an opportunity to get on the field and be successful, but they have to demonstrate it in practice situations, scrimmage situations.

Q.  Last year the three senior linebackers really were leaders of this team, and you mentioned the experience the D‑line has.  Do they have the potential to step up and be that vocal leader this year as well? 
COACH MORGAN:  I don’t know about a vocal leader, but I do know this.  We lost three great linebackers.  In addition to being great players, they’re great young men, and they were great leaders in their own right.
We’ve got some guys up front that are different kind of leaders.  I think Louis is the kind of guy that, if I turned on tape and you watched it here with us for five minutes, Louis would stand out.  But it’s just with his effort and such.
I think Carl Davis is really becoming a leader for us.  He’s trying to be a vocal leader.  He’s one of the Hawkeye Challenge captains as elected by his teammate.  So he’s really, really working hard, and I think it’s reflective in some of the ways he’s playing.  And he is, by his own self‑admission, he has work to do to improve and so forth.
But I think those are two guys right now that are showing some leadership.  They’ve been identified‑‑ I think anybody that’s been on the field has earned the respect of the other guys in the room because of that.  Drew Ott, 95, he’s out there.  He doesn’t say much, but he’s extremely tough.  This kid thinks he’s a lot better than he really is, which is really a great testament to his high school program and his parents and what he’s hearing here.
But he’s a pickup truck, you know.  He’s a pickup truck.  Reliable, he starts every day, he’s tough, he works hard, you can load him up, he’s not afraid of anything.  You can take him on the interstate.  You can take him on a dirt road.  That’s the kind of guy he is.  And I think Mike hardy is in that boat as well.
And a guy that doesn’t play, a guy that’s a senior that I just met with this morning, Wil Rathjen, senior, he’s a leader on this football team.  He’s down on the other end of the field with the scout team, and he takes great pride in his role on the team.
And hopefully the leadership‑‑ and that’s just something we talked about yesterday in our points of emphasis, everybody in the room has a responsibility for leadership, and the best thing that they can do as a leader is to do your absolute best every snap, every rep, study, treat people the right way, do things the right way.
It’s more than just blocking and tackling.  It really is.  It’s about preparing people for life.  And that may sound corny, but I believe it.

Q.  We got to see Nathan Bazata and Brant Gressel Saturday.  They look like they’re fun players for you.  They’re developing, and I think they take the coaching well.  It seems that they’re on the right path.
COACH MORGAN:  I think they’re in the right direction.  Bazata is an interesting guy.  He’s working with the second group right now.  He studies extremely well.  He’s really tough.  He’s a very quiet, humble kid.  He’s headed in the right direction.  He’s really showing us some things.
And Gress, he’s out there.  He’s improving.  He’s really shined here the past couple of weeks.  But both of them are projects, please.  They really are.  But in terms of fun to coach, they’re great to coach.  I can’t think of a guy in our room that’s not fun to coach.  There really isn’t.
You may not see that or you may hear something come out of our mouths that may not sound like a fun adjective, but we are really having a great time out there.

Q.  Your ability to look under rocks to find recruits.  Do you have a blueprint for that? 
COACH MORGAN:  No, I think that’s very overrated, to be honest with you.  I really think coming from a background where you have to develop‑‑ you’re in Benton community, and you have to‑‑ you’re recruiting guys that come out for your team.  You’re at west high, you’re trying to get guys to‑‑ you have to develop the guys that you’ve got.
So some guys that may not be as pretty and attractive, may not have the stars, you may see, there’s a guy that could really be good.  And you look for him.  Maybe you find him on a track.  Maybe you see him on a wrestling mat.  Maybe you see him on a basketball court or hear about him.  But most of those guys that we find out about, usually we’ve been recruiting since they’ve been maybe in eighth grade, ninth grade, you hear about them.
And that’s the luxury, the nice thing you have about recruiting in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, most of the coaches you know, and they can pick up the phone and say, hey, I got a call last night from a kid of a guy I played college ball with.  Hey, there’s a kid over at this school I’m coaching here, and you’re going to find out by word of mouth.
I think there’s a lot of different avenues, and I think good players are good players, whether they’re from eight man‑‑ we’ve got four eight‑man guys on our D‑line right now.  Whether they’re 8 man, 9 man, 12 man, 11 man, wherever, I think you can find players.
We’re not‑‑ what is it in baseball? .300.  I think we’re hitting better than.300, but hopefully we’re going to have more guys that can help us than not.

Q.  I know you worked really hard to get Matt Nelson.  In fact, I think at last year’s spring game, you were hollering at him, hey, why don’t you come in and play a couple of plays.  I know you also don’t rely on true freshmen to walk on and compete.  It was only necessary with Drew Ott five years ago, but is he capable of walking in and competing for playing time? 
COACH MORGAN:  He’s shown some things on tape that are pretty good.  Gosh, we hope, like you had said, we hope that we don’t have to, but if there is a freshman, him or somebody else, that comes in and demonstrates that they’ve earn the opportunity, the right to at least take a look at and get some reps with the first or second group, that certainly could be a possibility.
I would really‑‑ it would be a disrespectful for our current players to say we’re counting on a guy that’s a freshman coming in and playing because everything has to be earned.

Q.  What’s it like‑‑ you recruited Brandon Scherff.  What’s it like going up against him every day now in practice, and how is that helping your D‑line get better? 
COACH MORGAN:  I think, first of all, going against our entire offensive line.  Our offensive line is very talented, extremely well‑coached.  Brian does a great job.  He’s much, much better than his predecessor at that position.  That’s a fact.  He’s done a great job with those guys.
And Brandon is a special guy, and he’s that way.  Brandon‑‑ a lot of guys will come back, and he had an opportunity.  A lot of guys will come back, and they’ll just kind of, okay, just kind of go through and maybe worry about, hey, I don’t want to get hurt.  Every rep he’s trying to go 100 percent.  He’s trying to punish guys.
Him and Ott have got a little thing going, and believe it or not, Brandon’s winning most of those.  But Drew and Riley and Mike and whoever’s going against him is really a chance for them to improve.  So it’s a tremendous opportunity, tremendous opportunity for our guys, for any of our guys to go against him.

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Brian Ferentz Talks Hawkeyes http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/brian-ferentz-talks-hawkeyes http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/brian-ferentz-talks-hawkeyes#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:18:03 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14730 Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz took his turn with the media on Wednesday. Here is his transcript

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COACH FERENTZ:  I’ll start with a couple of words about our offensive line.  We’re excited.  We have four returning players with what we feel is a lot of experience, real experience.  We’re excited to see them improve and continue to improve as we head into 2014.
And then after that, we’ve got a stack of guys that don’t have much experience.  We were fortunate to get them a little experience last year at various points in the season, but for the most part, these guys haven’t really played in competitive situations.  So we’re a little bit excited to see who will emerge from that group and provide a little bit more depth and fill out the rest of that roster.
With that, I’d open it up to you guys.

Q.  Taking offensive line scholarships, plug them in, it seems like it went down that way, wide receivers, defensive backs this year.  Does that explain having walk‑ons being number twos basically?  Kind of accelerates some guys, I would imagine, at least. 
COACH FERENTZ:  Sure.  We’re always trying in recruiting to make our football team better.  So if you compare it to the NFL Draft, we want to take the best available, and unfortunately for us, at the offensive line position over the last few years, you know, really we haven’t been able to develop some of the depth perhaps we’d like from a scholarship standpoint.
To me, where we’ve been fortunate is we’ve had some guys that have walked on to our program and paid their dues the hard way.  They’ve really improved and elevated.
Frankly, it’s kind of like the draft.  I think if‑‑ I know they do this exercise in the NFL.  They go back, and they redraft.  You guys do that stuff.  Teams obviously cannot.  But the benefit of hindsight, sometimes it’s 20/20, and I feel like if we could redraft some of our recruiting classes, perhaps those guys would have had a different avenue to go to school because they’ve turned out to be very good players for us.

Q.  How is recruiting different coming off four wins versus coming off eight wins?  Is there any noticeable difference? 
COACH FERENTZ:  Not to me.  No, not to me.  I think in recruiting you’re always doing the same things.  You’re trying to identify the guys that can help your football team.  You’re trying to build a relationship with them, and it’s got to be a mutual fit.  We’re looking for players that we feel like will have success here, and that’s just not being a talented athlete.  That’s a certain value structure or maybe how they’re raised or the environment they come out of.
Generally, whether we’ve won four games or eight games, obviously, there’s a lot more to talk about when you’ve won eight games from a win‑loss standpoint, but there’s a lot of other things about the program we’re selling.  When you find that mutual fit that it’s a guy that shares your values and shares the values of the guys that we have on the team right now, a lot of times, the on‑the‑field stuff, as far as wins and losses, almost becomes secondary so that other aspect of recruiting.
Not that it’s not important, but there’s other issues that are just as important when recruiting.

Q.  You talk about a stack of guys.  Sean Welsh maybe falls in that category.  What is he doing that you like, and where does he need to improve? 
COACH FERENTZ:  Sean’s handled himself very well since he stepped on campus, really going back to the recruiting process.  He acts like one of our type of guys.  He plays like one of our type of guys.
What he needs to improve on is playing.  He hasn’t played very much.  That’s not his fault, but he needs to get more experience and continue to grow, and the only way to do that is to play.  That’s what he needs to do right now.  That’s what’s happening in the spring.  That’s what will happen in the fall.
Obviously, he needs to continue to compete as well.  We’re not ready to anoint anyone.

Q.  You have two rotating guys at the left guard spot where he is, or are you mixing and matching across the line to see your best five? 
COACH FERENTZ:  Sure, we’re always looking for the best five.  I know that’s been discussed ad nauseam by myself, by Coach Morgan, by Coach Philbin, by my dad.  Sometimes it’s more apparent.  Sometimes the pieces don’t have to move as much.  I think maybe this year is one of those years because we have some guys coming back that have experience.
We have what we feel like are really two experienced tackles.  I know Andrew hasn’t started a game at tackle.  He’s played a lot of games at tackle for us during the course of the game, and he’s obviously worked a lot in practice.  We’re fortunate last year he didn’t have to play very much tackle.  So we feel like we have two experienced tackles.
We feel like we have an experienced center coming back, a guy that’s played a lot at that position and gained a lot of experience the year before in another position.  We feel like we have a guard on the right side who has started over the course of two years a few games‑‑ he hasn’t necessarily played the entire game, but he’s played a lot of football.
Where we’re really trying to figure something out is probably at that left guard position.  I think what will happen is you saw last year, if we could play six guys, if we could play seven guys, if we feel like we have that kind of depth, we’ll play those guys because we feel like that’s very good for our football team, not just for the guys or for the unit, but for the team to have that kind of depth, be gaining that kind of experience.  If we can do that again, we’d love to do that.
Last year that rotation kind of settled on the right guard spot, and what that means is it was really simple.  The other four guys we felt like were on a certain level, and then the next two or three guys, towards the end of the season, we felt like we’re playing at a high enough level that they should be competing for us on the field, but we didn’t feel like they were playing at a high enough level to displace those other four guys.
That’s why the left guard kind of became a hot spot there as far as bringing guys in and out of the football game.  The right guard last year, I’m sorry.
If we could do that again this year at left guard, we’d like to do that, but I’m not naive enough to sit up here either and tell you that the same five guys are going to start every football game for us this year.  I think we were fortunate last year, but I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation.
Right now, if you were to see us practice, what you would see is guys playing different positions.  Maybe some of the young guys are in one spot because you don’t want to cross‑train them as much, you want to get them a little more comfortable.  But certainly as they get older, they’re working at guard, they’re working at tackle, they’re working at center.  They’re doing those things so that we can make sure, no matter what happens in the fall, that we have five competent guys on the field.
That’s the goal.  Do we always get there?  I’m not sure.

Q.  Coach, Coach Kennedy and others have kind of credited you as being the guy who got them on Twitter and got them onto social media.  Is that something generationally you picked up, or were you picking that up before you even came back to Iowa? 
COACH FERENTZ:  I’d say that was recruiting‑based, how I got into that.
I was laughing the other day, my phone broke.  My daughter smashed my phone.  So it’s like in a million pieces.  So I have to go to Verizon because they have to set it up.  I don’t even know how to activate it and all that, and the guy was laughing, and he actually said‑‑ he recognized me, and he said, Well, I thought you were the technologically advanced one, and I said, yeah, but within reason.
The thing about social media is I understand how to tweet.  I understand how to Facebook.  I understand how to e‑mail and do all those things.  I would say that Bobby and Chris have taken it to another level.  They’re probably much more proficient even than I am.
I just think that all that stuff certainly is generational, and it’s very important to recruiting because it’s the only way we can contact prospective student‑athletes.  We can’t text them.  Right now we’re in a block where we can make a phone call, one over a six‑week period, which is not very efficient, and especially when you’re dealing with 16, 17‑year‑old guys, they don’t like talking on the phone.  Some of you guys probably have teenagers, and if you text them, you probably get a quicker response.
We can’t do that either, but that direct message aspect of social media becomes our avenue for communication with those guys.  As far as the other aspect, the more public aspect of it, I really think‑‑ I think it’s just based on your personality.  I know I’ve said that to you guys before.  If our head coach was on Twitter, I think it would become very apparent to everyone that he wasn’t running his account because that’s not very much in his personality.
For my personality, I think what you see, what I put out there, that’s what I’m comfortable with whereas what you see with Bobby or Chris, those guys are more comfortable maybe sharing a little bit more.  It’s just unique to every person, I think.

Q.  One thing is‑‑ and this is not to stir things up, but in basketball they obviously kind of put a‑‑ prohibited that.  Is that something that you talked with the basketball program or they asked you or just among coaches you talk about different things? 
COACH FERENTZ:  I’ve never had a conversation with‑‑ the last thing that anybody in the basketball program wants is a former mediocre wrestler talking to them about sets or out of bounds plays or anything like that.  So I’ve never had a conversation with anybody in Iowa basketball other than friendly banter and good luck and best wishes and things like that.
I think the things that happen in their building, they determine the course of action and what they want to do.  As far as what happened with that, I don’t really have much comment other than what I’ve said publicly about it.

Q.  Last year you tweeted about stadium experience, and that kind of blew up.  What was your point and what‑‑ do you see any changes? 
COACH FERENTZ:  I knew that question would come up.  You surprised me on that question.  I knew this question would come up.  There’s one more I’m waiting for.  We’ll see if we get to that.  Let’s see who drew the short straw on that one.
As far as my tweet last year, what I tweeted was exactly what I meant, and whatever happened with the response and publicly‑‑ you know, obviously, I had a pretty good understanding of what might happen, and I shared that information publicly.  Again, it goes back to whatever your personality is, what you’re comfortable sharing, what you’re comfortable commenting on from a social standpoint.
I don’t tweet about politics.  I don’t tweet about other things like that.  I made a comment about something that I thought was relevant.  Has it improved?  We’ll find out when we get to August.  But I know this.
From the standpoint of the Iowa football program, what we’re trying to do is provide our fans with the best possible experience on a weekly basis.  That starts with us winning football games, and certainly that’s important, but also just the standpoint of what are our fans‑‑ our fans have options nowadays, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, and I know the NFL is dealing with it, and we’re trying to deal with it.
What we want to do is provide the best possible experience for our fans because we value our fans and we value their support and we value the contributions, financially and from a time standpoint, that they make to support us.  That’s why we go to West Des Moines, and that’s why we do things like that.  We’d love to do more things, kids day.  We’re always looking to kind of augment what is on the field with some more exposure or access or the general experience, whatever that may be.
So we’ll find out, I think, as we get to August, if we’ve made any progress there or not.  I can assure you, from our standpoint, we intend on winning more than eight games.  So we’re trying to do our part.

Q.  So speaking of the NFL, there was a report out about‑‑
COACH FERENTZ:  So you got the short straw.  Did you guys flip over this?  I won’t even let you finish the question.
What I’ll tell you guys is this.  What I’m here to talk about is the 2014 Iowa football season, and what we plan on doing, what we’re working on doing right now.  As far as things like that, I never made a public comment, and the reason was very simple.  There was no need to make a public comment.  I’m the offensive line coach of the University of Iowa, and I’m very happy to be the offensive line coach of the University of Iowa.  I have a great job.

Q.  I don’t know how you talked Brandon into staying, but his presence really kind of saved the day for you guys at tackle.  Without him, there’s a pretty big deficit experience‑wise.  How did you sell it?  Was there even a sell?  It seemed like he wanted to come back. 
COACH FERENTZ:  Sure.  I don’t think you can sell a guy like Brandon into coming back for his fifth year.  I don’t think it’s a recruiting job.  I don’t think it’s anything that the head coach or the strength coach or myself said to him.  I think Brandon wants to be here.  You would have to ask him that question, I know you have, and he’s answered it.  I would tell you that’s the reason he’s here.
What I would tell you about Brandon from my standpoint‑‑ and you try not to brag on players too much.  And I know I sat up here last year, and I answered a lot of questions about Brandon Scherff there and Brandon Scherff that, and I tried to temper the enthusiasm because at that time he really hadn’t done very much.  I feel very different about him a year later.
Brandon has a lot of things to improve on.  He needs to become a much more complete player, run game, pass game, leadership.  There’s a lot of things he needs to do better for us.  He would tell you the same thing, I think.  That’s why he’s going to continue to improve.  He thinks right.  That’s the best quality he has is that he thinks right.  That being said, that’s my disclaimer.
I will share my love letter to Brandon Scherff with you guys now because, if this guy doesn’t get recognized for what he is moving forward, I think it would be a real travesty.  There’s not a better offensive lineman in college football, that’s my opinion, and I think you guys know, after two years‑‑ and some of you knew me well before then‑‑ I don’t say things like that lightly.  That’s coming from his coach, but I think that’s coming from a very objective place.
In my opinion, he was the best offensive lineman in our conference last year, and I got a chance to see through Bowl preparation, some tape of some other very good offensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference, and I would have stacked him up against any of those guys.
I know NFL guys do work and they care about certain things, I understand that, the draft process, but in my estimation, he was certainly one of the best football players in the country last year.  I don’t know if he deserved‑‑ or received the proper recognition for that.  I would expect him to this year.  If he doesn’t, I don’t know what people are watching or what they value or what’s important.
But he does everything right.  He plays football the way football is supposed to be played, and he acts the way football players are supposed to act on the field, off the field, in the building, out of the building.
Basically, as long as PETA or animal rights groups don’t get involved, I think he should be pretty popular.  They may not like him so much.

Q.  How do you compare him‑‑ you’ve compared him to other college linemen.  How would you put him in a category with guys that have been here in recent years, like past decade or something? 
COACH FERENTZ:  And I think that’s a good question.  I’m not sure it’s fair to Brandon or to those guys.  What I would tell you is I would put him in that category, and I think that’s the most fair thing to say about any of them.
I just saw Marshal Yanda upstairs.  He was training.  I think he’s going into his tenth‑‑ ninth or tenth, it’s hard to believe.  Here’s a guy that’s an All‑Pro, that’s a Pro Bowl player, that’s a Super Bowl champion.
You look at a guy like Riley, who was with us for a lot of the off‑season.  On a side note, I wasn’t fortunate enough to coach Riley.  Coach Morgan coached Riley and helped him become the player he is.  But from a work ethic standpoint, I don’t know how many starting left tackles in the NFL were in the building with their college football program at 6:30 in the morning on Saturdays helping younger players there to become better players in the future while they were polishing their own skills.  I don’t think many guys probably were.  That’s why he will continue to play at a high level in the NFL.
I’d put him in the same category as Riley, Marshal, Bryan Bulaga, another guy who’s a Super Bowl champion.  I’d put him in the same category as Robert gallery, Bruce Nelson, Eric Steinbach.  Guys like that that have paved the way.  How does he compare to every one of those guys?  I don’t know.  They’re all really good.  I’d take them all.  I’d put him in the conversation.  I think that’s fair.
Now, he’s got to live up to all this.  I would just throw that disclaimer out there.  That’s part of the challenge that he has right now.  He’s garnered a lot of attention and rightfully so.  He needs to continue to elevate his level of play.

Q.  Brian, how important was your dad’s decision to add Reese Morgan to the staff? 
COACH FERENTZ:  For me?

Q.  For just the program in general. 
COACH FERENTZ:  I think it was a huge moment for the program.  It was a huge moment for me personally because it gave City High a chance to beat West High, which I greatly appreciated in 2000.
But Coach Morgan, you look at what Coach Morgan has done, he’s coached NFL players at the tight end position.  He’s coached NFL players at the offensive line position, and right now he’s coaching NFL players at the defensive line position.  And I think history will bear all that out as we go here.
But I think sometimes what he doesn’t get credit for is, if you look at the NFL players that we’ve developed at the University of Iowa, if you went back and you looked at all these guys, the guys that go to the Combine, the guys that get drafted, the guys that go on and have good NFL careers, successful NFL careers, I’d challenge to you go back and take a look at where they’re from and who recruited them and who identified a guy like Chad Greenway, who was playing eight‑man football.  He may have been playing nine‑man.  They’ve got some goofy deal.  He was playing quarterback and safety on a field with less than 11 guys.  He was playing basketball, and he was triple jumping.
You look at a guy like Matt VandeBerg, who contributed for us last year, and a lot of people didn’t even know who he was going into the season.  Here’s a guy, is he going to gray shirt?  We’ve got a scholarship open, bring him to training camp, and he produces more than any other freshman we had on the roster.
Who finds these guys?  Who identifies them very early in their high school career, sometimes earlier than that?  And who recruits them and sells them to the rest of the staff when there’s perhaps not as much tape, not as much evidence as a guy from, say, Chicago where I recruit, where you can say, well, look at who he’s playing against.  Look at all these guys.  Look at this field.  Look at all the players on this field.  This is what he does.
You can’t always say that about a guy like Brandon Scherff, who’s running around playing quarterback at 290 pounds and then tight end his senior year, but he throws a shotput 65 feet and does all those things.
James Ferentz‑‑ and maybe that’s a bad example because how can you miss a guy like that?  But there weren’t a lot of people recruiting him, and he played at a pretty high level for us, was an all Big Ten player.  You go down the list.
Guys that are on our current roster right now.  Boone Myers is a perfect example, a guy that’s really doing a lot as a freshman, as a first year player for us, and here’s a guy that played tight end in a single wing in Webster City, Iowa.  I promise you, the only other people that knew about him were Coach Nelson and the guys, you and I.
So you look at all these guys, and what’s Reese Morgan’s impact on the program?  I’d start with them, and then I’d go all the way through to the way we think, the way we act, the way we do things.  You’re not going to find a guy who’s more Iowa than Coach Morgan, you’re just not.  Humble, hard working, and he has a saying‑‑ you can throw this back at him, and he’ll wonder how you found out.  He believes in prideful simplicity, and I think that’s well said.

Q.  You brought up the rotation that you had at the right guard spot, and now it seems like Jordan has that.  What are the areas of his game that you’re looking to see now that he is probably going to get more snaps at that position than he did a year ago? 
COACH FERENTZ:  Sure, consistency.  I think that’s what it boils down to for anyone.  That’s the difference, if you look at last year, and it’s certainly no knock on Jordan or Andrew or Nolan.  But you look at Connor, Brandon, Austin, and Brett, from a consistency standpoint, those four guys were more consistent than the other three, and that’s why they didn’t come out of the football game, and that’s why the other three guys rotated.
So for Jordan, what he has to improve is his consistency.  He’s capable of being a great player, and he flashes that at times.  He needs to do that all the time.  That’s what we’re looking for, and he knows that.  I expect at this point in his development, he’s older.  He’s a year older.  He’s a fourth year guy, and I would expect to see that from him.

Q.  There’s kind of the perception or tradition of Iowa’s great as a team when they fly under the radar, and then people start putting them up expectation‑wise and maybe they don’t live up to them.  You were kind of under that as a player.  People start putting expectations on you.  Is that fair, that you’d rather be under the radar, or do you mind being a favorite? 
COACH FERENTZ:  We have no control over that.  That’s you guys, with all due respect.  And I only have to ask you two guys and Pat that my grandmother, if my picture’s not‑‑ if you guys write a story about me and it’s not my picture, my grandmother will be really upset.  I just want to make sure you guys get that right, and I know it’s not you guys, but I felt that needed to be said.
The question you’re asking, hey, we can’t control any of that.  What we can control is the way we show up every day and go to work.  That’s it.  We come to work every day, and we’re trying to improve, and we’re trying to become a better football team and have a better understanding conceptually of what we’re doing, do a better job of executing our assignments and learning the things we need to learn to be successful.  That’s what we control.
We can’t control expectations.  We can’t manage those.  We can’t do any of that.  We have to focus on what we’re doing in this building, and maybe, if we haven’t lived up to those expectations in the past, maybe that’s our fault.  It’s certainly not your guys’ fault.  We probably need to do a better job of improving as a football team and not worrying about what’s going on outside of this building.

Q.  How is Ryan Ward doing? 
COACH FERENTZ:  He’s doing very well.  He’s doing very well.  He’s been working at tackle.  He’s working some at guard.  He’s one of those guys, along with Sean, along with Boone Myers, along with Mitch Keppy.  There’s a whole tier of guys that are really competing to earn some playing time.
I didn’t see Coach Morgan in here.  Did you just walk in here?  I sufficiently embarrassed you, I think.

Q.  C.J. Fiedorowicz seemed to make real strides as a blocker over the last two years.  Do you expect the same type of movement upwards from Ray Hamilton and Henry Coble?  Are they capable of becoming the online blocker that he was? 
COACH FERENTZ:  Certainly, I hope they did.  C.J. improved.  Coach Dave Rye worked very closely with him to help him improve, and Coach D.J. Hernandez did the same thing last year.  With D.J. working with Ray and Henry and Jake Duzey, Jon Wisnieski and all of those guys, I’m hoping we’ll see some of the same improvement.
One thing about Iowa football, we’re going to count on the tight ends to help us win football games.  They need to block.  They need to run.  They need to catch, and they need to do all those thing.  I think we need to see improvement in all those areas from those guys, but I do think they’re capable, and they’ve shown improvement so far this spring, and I think that needs to continue.  Obviously, their role is going to become much increased with the loss of C.J.

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B1G Hoops Losing Stars http://www.hawkeyenation.com/uncategorized/b1g-hoops-losing-stars http://www.hawkeyenation.com/uncategorized/b1g-hoops-losing-stars#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:01:49 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14726 Several star players chose to enter the NBA draft on Tuesday, forgoing the rest of their Big Ten careers. What does it mean for Iowa and the league?

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The Big Ten has been the best basketball conference in the nation over the course of the past few years but the league is suffering another talent drain and next year’s slate may not be as daunting.

Michigan lost a pair of standout performers on Tuesday as Sophomores Nik Stauskas and Glen Robinson Jr elected to turn pro. Michigan State lost sophomore Gary Harris on top of senior losses Keith Appling and Adreian Payne. Senior to be Branden Dawson is also weighing a decision, but I suspect he will return. Michigan’s Mitch McGary is also analyzing his options.

Indiana has lost several players, including standout forward Noah Vonleh and Jeremy Hollowell. Hollowell started 15 games for Indiana this past year and Vonleh is going to be a likely lottery pick.

The Hawkeyes lose leading scorer Devyn Marble, Mel Basabe and Zach McCabe. That’s a lot of production but the Hawks are hardly without options and have some younger players who have the ability to rise up.

Still, everyone in the league will be chasing Wisconsin. The Wolverines won the league by three games this year and I could see a similar scenario with Wisconsin in that position. They’d be an early #1 in the Big Ten (and probable preseason Top Five ranking) and after that the gap is pretty big to the next best team…and who will that team be?

Illinois should make a rise in the league, but not that high. Nebraska finished fourth and returns nearly everyone…could the Huskers be that team? If McGary stays at Michigan, with Derrick Walton and Caris Levert, the Wolverines could be that team. Ohio State lost quite a bit but is adding a pair of transfers. The Gophers are probably a middle of the pack team and the same can be said about the Hawkeyes.

I think Iowa has a chance to finish in the upper division again and challenge for an NCAA bid with the team we know is in place right now. If they land JUCO All American forward Willie Atwood, that could change many of the expectations for this Iowa team.

They’ll sign JUCO All American point guard Trey Dickerson on Wednesday, and he talked about how excited he is to join Iowa in this article.

The league’s early entry losses are certain a gain for Iowa and some other teams looking to climb the conference ladder. I suspect the league will be down on the whole and Michigan State’s fall could be farther than they have seen in a long time. Purdue still looks challenged, as does Penn State. Northwestern brings in a solid recruiting class, but they are probably another year or so away before the next wave of media fawning over Chris Collins.

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Best Case: Martin-Manley http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-martin-manley http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/best-case-martin-manley#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:30:11 +0000 http://www.hawkeyenation.com/?p=14721 A look at the 'Best Case' scenario for members of the 2014 Iowa football team. Will Kevonte Martin-Manley break records?

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We begin a series called ‘Best Case’, where we will take a look at several Hawkeyes leading up to the start of the season.

We’ll do so by taking a look at where they have been and what they have done in their Iowa careers to date and try to project what we might see from them for the upcoming season.

KEVONTE MARTIN-MANLEY

2013: Ranked second in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation in punt returns (15.7) . . . first Big Ten Conference player to ever return back-to-back-punts for touchdowns and just the second player in the last decade with two punt return touchdowns in one quarter . . . is just the third player in Big Ten history with two punt return touchdowns in a game, and the first since 1983 . . . 184 return yards in a game ranks second best all-time in the Big Ten, behind Nile Kinnick’s Iowa and conference record of 201 yards on nine returns, set in 1939 . . . has at least one pass reception in 35 of 38 career games, with a previous streak of 23 straight games snapped vs. Michigan State . . . career totals include 122 receptions for 1,282 yards to rank 10th in career receptions and 25th in career receiving yards . . . ranked sixth in the Big Ten in receptions per game (4.3) in 2012

RECEIVING G REC YARDS YDS/REC LONG TD YDS/G
2010 0 0 0 0 0
2011 13 30 323 10.8 25 3 24.8
2012 12 52 571 11.0 51 2 47.6
2013 13 40 388 9.7 36 5 29.8
TOTAL 38 122 1282 10.5 51 10 33.7

KMM is not going to come close to Marvin McNutt’s all time yardage record of 2,861, but DJK’s 173 career receptions are within reach. 52 more grabs and the all time record is his. KMM had 50 catches in 2011 but dropped to 40 one year ago.

I will be surprised if he gets to 52 this year, which is less a commentary on him and more of an expectation on the players he will have around him. I have been writing that this year’s Iowa receiving corps might be the deepest of the Ferentz era in terms of raw talent. Granted, most of that talent is unproven, untested and in some cases, not ready as of right now. But the potential is there for say a Derrick Willies and/or a Derrick Mitchell to shine from the freshman ranks. Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer should take steps forward. Damond Powell should get more touches this year. All of these factors lead to fewer offensive touches for KMM.

I’d wager the punt returner job is his to lose and he certainly did a capable job last year. He averaged over 15 yards per punt return, which is all American level. That average was aided by the two long punt returns for TD’s against Western Michigan. If you take those two away he still averaged 9.3 yards per return on his other 18 attempts. 9.3 yards per return would have ranked in the Top 30 nationally last year.

On the receiving side, KMM averaged 9.7 yards per catch on 40 grabs last year, not a huge number. I’d look for something similar to that this year on the averages and if 40 is an over/under number of receptions, I’d take the under.

Again, not bagging on the senior to be…for one of the rare times in the Ferentz era, receiver may be growing into a position of strength. This year’s Iowa offense ‘could’ grow into something dynamic…at least for Iowa. Then again, a Pimento sandwich might be dynamic when compared to the Iowa offense of two years ago, and many of it’s previous Ferentz era iterations.

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