The Iowa Hawkeyes close out spring drills on Saturday with an open practice in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the spring is all about skill development. He says the great thing is there is no game planning or pressure to get prepared for kickoff, so it is pure teaching and evaluation.
While the Hawkeyes have a number of experienced players back from last year’s team that won the Orange Bowl Ferentz knows the two-deep can change between now and the season opener. He says last year was a good illustration of that with the injuries they had at running back.
Iowa football teams have traditionally featured strong defenses and this next season should be no different. The Hawks gave up just over 15 points per game last season and defensive coordinator Norm Parker says it will be up to the veterans to lead the way. Parker says if they are going to be any good, the older players have to have their best year and play the best they have every played. He believes they have a chance to do that.
Parker says Adrian Clayborn is the leader on defense. He is coming off a stellar junior season in which he totaled 20 tackles for a loss and 11 and a half sacks. He says Clayborn is “a good hard working guy” who pushes himself and pushes the other guys. Parker says Clayborn is a good leader and will have to be that in the next season. He says Clayborn should be a better player as he is a year older, a year stronger and more experienced than last year.
The Hawkeyes close out spring drills with a practice on Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes open next season at home against Eastern Illinois on September fourth.