The Iowa football team opens spring drills with high hopes for next season. The Hawks won six of their final seven games last season, including a blowout of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl to finish with a record of 9-4.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the outcome of the game was good as was the way the team conducted itself in heading up to the game. He says the extra practice was good for all the players, especially the younger one.

Ferentz says while a number of key players return there were several key losses as well. He says there are a lot of questions in the spring and spring ball will help answer some of those questions. Ferentz says injury and surgery in the off season will keep a few regulars from taking part in contact.

Four starters won’t have any contact, including A.J. Edds and Tony Moeaki and both safeties Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood are also out. Ferentz says that’s a lot of players to have out, but it also gives the other players more exposure and practice.

Iowa opens the season September fifth at home against Northern Iowa.