University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Friday just a short time after the announcement that all tickets for the 2010 home games have been sold out.
The Hawkeyes are ranked in the preseason top ten after finishing 11-2 and winning the Orange Bowl last season. Ferentz was asked if this is his most talented returning team.
Ferentz says in some areas it is and others no, as he says in some areas they have more experience and depth than the past, such as the receivers and defensive line. He says while the didn’t lose a lot of players, the loses were big ones, such as linebacker Pat Angerer.
The offensive line is one area where there are new faces and while Iowa has been know for turning out linemen, Ferentz says it will take a lot of work to fill the gaps. “You know that’s what college football is all about, and it’s an ongoing process and when guys get their opportunities and when they surface come at different times, and that’s what makes it interesting,” Ferentz says.
He says the linemen worked hard in the spring and based on that his is optimistic about where they are at, but says they have a lot of improvement to make heading up to the first game and then into the season.
Settling on a kicker is one thing yet to be worked out as Daniel Murray and Trent Mossbrucker are vying for the spot. Ferentz says he hopes someone will emerge in the next three weeks, if not they will rotate them in and out. He says noone really grabbed the job in the spring, and he hopes that happens this fall.
One area where there is a lot of depth right now is running back where three sophomores, Adam Robinson, Brandon Wegher and Jewel Hampton will look for playing time. Ferentz says they have to get to the season opener with everyone health to worry about how they’ll distribute the carries.
Ferentz says they haven’t really talked about it yet, but he hopes they get to the point where all are healthy starting the season and then they’ll deal with it. Ferentz says if one back emerges like Shon Greene did two years ago, they will go with them, but he says so far they all look to be equal.
The Hawkeyes didn’t have near the expectations on them starting last season as they do this one, and Ferentz says they are just going to move ahead knowing they didn’t have many easy games to get where they ended up last season. He says they’ll need good senior leadership if they are to match any of the expectations.
“You know you never win a championship, no team does I don’t think, team sports without great leadership, that’s first and foremost,” Ferentz says,”And then you know you have to have some great stories along the way, and we’ve talked about that just in general, but it’s certainly true if you’re going to win a championship.”
Ferentz cited the example of 2002 when they lost early in the season, but went on to win the conference championship. Iowa opens the season on September 4th at home against Eastern Illinois.