The Iowa Hawkeyes began fall practice Monday, and after a couple of weeks on the media circuit, it wasn’t soon enough for coach Kirk Ferentz. “I think there’s been more than enough talk already, it’s certainly going to be fun to be on the field with the players,” Ferentz says.
He says they have a lot of things to work on this fall, including preparing a new set of linebackers on defense. “No question, we had three NFL guys playing there and that’s a rarity, so it starts there. Those three guys not only played very well, they gave us great leadership,” Ferentz says. He says the linebackers are a work in progress, but they have a good defensive line and it is an overall group effort to make the defense a good one.
Ferentz says fall practice is key for the entire team to get ready for the opener. “It’s all about everybody improving, whether it be a guy like (senior lineman) Brandon Scherff or an incoming freshman,” Ferentz says. “The big thing we ask them to do is to try to get better in every practice and in every meeting. And it you do that and it’s a cumulative effect, it can be pretty powerful.”
Ferentz says you never know how the new players will do as they step from a reserve role to a starting one. “You don’t, but I think how you practice is really a good indicator of that,” Ferentz says. “If we watch a player have three, four weeks of good practice here before our first ballgame, that sure is comforting. There’s always going to be some ups and down your first couple of games as a player, but to me over the long haul, your body of work is really going to dictate where you end up in terms of the level you play at.”
Iowa opens the season August 30th at home against Northern Iowa.