Talking Iowa Football

Aug. 11, 2004

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They were talking University of Iowa football in Iowa City Tuesday at the 2004 Media Day event for Coach Kirk Ferentz’s nationally ranked Hawkeyes, the defending Outback Bowl champions who open their 2004 season Sept. 4 against Kent State in the “Throwback Game” inside historic Kinnick Stadium. Expectations are high for this year’s version of the Black-and-Gold — Iowa is ranked 12th in the pre-season college football poll of ESPN/USA Today, a nod of recognition by head coaches across the land for what Ferentz, his staff and the Hawkeyes have accomplished the past two seasons and, specifically, their pounding of the highly-touted Florida Gators last New Year’s Day in Tampa. But therein lies the hook, as far as Iowa’s head coach is concerned. The rankings and recognition and excitement are all by-products of what previouis Iowa teams have accomplished. The 2004 Hawkeyes haven’t produced a first down and are winless as they march toward two-a-days and the season opener. “The recognition is nice and well deserved, but, as we’ve told the team, it’s a result of what previous teams have accomplished. This group has an empty slate. We’re excited and optimistic, but, again, this group has an empty slate.” said Ferentz.

The third annual Kids Day at Kinnick will be staged Sunday. Gate 3 of Iowa’s football facility will open at 2 pm for Iowa’s 3 p.m. practice. Practice will be followed by an autograph session with the 2004 Hawkeyes.

Here’s a quick look at what was said yesterday… “Jermelle (Lewis) still has to go out and do it. But he has the tools,” Iowa running back coach Carl Jackson told the Des Moines Register about Iowa’s No. 1 running back.

“We’ll probably have some ups and downs with Kyle (Schlicher), but we have confidence he’ll have a great year,” Ferentz told the Des Moines Register about Iowa’s new placekicker.

“I think the key thing right now is keeping healthy, so we can improve and progress and try to get some continuity,” Ferentz told the The Gazette about Iowa’s offensive line.

“Whatever he does well, we’ll do,” Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe told The Gazette about No. 1 quarterback Drew Tate.

“If we can imporove pass efficiency and third-down conversions, I think our overall numbers will look better. If those two ares go up, I think everything else falls in line behind,” Ferentz told the Gazette about Iowa’s offense.

“It’s always exciting to see your name and picture in the paper and hear it on TV or radio. But in the back of my mind, I’ve got to live up to what everybody’s saying about me,” Iowa offensive lineman Lee Gray told The Gazette.

“We have to stay consistent in our assignments and not break down mentally. We had a competitive, productive summer. We’re going to have some fun this year,” Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway told The Gazette.”

“Who wants to settle for No. 2 when you can be No. 1. It’s just competing every day, that’s what they’re looking for,” Iowa quarterback Jason Monson told the Iowa City Press-Citizen.