Progress Made, Work to be Done

April 14, 2007

IOWA CITY — What’s the old saying…”The more things change, the more the stay the same.”

That’s pretty much the way Kirk Ferentz summed up the performance of the 2007 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday inside historic Kinnick Stadium and before a crowd of more than 19,000 that took part in the UI football program’s first spring football event in three years.

Progress was made and there’s plenty of work to be done. All in all, it was a good spring, a productive spring.

Fans of the Hawkeyes got a peek of what life without quarterback Drew Tate will be like. All eyes were on the quarterback position and frontrunner Jake Christensen along with junior Adam Farnsworth, and freshmen Arvell Nelson and Richard Stanzi. All took snaps.

“I think Jake’s performance was solid and I thought he did a pretty good job for the most part,” Ferentz said of the only Hawkeye signal-caller with game experience.

“There are still some things that he is going to need to see faster and quicker, but I think he has been making good decisions. He’s protecting the ball and he has been good on the center exchange.

“The younger guys…” Ferentz continued. “I can’t quite say that. The ball is getting on the ground a lot more than it needs to be.”

A sophomore, Christensen started against Northern Illinois, had some spot duty at Minnesota and against Texas in the Alamo Bowl. During Saturday’s appearance in Kinnick, Iowa’s receivers made a lot of good catches, including a few diving ones that brought a smile to Christensen’s face.

“That’s what I’ve been counting on, that’s what every quarterback counts on – receivers that make plays,” said Christensen. “We’re just trying to build chemistry now. We were off today with a couple of things but we’ll get around to it.”

“I like all my receivers,” the lefty said when asked about a favorite target. ” Whoever is open is my favorite target.”

Ferentz said the 15 days of practice was evidence of what he had expected and hope for: Lots of competition and few “locks” on the depth chart.

“That’s what I’ve been counting on, that’s what every quarterback counts on – receivers that make plays. We’re just trying to build chemistry now. We were off today with a couple of things but we’ll get around to it.”
UI quarterback Jake Christensen

“We’ll look at the tape and see where there at. We’re going to let them all continue to compete and see who does the best,” said Ferentz.

A big message that the players stressed was cleaning up last year’s disappointment by starting new and carrying their work ethic from the Alamo Bowl to this season.

“It’s tough to watch the game films from last year, but we have to – we have to learn from our mistakes,” said linebacker Mike Klinkenborg

“It’s definitely good, you know to start fresh,” said running back Albert Young. “Everything is in the past and we are ready to get this new season going.”

“Our focus kind of carried over from the Alamo Bowl, we’ve never had a bowl prep like that before with three hour practices,” said corner back Adam Shada.

“We kind of figured out the tempo of practice, how it has to be to compete. That carried over to spring ball- I don’t ever remember spring ball being this intense.”

Iowa opens its 2007 season Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois. That game will be played at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Hawkeyes home schedule includes six home games, four of which against Big Ten Conference opponents.

Click HERE for more information.