Camp Central: Football Media Day Notebook

Aug. 4, 2008

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz took a moment before his first press conference of the season to congratulate former Hawkeye defensive end Andre Tippett, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 2.

“I want to start out by congratulating Andre Tippett on his remarkable induction this past weekend,” Ferentz said. “If you stop and think about what a remarkable feat it is to get selected to any Hall of Fame, certainly the NFL Hall of Fame, all you have to do is look at the people who are in that group and maybe more telling, look at the players who haven’t been selected. It’s a fantastic achievement. He’s just a tremendous representative of our university and certainly for the sport of football.”

Tippett lettered at the UI from 1979-81 and was inducted into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame last fall. He was the first consensus All-American for head coach Hayden Fry at Iowa. In 1982 Tippett was a second-round draft pick by the New England Patriots, where he played 12 seasons, went to five consecutive Pro Bowls, won the 1985 UPI AFL-AFC Defensive MVP award and played in the 1986 Super Bowl.

“We’re definitely proud of him,” UI defensive end Christian Ballard said. “When we put on the Iowa uniform we want to represent Andre Tippett, Dallas Clark, Matt Roth and all the NFL players who have continued their legacy to the NFL. They’re perfect examples of what a Hawkeye is and what he does on and off the field. We’re definitely proud of him and we give him much respect.”

“It’s a great honor for him to get inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. “Hopefully one day Ballard and I can follow in his footsteps. You can dream about being in the Hall of Fame, but now I’m just focused on being the best I can be in college.”

Calling signals from the port side

Ferentz made reference to the fact that 60 percent of the Hawkeye quarterbacks throw left-handed. Ferentz is also left-handed.

“We’re 60 percent left-handed and the head coach is left-handed,” Ferentz said. “So we might be right on a train wreck path here. That would be a good thing to write about. You guys are always looking for those little colorful things.”

Coach Norm Parker talks defense

“We have a free-for-all going on at the two linebacker positions at middle linebackers — probably Jacody Coleman and Pat Angerer — and then at weak-side linebacker with Jeff Tarpinian, Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson. Pretty soon you have to decide who the guy is going to be and start giving that guy the most reps. We’re trying to give everybody a shot, but the worst thing about coaching is deciding who gets to play and some guys are and some guys aren’t.”

More colorful quotes from the coach

Ferentz was asked if he felt pressure heading into the 2008 season:

“The only time I really felt pressure was when I interviewed at Cleveland from Maine,” Ferentz said. “My wife said if I didn’t get the job she was going with the guy that did. So I felt a little bit of pressure there.”

A busy, brief off-season for Coach Kaz

University of Iowa defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski had a busy, yet brief, summer break. After he assisted with flood relief and running the UI’s two one-day football camps, he traveled to a Detroit Tigers baseball game, attended a friend’s wedding and then on Saturday, July 5, 2008, married Jessica, who he met while the two were at Elon University in North Carolina.

“My summer was pretty fast,” Kaczenski said. “Since I recruit Florida, we decided to check out the left coast for our honeymoon. Coach (Carl) Jackson gave us tips on where we needed to go since he spent all that time out there with the San Francisco 49ers. Our off-season is pretty short and to be honest with you, you don’t like to be away too long. This is home for me now. Iowa is home for all of us and it’s just a great place to be. You can’t beat it.”

Erasing Game No. 12 from memory

Ferentz said the Hawkeyes are moving on following a season-ending 28-19 loss at home to Western Michigan which snapped a three-game winning streak.

“The past is the past whether we’ve done something good or something bad,” Ferentz said. “You move on. That’s what you do in life, that’s what you do in sports. This is a new season and a new year. This group is really excited about what’s in front of them.”

No one will fill Coach Jackson’s shoes

Lester Erb is in his ninth season at the University of Iowa and his first season coaching the Iowa running backs. Erb replaces Carl Jackson, who spent 22 years coaching on the UI football staff.

“I’m replacing Coach Jackson on the staff, but I’m never going to replace Coach Jackson. Coach Jackson is a tremendous coach and a tremendous man who has been a great mentor to me in my nine years here and obviously he’s going to be missed. Yes, I’m taking his spot on the staff, but I don’t ever intend to try to replace him.”

King and Kroul more than impress the DC

“You start right in the middle of the defense and you have two guys who have played four years that are good players, good guys, hard workers and leaders,” UI defensive coordinator Norm Parker said. “I don’t know all the guys in the country…I don’t pretend to know all the guys in the country. But I’d just as soon have our two.”

More colorful quotes from the coach (Part II)

Ferentz was asked about defending the spread offense:

“It took 29 minutes before we got the spread word out,” Ferentz said. “Cheese spread. That would be Wisconsin if they went to it…the cheese spread offense. I just thought of that.”

Paki in the backfield

Sophomore running back Paki O’Meara has been a prominent figure in the Hawkeye backfield during spring drills. A lot of preseason talk has focused on Shonn Greene, Nate Guillory and a talented incoming freshman class, but that is not a distraction for the former Cedar Rapids Washington prep.

“I’m looking at it as equal playing grounds and I think everyone is looking at it like that,” O’Meara said. “I learned the offense and the system a lot better in the spring. I am more confident and I can play a lot faster. I think that’s definitely an advantage. A lot of the new guys are still trying to play catch-up. Everyone’s excited to get back into football mode.”

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