Camp Central: Morgan says O-line is playing hard

Aug. 18, 2008

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Practice photos from Monday, Aug. 18 | Exclusive video with Coach Morgan

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team began its most intense week of training camp Monday with the first of two practices inside the Kenyon Football Practice Facility. The final week of drills before classes begin Aug. 25 will feature three two-a-day sessions.

During the morning practice Monday (preseason practice No. 17 of 29), the Hawkeyes wore helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. After this week the Hawkeyes will focus less on individual player observations and more on slowing the likes of Maine all-conference defensive lineman Jovan Belcher, who last season led the Black Bears with 17 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback sacks. Iowa offensive line coach Reese Morgan spent a few minutes Monday, sharing some thoughts exclusively with

The Hawkeye coaching staff and players have had time to dissect game footage from last Saturday’s Kid’s Day Scrimmage and Morgan said the UI offensive line is still looking to improve.

“We certainly have great improvement to make,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’ve got kids who are working hard, but we certainly have to clean up some things. We’re still wide open — no one has really established themselves as being ready to go, but we’re going to continue to work.”

Finalizing a two-deep roster for the Aug. 30 opener against Maine will still take time. Morgan did mention that three veterans were grading out well in camp.

“Some guys who are doing a great job right now are Rob Bruggeman at center — he’s been a great leader and playing hard,” Morgan said. “Seth Olsen is an experienced guy who is giving us good leadership and some good time and Bryan Bulaga has been doing some positive things as well.”

On the preseason depth chart, Olsen was listed at right guard and Bulaga at left tackle.

“If we had to play tomorrow, we’d put a starting lineup out there,” Morgan said. “But we want to find the best five. We think that we’re pretty good with several players right now and we have to find that fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh guy right now.”

Although seeing a true freshman on the opening-day depth chart might be a long shot, Morgan said all the first-year players are performing well.

“I think James Ferentz is outstanding,” Morgan said. “He’s a guy who is definitely in the hunt. He’s got a little bit of an advantage from a technical standpoint and he’s doing a great job.”

For Morgan, the month of August is an exciting and crucial part of the season.

“Camp is the best time of the year where you can teach and work on guys getting better,” he said. “Each day is a different challenge and an opportunity for somebody. The only downside of camp is that you have to get ready for a game eventually, but it’s a great time to teach and improve.”

Morgan has been teaching, the Hawkeye offensive linemen have been improving and the Maine Black Bears come to Kinnick Stadium in 12 days.

To view 29 photos from Monday’s morning practice, available exclusively on, click HERE .