April 11, 2009
- 2009 Spring Camp Central
- New and renewal season ticket customers: Purchase yours online!
- Outback Bowl Central
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Iowa Football wallpaper
IOWA CITY, Iowa — If a University of Iowa student-athlete makes a position change in football, the spring season is an ideal time to become acclimated to the new setting. Hawkeye sophomore Marvin McNutt — recruited as a quarterback — began the transition to receiver last fall. He is gaining valuable experience this spring.
“This practice time is very important, even though this isn’t like my freshman year,” McNutt said. “After changing positions I want to evaluate myself from here until the fall. I haven’t been a receiver that long, so it’s a little different because you have to get a different perspective about everything from the coaches and players you’re meeting with.”
As a redshirt freshman in the fall, McNutt completed 1 of 3 passes for 10 yards and caught one pass for 11. Receiver is not a new position for McNutt, who started playing football as a high school sophomore. He began his career as quarterback on the junior varsity team, but his first varsity touchdown was scored while playing receiver.
The Hawkeyes held their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning and McNutt was one of many receivers to shine. He leaped for one touchdown reception and drew a pass interference penalty on another play after gaining a step on the cornerback.
In a way, moving positions has simplified some of McNutt’s responsibilities.
“Being a quarterback you have to see the whole field and see everybody’s position,” McNutt said. “Going to receiver you still have to see the big picture, but it’s focused down to just you versus the defensive back.”
A native of St. Louis (Hazelwood Central High School), McNutt stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds. He also played basketball and baseball in high school and drew interest from collegiate basketball coaches. That all-around athleticism helped with the decision to shift McNutt.
“Next season is a long way away, but I would love to be a big part of this offense, especially to be playing with DJK, Trey, Paul (Chaney Jr.) and (Colin) Sandeman. I love to be a part of this offense, period. This year I want to assert myself and make myself known and get comfortable being out on the field.”
UI wide receiver
“Obviously the coaches saw something,” McNutt said of the change to receiver. “They knew I was an athlete, so they knew it wouldn’t be too hard for me to switch positions. By playing those other sports — in baseball, eye-hand coordination is key, and in basketball, going up for a rebound is just like going up for a catch.”
UI junior Derrell Johnson-Koulianos led the Hawkeyes in receptions last season with 44 for 639 yards and three touchdowns. He has 82 career catches. Iowa graduated its No. 2 and No. 3 receivers — Andy Brodell and Brandon Myers — who combined for 70 catches, 974 yards and half of the team’s 16 touchdowns through the air. At the beginning of spring drills, McNutt is listed as the back-up wide receiver behind senior Trey Stross.
“Next season is a long way away, but I would love to be a big part of this offense, especially to be playing with DJK, Trey, Paul (Chaney Jr.) and (Colin) Sandeman,” McNutt said. “I love to be a part of this offense, period. This year I want to assert myself and make myself known and get comfortable being out on the field.”
During the transition, McNutt realized that a fast quarterback does not always translate into a fast receiver.
“The first challenge I really came across was stamina,” he said. “I was kind of fatigued when I first started playing, then I was trying to get faster. I was a fast quarterback, but as a receiver, you’re not like the fastest receiver and you have to deal with that.”
“It’s quite an adjustment,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s not used to running around for one thing. His legs were sore all fall. This is a good chance for him to get started learning how to run routes and releases. Hopefully he can be a real contributor. He’s a tremendous young guy and we feel great about him when we recruited him in all regards. This is probably his best spot right now.”
Although McNutt said he still gets fatigued, he knows he is making strides with every practice. As far as a favorite pass pattern, McNutt said he enjoys any that take him into the red zone. Catching the long ball, however, has been a tough task this spring.
“With our defense, it’s kind of hard to burn them,” he said.
Click this link to view an exclusive 54-image photo gallery from Saturday’s practice/scrimmage.
Iowa returns 16 starters from a team that finished 9-4 overall last season, including a 31-10 victory over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes won their final four games and six of their last seven.
Iowa will begin its final week of spring practice Wednesday. The last day of spring practice is Saturday, April 18, and Iowa’s season-opener will be Saturday, Sept. 5, against Northern Iowa.