Dec. 28, 2009
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MIAMI — The University of Iowa football team did something Monday it hadn’t done in over a month — practice outdoors.
The Hawkeyes held their first official practice in Miami on Monday at Barry University. The team hadn’t practiced outdoors since mid-November, and was anxious to get back to work under the sun in preparation for the FedEx Orange Bowl.
“It was nice to get back out in the elements a little bit, A.J. Edds said. “Great to be back out in the warmth and sweat it out a little bit. Sure a lot better than snow and 16 degrees every day.”
Even though the weather in Miami is tough to beat, the Hawkeyes will still need a little time to adjust to certain elements, like the constant breeze that was present at practice this afternoon. Iowa’s indoor practice facility, “The Bubble,” takes things like weather out of the equation.
“It felt good and it was good to be somewhere the air is moving,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s been pretty still inside the indoor facility. The weather is great. We need to be outdoors. Part of it right now is us just getting acclimated to being outdoors again, dealing with the breeze a little bit.”
Weather was one of the main reasons the Hawkeyes are in Miami almost three days earlier than Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech: Not to escape the snow and cold of Iowa, but to get comfortable playing in heat and humidity once again.
“I think if you look around the country, southern teams don’t travel quite as early for obvious reasons,” Ferentz said. “They can get outdoors where they’re at, but in our case, we haven’t been outside now since November. I think it’s important we just get used to getting outside again.”
Miami’s weather isn’t the only nice thing the Hawkeyes are enjoying when it comes to football. Barry University’s football complex has already received great reviews from Ferentz. The Hawkeyes practiced at Barry University for the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl, and Buccaneer Field has hosted teams practicing for the FedEx Orange Bowl for 15-straight years.
“That’s one of the things you never know what you’re going to get when you travel to a bowl site and this is just fantastic so we feel great about that,” Ferentz said. “The practice fields are tremendous. We’ve got plenty of space and then the facility here is fine and the people have been tremendous. That’s one of the nice things. It’s a good game (the FedEx Orange Bowl), but also it’s a good set-up for the football team.”
Most of the team relaxed by the pool at the Foutainbleu Miami Beach after returning from practice, but it’s right back to work in the morning.
“Right now we’re taking in a little bit, and having some fun with it,” Edds said. “But, at the same time, we have to know what we are down here for. We need to focus on the job at hand, and that’s winning a football game in a week.”