Aug. 18, 2010
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — When Mike Daniels arrived at the University of Iowa in 2007 he said he couldn’t even get into a football stance.
“I’m dead serious,” the Hawkeye defensive tackle says. “Sometimes I still question my stance.”
One thing that can’t be questioned is the improvement made by the native of Blackwood, N.J. Daniels has progressed so far that UI head coach Kirk Ferentz refers to him as the No. 5 starter on the defensive line, even though he is officially listed as a preseason backup to senior Christian Ballard.
“It shows that I’ve been making a lot of improvement,” Daniels said. “Working with (defensive line) coach (Rick) Kaczenski you have no choice but to either improve or quit. I attribute all of that to him; he says he’s doing you a disservice if he’s not hard on you. It’s about coming out, pushing, watching film, seeing what you have to work on and make sure you focus on that aspect the next practice and continue to build on that until you become a complete player.”
The Hawkeyes practiced in Kinnick Stadium for the final time during fall camp Wednesday morning. It also marked the final two-a-day before camp breaks on Saturday, Aug. 21.
Daniels made six tackles as a freshman in 2008 (with one quarterback sack) and 10 more last season (with 1 ½ sacks). The Hawkeye defensive line has been projected by many as the best in the nation.
“That’s speculation and hearsay,” Daniels says. “That’s all opinion. We just worry about persevering and getting better day-to-day.”
“You see those guys making improvements as well and you just want to be part of that group,” he says.
One of the primary reasons Daniels selected the UI was because of the reputation of the strength and conditioning program under the direction of Chris Doyle.
“Coach Doyle had a great impact on me and he impressed me,” Daniels says. “He told me he was going to kick my butt and I said, `great.’ Working hard off the field is essential to being great in football.”
The No. 10-rated Hawkeyes open the season Saturday, Sept. 4, against Eastern Illinois with an 11 a.m. start from Kinnick Stadium.
Meet the Hawkeye newcomers: