Iowa Continues Its Push Forward

Dec. 22, 2010

Iowa Football Practice Photos (Dec. 22)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, once said, “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

On Wednesday, the University of Iowa football team not only saw the sun and felt warmer temperatures, but also continued its process of becoming game-ready for the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28.

“Day two went really well,” senior All-American defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. “It was a good practice.”

That was the consensus around the Hawkeye camp. Iowa completed its second workout in full pads Wednesday at Corona Del Sol High School — the Hawkeyes will have the day off Thursday.

“We’ve had two good practices,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The guys have worked hard. We’re not game-shape right now, but we’re getting some good things done. It’s a process and at least we’re pushing forward.”

“Yesterday was getting used to everything, today I thought we came out better and moved around a lot faster and crisper,” senior free safety Brett Greenwood said. “The coaching staff has done a great job of having us focus on one task: coming down here and playing our best against Missouri.”

And with perhaps a prophetic stroke of good fortune, forecasted rain stayed away and the sun shone brightly on the Hawkeyes for much of their second practice.

“It’s nice, it’s better than the snow,” senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi said.

“Yesterday it was all cloudy and we had some sprinkles,” senior tight end Alllen Reisner said. “Today it was supposed to rain, but we had some nice sun and it felt pretty good to get out here. After college maybe I could move down here and find a job. It’s really nice out here.”

The rhetoric from the Hawkeyes on Wednesday was similar to that after the first practice in Arizona yesterday. The players are focused, paying attention to detail and moving with energy.

“As things are getting closer to the game, guys are kind of honing in on the focus and doing a good job of giving a lot of effort at practice,” Stanzi said. “We’re making sure everything is ready to go from an execution standpoint.”

The Hawkeyes have also had ample time to satisfy their curiosity of the Tempe/Phoenix/Chandler area — a key reason Ferentz spends a couple extra days at a bowl site.

“Last night and the night before we got our feet wet seeing what the town’s all about and the things they have here,” Reisner said. “We’ve seen the style of living down here, now everyone’s ready to get on the Missouri tape.”

“The first day was feeling everything out,” Greenwood said. “(Wednesday) we had a great practice and everybody was moving around.”

Iowa will play in a postseason bowl game for the third consecutive season after winning the 2010 Orange Bowl (24-14 against Georgia Tech) and the 2009 Outback Bowl (31-10 against South Carolina). The Hawkeyes have a 5-3 record in bowl games under Ferentz. Iowa has been bowl-eligible the last 10 years; overall, the Hawkeyes will be playing in their 25th bowl game (13-10-1 record).

The Hawkeyes (7-5 overall) play No. 14 Missouri (10-2) on Tuesday, with a 9 p.m. start (CT). The game will be played in Sun Devil Stadium (56,000) on the Arizona State campus and televised nationally by ESPN (HD).

There is a matter-of-fact, workmanlike tone to Iowa’s pre-Insight Bowl practices, including the first two outdoors in Arizona. It’s Iowa football — the program with the second-most wins in the Big Ten Conference since 2002 and the third-highest graduation success rate during that same span.

There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.

Reagan said that, too. But it sounds very similar to the philosophy of the Hawkeye football program.