July 5, 2011
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Riley Reiff is a preseason All-American. The offensive lineman, quite frankly, doesn’t pay attention to the preseason hype; he’s consumed with helping the Hawkeyes win games and getting his team back to a Bowl Championship Series game.
Reiff was tabbed as a third team preseason All-American by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. He also was one of five lineman nationwide selected to the prestigious Playboy magazine All-America team.
“They obviously don’t watch enough film if that’s the case,” said Reiff. “I am just looking forward to the season in what I can do to help this team win more games and get back to where we were in a BCS bowl game two years ago.
“That was fun and that’s what I am trying to aim for and what the team is, trying to get back to that level of play. That’s what football is all about.”
Junior James Ferentz says Reiff is being too modest in dusting aside the preseason recognition.
“He can say what he wants to, but the tape doesn’t lie,” said Ferentz, Iowa starting center. “If you watch Riley, his technique is solid, his footwork is good, his hand placement is always good, but it’s his toughness.
“How physical he is with his opponents. That’s something you don’t see with a lot of offensive lineman, and I’m glad he’s on our side blocking that blind side for us.”
Reiff has the game experience to lead the offensive line, having started 21 consecutive games. He’s trying to improve his leadership abilities to mentor the younger players on the team.
“I remember when I was a freshman, it’s hard,” said Reiff. “Your head is spinning; you don’t know what to do, what’s right or wrong. I am trying to help them get through the process… trying to get the young guys on the same page.”
Incoming freshman and veteran players can follow by Reiff’s example in his toughness and work ethic every day on the field.
“He comes every day, you know what you’re going to get from him,” said Ferentz. “He’s always going to be tough, and he’s going to be showing us the right way to be working.”
One thing Reiff preaches to his teammates and something he lives by is going 100 percent… all the time.
“That’s the way I look at everything, still to this day,” said Reiff. “Going 100 percent shows up on film. We all try to go 100 percent every play. Doing the little things right, that’s what makes a huge difference in being a five or a 10-win team.”
During the summer workouts, Reiff is focusing on getting into shape, while doing those aforementioned “little things” to prepare for the upcoming season.
“We’re spending a lot of time in the weight room with Coach Doyle, trying to get in really good shape,” said Reiff. “These are the dog days — they’re hard — but you have to do it to be ready.
“We’re doing the extra stuff to be ready to go. The offensive line is where you win and lose football games, so we’re trying to step up and be the best we can be.”
Iowa opens the season Sept. 3 against Tennessee Tech. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.