Wilson Comfortable in New Role

March 28, 2012

Coach Ferentz/Coach Erb/Coach Wilson Press Conference Transcript

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa assistant football coach Darrell Wilson is in his 11th season with the Hawkeyes, but in 2012, he’ll be returning to his roots.

As a part of Iowa’s defensive staff’s reshuffling, Wilson moved from the linebackers coach to the defensive backs during the offseason — a not unfamiliar role.

“I’ve had opportunities (with the position),” said Wilson at Wednesday’s press conference inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “I played in the secondary, and my first job was in the secondary, so that’s not really new to me.”

Wilson was an honorable mention I-AA All-America defensive back at Connecticut from 1976-80 before getting his first taste as a collegiate coach with the position at Rhode Island from 1996-98. Wilson has worked with the linebackers since joining Iowa in 2002.

In his new role, Wilson has a blend of youth and experience. Senior Micah Hyde returns for his third season as a starter at one of the corners, while a healthy B.J. Lowery steps into the opposite corner position left by the graduated Shaun Prater.

“He’s tremendous, has great feet, great hips and with that hand healing, he’s able to use it a lot more in our press technique,” said Wilson of Lowery. “He’s going to be a tremendous football player for us. He’s that guy who can press a guy, run with him and break all of the different routes.”

Along with returning starter Tanner Miller at the safety position, Iowa has a group of players battling for playing time in Nico Law, John Lowdermilk, Tom Donatell and Colin Sleeper.

Tanner Miller had a really good year last year, and he’s doing a nice job again,” said Wilson. “Nico is extremely talented, still learning the game, but he’s going to be a nice player. John Lowdermilk moved back on the hash and he’s really comfortable back there with Tom and Collin. We feel we have a great group of safeties.”

While Wilson said the general defensive scheme hasn’t changed, tweaks have been made “here and there” within the system. The Hawkeyes are practicing all the techniques this spring and experimenting with a more aggressive style.

“We feel with the talent we have, we can close the cushion down and that’s something we have been working on in the winter and right now during spring practice,” said Wilson. “We have talked about aligning a little closer; trust the technique; trust yourself.

“That’s what we talk about, trust yourselves, trust your ability and we’ll teach you the technique, but trust yourselves. If they can do that, we’ll be fine.”

With four solid defensive back options in Hyde, Lowery, Greg Castillo and Jordan Lomax, Wilson said more press coverage could open a few things for the Iowa defense.

“We could probably do a lot of things up front,” said Wilson. “We have four solid corners that can do a few different things. Some guys like to press, some like to play off. We are giving them an opportunity to do those things.

“Right now they are enjoying it and it allows us as a coaching staff to sit back and say `hey, maybe we can do this, maybe we can do that’, those type of things.”

While he’s only had a few practices under his belt in his new role, Wilson is excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.

“We have an extremely talented group, both young and old,” he said. “We feel really comfortable about the young men we have on the outside.”

Check back to hawkeyesports.com on Thursday to read a story about assistant coach/running backs coach Lester Erb.