April 17, 2013
- B. Ferentz/R. Morgan News Conference Highlights
- 2013 Spring Camp Central
- Read the April issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- 2013 Signing Day Central
- Hawkeyes in the NFL
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app!
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The offensive line is a tale of two cities, plus a suburb, says University of Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz.
City A includes nine players that have played a snap. City B is seven players who redshirted a season ago. The suburb is right tackle Brett Van Sloten, all 6-foot-7, 300 pounds of him — a player that started all 12 games as a junior.
“We have one guy coming back who has played significant time for us at a high level,” Ferentz said Wednesday at a news conference inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “The other six guys that have started have been sporadic at best.
“There is some experience there, but it’s not a total wealth of experience. Once you get past that, out of the next nine guys, seven of them weren’t eligible to play in a football game for us last season.”
“We know we have to run the football, however we are going to do that. We have to be able to run it when we want to run it and run it when they know we want to run it… that’s the real trick.”
UI offensive line coach Brian Ferentz
Two of the returnees, juniors Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal, are coming off of injuries sustained on successive plays last season against Penn State. Ferentz says the Hawkeyes need to be able to maintain their performance through injuries.
“The goal for us it to build the kind of depth to be able to play with consistency and not see performance decline when you suffer injuries,” said Ferentz. “We are fortunate right now to have everybody in the group healthy with the exception of Nolan (MacMillan).
“Everybody is working, and that’s a good thing, but we need to understand what we’re dealing with right now when we have five healthy guys, that’s not going to be the case in November. That’s the business we’re in.”
Ferentz likes the depth at the center position with Austin Blythe, Eric Simmons, Conor Boffeli and Tommy Gaul vying to replace three-year starter James Ferentz. He also says the growth Ryan Ward and Cole Croston made during their redshirt seasons was substantial.
The key to the offensive line’s production and success is consistency, and it is an area Ferentz looks for from the position group on a daily basis.
“If you don’t perform with consistency, you really can’t expect to have good results, you’re doing too much of the yo-yo effect,” said Ferentz. “You want to be the same every play. That’s what we are always looking to build.
“The trick to that is, can you move pieces in and out and can you move guys in and out and maintain a certain level of play? That’s always the trick, and I don’t feel like we did that very well last year.”
Ferentz says for the Iowa offense to be successful, it starts with running the ball.
“We know we have to run the football, however we are going to do that,” he said. “We have to be able to run it when we want to run it and run it when they know we want to run it… that’s the real trick.”
Ferentz scoffed at the perception that his arrival has taken Iowa football into the 21st century.
“I bristle at the notion that we are archaic or that our head coach is,” said Ferentz. “He’s not. He has an iPhone and iPad. (Not being on) Twitter is a personal decision and that is unique to every person. If you saw our head coach on Twitter or doing those kind of things, those aren’t in his personality. That’s not natural to him.”
On alternate uniforms: “That’s not really in his personality either. I’ve seen his closet, and I can say that because I am his son. The alternate uniforms have been worn here before; those were in the works (before I got here). You can’t get that done overnight.”
The Hawkeyes will hold an open practice Saturday, April 27, inside Kinnick Stadium, beginning at 2 p.m. (CT).