Tweeting into the 'Doghouse'

April 10, 2014

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 — When Angel White and LaShonda Kennedy are upset with their husbands, it could indicate good days ahead for University of Iowa football.

What it probably means is that Chris White and Bobby Kennedy, second-year assistant football coaches, are spending a lot of time on Twitter, an online social networking service.

“It’s building relationships with kids,” White said Wednesday at a news conference in the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “This Twitter thing, my wife is so mad at me. All I do at night is get on Twitter and message (recruits). We are doing a really good job of putting creative stuff out there right now.”

White, UI running backs and special teams coach, recruits New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He also taught Kennedy — a self-proclaimed Facebook guy — the fine art of effective tweeting. Kennedy coaches wide receivers and recruits Dallas, Colorado, and the Kansas City area.

“Chris White is a relentless worker in recruiting,” Kennedy said. “We came back after May last year after being out on the road, and I was not a Twitter guy. I saw him — we’re sitting on the couch talking, watching TV, and he’s on his phone all the time. He was messaging these kids. I kept asking him, ‘Hey, you’ve got to teach me how to do that.’ And he did.

“My wife gets mad at me, too.”

When White and Kennedy stow their smart phones for football practice, they work on developing the next wave of great Hawkeyes currently on the roster. On Wednesday they shed light on youngsters who will be running and catching the ball in the fall.

White mentioned redshirt freshmen running backs Akrum Wadley and Jonathan Parker.

“It’s going to be a little tougher around here to play. With some of the (recruits) we hope to get, I think it’s going to be even tougher.”
Bobby Kennedy
UI receivers coach

“They’re different types of backs that I don’t think we’ve had here in a while,” White said. “They have explosive speed, quickness, make-you-miss ability.”

He mentioned Barkley Hill and LeShun Daniels, Jr.

“Barkley is healthy again,” White said. “He had a nice scrimmage; he was physical and had some solid runs.”

A muscular and more flexible Daniels is explosive, faster, and making better cuts.

Seniors Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock combined for 1,442 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last season.

“Mark has made phenomenal runs, jump-cutting, looking fluid right now,” White said. “Bullock is 205 pounds and he has a running back body. We realize what he can do and we’re trying to get him isolated out there.”

Junior Jordan Canzeri emerged against Wisconsin in the ninth game of the season, averaging 11.6 yards per carry with a long of 43.

“Canzeri is instinctively probably the best running back we have in terms of seeing things and making cuts and having the balance we want bursting through a hole,” added White.

Kennedy stressed that playing time is earned throughout spring ball and he is pleased with the progress of sophomores Matt VandeBerg and Riley McCarron, and redshirt freshmen Derrick Mitchell, Jr., Andre Harris, and Derrick Willies.

“They continue to develop,” Kennedy said. “I’m really pleased we decided to redshirt some of these guys because they have the ability to not necessarily change the face of our program, but our ability to make plays outside.”

Kennedy said growth is being made to turn speedy senior Damond Powell into a complete receiver, rather than just a deep threat. Saying there is no elevator to success, Kennedy pointed out that juniors Tevaun Smith and Jake Hillyer are taking the stairs to climb the depth chart.

The leader of the receiving corps is senior Kevonte Martin-Manley, who led the Hawkeyes in 2013 with 40 receptions for 388 yards.

“The thing that makes him so good is what he does Monday through Friday because he works so hard,” Kennedy said. “I tell the younger guys they should watch the way that guy works and watch the way he competes.”

The UI running back and wide receivers, once thin and inexperienced groups, have grown into deep positions.

“It’s going to be a little tougher around here to play,” Kennedy said. “With some of the (recruits) we hope to get, I think it’s going to be even tougher.”

Hawkeye fans will favor that tweet.