Aug. 4, 2014
- 2014 Fall Camp Central — NEW!
- Read the June issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
By CHRIS BREWER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Following a week-long press tour that included stops in Chicago and Bristol, University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz opened his annual preseason press conference Monday by confirming the rumors… Iowa football season is getting close.
“That’s a good thing, certainly,” said Ferentz, who addressed a large contingent of Iowa media this afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “This is my fourth media opportunity in eight days, so I’m really on a roll right now. I thought I was talked-out last Monday (at Big Ten media days), so it is just good to get going here and actually start doing something this evening.”
The Hawkeyes open fall camp Monday night with a unique schedule. For the first time in his tenure, summer school has overlapped with the preseason, and Ferentz says his team will have to be “flexible” during the first week of camp.
“I’m not sure when we’ll do a team picture, but that’s kind of way down my list right now,” said Ferentz. “We’ll figure that out. But it is a little different that we won’t practice until this evening and that’s how it is going to be all week long.
“All that being said, we’re just looking forward to getting on the field, getting together with the players, and actually playing football. We have a lot of work to do and we’re here to get started.”
A year ago, the Iowa quarterback situation received top-billing at the annual media day. One year later it remains a topic, but it was bumped to page 2. This year, the graduation of three NFL-caliber linebackers could have been the lead — but it wasn’t.
Instead, the third phase of football jumped out of the gate — special teams. More specifically, who will replace kicker Mike Meyer?
“That is one of the questions,” answered Ferentz. “Just on the front of who our field goal kicker is, right now, I have no idea. Hopefully we’ll know a little bit more here in a couple of weeks.”
Marshall Koehn is the only kicker listed on the two-deep, which makes him the front-runner, but Ferentz has never been one to surrender a position and he expects someone to use the next three weeks to earn the position.”
“We just don’t know,” said Ferentz. “It could well be Marshall Koehn. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But we need to develop consistency at that position. The competition there should be healthy.”
The competition at quarterback is also healthy, but far less uncertain.The physical part has been really good. I think the mental part has a ways to go. We’re in shape right now to start practice, that part is great. Now we have to get into football shape and keep growing through our mental toughness, chemistry, teamwork, all of those things. We have a lot of work to doHead coach Kirk Ferentz
“We know who the two quarterbacks are and Jake Rudock is our starter. That’s not a debatable question right now,” said Ferentz. “We have two guys that are experienced and they continue to grow. They’re both improvement driven, and we thought they were better quarterbacks in the spring than they were back in January, and bank on that being the case this coming month that they’ll continue to improve.”
The third question asked addressed the other side of the ball — specifically sophomore cornerback Desmond King, who turned heads last year by leading all Big Ten freshmen in tackles.
“(That) is not something we foresaw even in camp (last year),” said Ferentz. “We were pleased with the way he practiced, you just never know what a guy’s going to do in game competition. For him as a true freshman to walk in there and do what he did and perform the way he did, a very tough position, it’s really admirable of him.”
The conversation eventually turned back to the linebacker position, and expansion, and the young receiving corps, and the departing linebacker group. But through all the details, Ferentz kept the day in perspective. The season is here, but it’s only Day 1.
“(This summer) was fun to watch the guys train and work and see how they handle things,” said Ferentz. “The physical part has been really good. I think the mental part has a ways to go. We’re in shape right now to start practice, that part is great. Now we have to get into football shape and keep growing through our mental toughness, chemistry, teamwork, all of those things. We have a lot of work to do.”
The Hawkeyes open the 2014 season by hosting Northern Iowa on Aug. 30 inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available for purchase by calling (800) IA-HAWKS or logging on to hawkeyesports.com.