Aug. 16, 2104
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — More than 12,000 fans attended Saturday’s “Kid’s Day at Kinnick” to take in the University of Iowa football team’s 16th practice of fall camp.
“It was good to be out here today,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “It was a great crowd and great to have the kids out here. I was driving in today thinking maybe this (event) had outlived its purpose, but it was a tremendous turnout.”
The Hawkeyes signed autographs for 45 minutes upon arriving at the stadium, and the team met and swarmed onto the field with the 2014 Kid Captains.
“It was cool to be around the kids,” said senior defensive lineman Carl Davis. “You feel like a cartoon character when you’re in (the locker room with them), and they see you all dressed up in shoulder pads. They look at you in a certain way and the look in their eyes; you can see they are really enjoying it. I love giving back as much as I can.”
On the field, the Hawkeyes went through two hours of live action and situational drills.
“We started out a little slow, but that’s what happens when you start hitting,” said junior quarterback Jake Rudock. “It’s a little different. We started getting drives going and moving the ball, and at the end of the day that’s what we wanted to do.”
Ferentz says injuries have been one of the negatives of camp. The Hawkeyes lost fullback Adam Cox for the season with an ACL injury and several Hawkeyes have been banged up since camp began Aug. 4.
“We’ve had way too many camp injuries… (players missing) three, four days,” said Ferentz. “It is hard to establish continuity and move forward when you have that many guys out. It seems like we have a few more than we need.”
“Part of (them playing) is due to injury, but some has been merited by their performance,” said Ferentz. “We’re not ruling (playing them) out, but we have a lot of decisions to make this week, in the next seven days and even the next 24 hours. We need to be zeroing in on what our combinations are going to be so we can work them and make sure they are what we think they are.”
Iowa’s placekickers — Marshall Koehn (0-of-2), Miguel Recinos (0-of-1), and Mick Ellis (1-of-1) — struggled during the scrimmage, missing 3-of-4 field goal attempts. Ferentz says the results were uncharacteristic of what he has seen through the first 15 practices.
“Ironically, that has been one of the highlights of camp,” he said. “I wasn’t overwhelmed with what we were doing on the field, punting or kicking last spring, but both those areas have looked good up until today.
“Today was not representative of what we’ve seen, and hopefully it isn’t representative of what we do in Kinnick because we won’t be playing games on the practice field.”
With a week remaining before the break of camp, senior Kevonte Martin-Manley says it is imperative the Hawkeyes maintain their focus.
“We still have a lot of work to do in the next week,” he said. “We have to keep our head down and keep working. Our first game is approaching fast.”
Iowa opens the regular season Aug. 30, hosting Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available by calling (800) IA-HAWKS or visiting www.hawkeyesports.com.