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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team is rounding the final corner, heading into the final straightaway before reaching the start of the 2015 season.
Big Ten Football Media Days take place in Chicago from July 30-31. The Hawkeyes open fall camp Aug. 6, and Iowa’s Media Day in Iowa City is two days later. Iowa football is just around the corner.
“We’re coming down the home stretch of summer workouts,” said senior offensive lineman Austin Blythe. “We’re ready to get into fall camp. The team is excited to get started, and (that attitude) is evident in our summer workouts. Guys are ready to go.”
The Hawkeyes are eager to get back on the field following the way the 2014 season ended — a streak that included three straight defeats, including a 45-28 setback to Tennessee in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl.
“We’re hungry for a win,” said senior wide receiver Jacob Hillyer. “We came off that Tennessee game feeling disrespected. We can only look internally at ourselves. This entire summer it has been on our minds.
“We have to come back and show what we’re made of. That has been a motivation this summer.”
The Hawkeyes have spent the summer training with strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, focusing on becoming better athletes through extensive drills, footwork, and conditioning.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” said Hillyer. “Doyle had some good things planned out for us, getting ready for camp and this season. The main phrase is hard work.”
Hillyer believes junior quarterback C.J. Beathard is ready to put his stamp on the Hawkeye offense, and says Beathard is showing the leadership qualities to get it done.
“We have gotten great leadership from C.J.,” said Hillyer. “He’s there with the receivers, running backs, and tight ends, making sure his offense is ready for this fall.
“Now we have one guy that we can look at and point to as our leader. We (the receivers) like that because we can build off that and understand his throwing rhythm. We feel confident in him.”
As is the Hawkeye way, Iowa is leaning on the upperclassmen to lead the way, to finish off summer workouts strong, and get the underclassmen and newcomers ready for 2015.
“The big thing about Iowa is everybody has a responsibility to do things right,” said Blythe. “It falls on the seniors and guys that have been here to push (the newcomers) to tell them if they’re doing anything wrong. We have to get guys going and ready for the first game.”
Three of Iowa’s first four games in the 2015 season will be played inside Kinnick Stadium, beginning with a Sept. 5 contest against Illinois State. Tickets are available for purchase at www.hawkeyesports.com.