Aug. 15, 2015
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By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Thousands of fans entered Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for the annual “Kids Day at Kinnick” to watch the University of Iowa football team take the field for practice on a day where the heat index hovered around 100 degrees.
“It was a good day today,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It was good to be in Kinnick and nice to work with the Kid Captains. It’s an outstanding concept and fun for us to have a chance to partner with them. I think everybody had a great time and had a great event prior to the scrimmage.”
The Hawkeyes’ 12th practice of the preseason was their first on Kinnick Stadium in 2015. The team had a chance to meet the 2015 Kid Captains before practice when the team was signing autographs.
“I was pleased to have a chance to get in Kinnick and be in front of fans,” Ferentz said. “We also had extended live work. It was the first time we have had that so far in camp.”
“It was nice to have a crowd because that is how it’s going to be on game day,” junior defensive back Greg Mabin said. “As for the heat, it’s just one of those things you can’t think about because you can’t control it. You just have to work through it.”
During practice there was no shortage of football to watch with multiple drills going on at once and plays being called at a faster pace.
“This was a chance for us to practice some situations under a higher tempo.” Ferentz said. “Our tempo has to pick up, but that is typical of a first scrimmage.”
Running back LeShun Daniels Jr. returns for his junior season after missing several games last season due to injury. Along with senior Jordan Canzeri, the duo looks to help solidify the backfield.
“It’s been intense at practice,” Daniels said. “Both sides of the ball are getting at it because we want to start off the season off right. We know that the only way to do that is going hard at practice every day.”
“He’s just done a really nice job since his injury,” Ferentz said. “He and Jordan (Canzeri) have had great springs and have been practicing well. When I talk about leadership, both those guys are up there.”
While most of the attention is on how the offense and defense will perform, special teams is a phase that Ferentz doesn’t want to lose track of.
“Tevaun (Smith) has expressed an interest in returning,” Ferentz said. “He feels like he can help us there and based on what we’ve seen; he looks pretty natural out there. Anybody that can help our special teams will be in there whether we have to rest them offensively or defensively. We’re not going to lose ground on special teams.”
Iowa opens the season on Sept. 5, hosting Illinois State at 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available by calling (800) IA-HAWKS or visiting hawkeyesports.com.