Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | Hawk Talk Monthly — March 2017 | 2017 Football Season Tickets | KinnickEdge.org | A VIDEO — A Look Toward the 2017 Season | Signing Day Central | Transcript in PDF Format
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa assistant coach LeVar Woods has added special teams coordinator to his title, head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Monday at a news conference previewing spring football practice.
Woods is in his 10th season on the Hawkeye coaching staff and will begin his third season as tight ends coach. He coached linebackers from 2012-14 and was administrative assistant from 2008-11. Woods was a letterwinner for the Hawkeyes from 1998-2000 before playing seven seasons in the National Football League.
That was the most significant personnel announcement Ferentz made Monday. Iowa begins its 15-practice spring schedule Wednesday; an open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa, will be April 7.
“It’s a small way for us to say thank you to the fans (in central Iowa), all the people that venture over to Kinnick Stadium on the weekends,” Ferentz said. “Even people on the western side of the state, and surrounding states, it gives them an opportunity to see the team without traveling as far.”
The annual spring game will be April 21 in Kinnick Stadium.
Although Iowa’s student-athletes resumed strength and conditioning workouts in January, the time between March 22-April 21 is a “starting point” to jelling as a team in September.
“It’s a chance for our team to be together and work together on the field,” Ferentz said. “Our level of teamwork won’t be near what it should or will be in September, but it’s a starting point and that’s important. It gives us a chance to assess the players’ weaknesses, what their strengths are, and get a better grip on that, since we haven’t seen them on the field since December, basically.”
Ferentz said senior wide receiver Matt VandeBerg and senior fullback Drake Kulick are rehabbing injuries and will not participate in spring drills. Senior running back Akrum Wadley will not participate in contact drills.
“We have seen them play and have a good indication of where they’re at,” Ferentz said. “We expect them to be ready in June.”
It will be the first spring for a new-look offensive coaching staff. Brian Ferentz was named offensive coordinator following the 2016 season and former offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe has returned as quarterbacks coach after a five-year stint in the NFL. Fresh faces in the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building include wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland and offensive line coach Tim Polasek.
“The energy has been great in that room, the exchange has been good,” Ferentz said. “I’m eager to see the guys out on the field, working together as a staff coaching the offense.”
Iowa (8-5 overall) closed the regular season with three straight victories and played in the Outback Bowl. It marked the program’s fourth consecutive January bowl appearance. The Hawkeyes return eight starters on defense, seven on offense, and two specialists.
Questions concerning the purchase of 2017 football tickets, including general public, University of Iowa faculty/staff and UI student seasons tickets by current UI students, should be directed to the UI Athletics Ticket Office. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CT). The office telephone number is 1-800-IA-HAWKS. Information is also available at hawkeyesports.com/tickets. The deadline for season ticket renewals is Friday, March 31.