By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Tristan Wirfs took daily walks past the record board outside the weight room in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center when he arrived on campus in 2017.
One record that caught his eye was the 443-pound hang clean by former University of Iowa offensive tackle and Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff.
“Every day, I walk past it and see it, so it was on my mind since I got here,” said Wirfs. “Something I really wanted was that record.”
In the weeks leading up to Iowa’s weight room max day in March, Wirfs had conversations of what he would attempt with Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
“Doyle came up the week before and asked what I wanted to have (on the bar),” said Wirfs. “I had no idea. I said 445? He’s like, ‘I know what you’re going to have, I just wanted to know what you thought.’ He knew he was going to have 450.
“The week before I hit 420 for a double and it felt pretty light. (Doyle) took a video of that and sent it to me. He told me to watch it 100 times, watch my technique, and that’s what I did for the whole week.”
In the days leading up to March 12, his teammates prodded, trying to pinpoint what was on deck for Wirfs. When his time came to lift, Wirfs made light work of 450 pounds, four times to take down Scherff’s mark from 2014.
“That’s the most I have ever lifted,” said Wirfs. “When I picked it up off the rack, it felt lighter than I expected. The atmosphere had something to do with it. I was pumped and ready to go.
“I couldn’t have done it if I walked in there any other day without my teammates in there hyping me up. That played a big role and whenever there is a camera in there, you have a little more in the tank.”
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) March 12, 2019
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz wants to see Wirfs’ weight room spectacle translate onto the football field this fall.
“That’s the next step,” said Wirfs. “I have to take that moving weight in the weight room on to the field. That’s what I have been trying to do this spring ball, finish guys more and move guys off the line of scrimmage.”
Wirfs doesn’t like the notion of playing mean, but at the same time, he wants to dominate.
“I hate when people say mean because I don’t feel like I am a mean person,” he said. “I am trying to get pancakes. That’s fantasy league stuff and being dominant. We’re striving to be dominant. I am going to do my best to do that.”
After helping Iowa’s rushing attack churn out 1,929 yards and average 4.0 yards per carry in 2018, Wirfs wants to see the Hawkeyes take another step forward.
“We’re not where we want to be,” he said. “We want 4.5 yards. We’re doing a good job so far on moving the line of scrimmage this spring.”
Wirfs says the spring 1-on-1 battles with defensive ends A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston have helped him become a better player.
“Going against them is so much fun,” Wirfs said “We have battles. We know what the other guy is going to do and we’re helping each other out, trying to get the best out of each other.”
It’s Hawkeyes helping Hawkeyes, just like in the weight room.
Iowa’s spring practice will continue through April 26. Requests for 2019 Iowa football season tickets can be submitted HERE or by calling 1-800-IAHAWKS.