By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Three University of Iowa football student-athletes — sophomore Djimon Colbert, senior Brandon Smith and sophomore Tyler Linderbaum — joined head coach Kirk Ferentz at a news conference Thursday in the Ted Pacha Family Club inside Kinnick Stadium.
Here are excerpts of what they had to say:
“We have already seen change in the weight room and locker room, guys being able to open up and not feel uncomfortable talking to guys that don’t look the same as you,” Colbert said. “It has been easy to see how it was before all this started and then to now.
“It’s a very open space, open discussion, honest feelings and honest opinions. There is a lot of raw emotion, a lot of raw discussion, but it’s good for our team and it’s stuff we have wanted to say, but now we feel comfortable to come out and say it.”
“It feels different in a better way,” Smith said. “The players are more comfortable and outspoken and they are more comfortable about everyone.”
The National Anthem Discussion
“It was a good discussion getting to hear both sides in how guys feel about it,” Colbert said. “We’re not there on a decision yet, but we know it is good to be able to have had that talk and see where everybody is able to gauge on it.
“You have your personal feelings about it, and being able to come out and talk about it as a young man, being respectful and being able to hear each other, that was the most important thing about it.”
“A message I would like to send out, if you come to the University of Iowa, your voice will be heard and you will be considered a valuable person to the team. What you say and how you feel is valid and important to others.”Senior wide receiver Brandon Smith
Your Voice Will be Heard at Iowa
“A message I would like to send out, if you come to the University of Iowa, your voice will be heard and you will be considered a valuable person to the team,” Smith said. “What you say and how you feel is valid and important to others.”
The COVID Challenge
“It has brought unique challenges, especially with all the people who pop up who have COVID and then people around them have to be quarantined,” Linderbaum said. “We’re taking it a day at a time and each workout could be your last workout for two weeks. You have to keep working hard and I think guys are starting to realize that you have to be smarter outside and what you do and the places you go.”
“Workouts have been going well,” Linderbaum said. “Times are different and it’s not something we’re used to, but we’re taking it a day at a time and that’s what you need to do. There is so much that is unknown as players. The older guys need to do a good job of bringing the younger guys with us and treat it one day at a time.”
Who’s the Quarterback?
“I have been working with all the quarterbacks — Spencer (Petras), Deuce (Hogan), Alex (Padilla), Connor (Kapisak),” Smith said. “All those guys are great college athletes, and whoever is the man for the job will do a great job.
“Spencer is a natural leader. Being behind Nate (Stanley) for two years, he shows a lot of characteristics Nate has. He’s not afraid to be vocal; Nate wasn’t the most rah-rah guy, but he would tell you to pick it up or be that encouraging guy for you. I think Spence has those characteristics as well. He has a strong arm and is a big guy, so he is a good quarterback fit.”
“We have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys coming back, but especially with the circumstances going on right now, we have to keep working hard,” Linderbaum said. “Nothing is going to be handed to us and we’re still playing in the Big Ten. There are other guys working just as hard as us.
“We have to take advantage of this time and keep pushing through it.”
What if There is No Season?
“It has crossed my mind, but I try to focus on now and what’s happening currently,” Smith said. “That’s working out, conditioning and taking it day-by-day.”
2020 Schedule Information
Iowa’s adjusted 2020 Big Ten Conference schedule is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. For ticket information, visit hawkeyesports.com/tickets.