Drew Cook joins the family business

Quarterback moves to tight end; plan for A.J. Epenesa; two-a-days are now marathons

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IOWA CITY — Maybe it was inevitable, but maybe Drew Cook wanted to cut his own path. And let’s face it, quarterback is always going to be a monumentally more interesting position than tight end.

Now, Cook is in the family business. Cook, a 6-5, 235-pound sophomore from Iowa City, moved from quarterback to tight end last week. Drew’s dad, Marv, was an all-American tight end for the Hawkeyes in 1988. Marv Cook also holds Iowa’s reception record for tight ends (126) and had 1,825 career receiving yards.

“I think he can help our football team win sooner at that position than the other (quarterback),” head coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday. “It’s just a decision we kind of came to as a staff. He was really excited about it and engaged in it. He’s done a really good job out there learning right now four practices into it. I think he’s got tremendous upside.”

Yes, Iowa will have eight scholarship and nine tight ends on the roster this fall. That’s OK, one of first-year offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s goals is to find a little more size on the perimeter. That can be either wide receiver or tight end.

“He does have physical attributes and he’s got a real chance to be successful there,” Brian Ferentz said.

The tentative plan for A.J. Epenesa

Incoming freshman A.J. Epenesa will arrive as a 5-star recruit in August. At 6-5, 272 pounds, with a prep all-American football pedigree, a terrific basketball resume and national acclaim in the discus ring, you’re already wondering how to get his name and number on the back of your Hawkeye jersey.

OK, maybe you are. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker laid out a tentative plan for Epenesa. It’s tentative because he remains an incoming freshman.

There are going to be some curves — learning, technique, speed of the game, size of the opponent.

“He has a lot of things to learn and to ask a true freshman as a defensive lineman to come in, and, hey, you’re going to be our starting defensive end and we’re going to move you inside and play a three-technique or one-technique. I think that’s a little too much right now,” Parker said.

The key word is “incoming.”

“I think get him in here in the summer when we do have some time, get him in the weight room with coach (Chris) Doyle, and see how he progresses and see if we can catch him up to speed to make sure,” Parker said. “If we can get 15, 20 plays out of him during the game, I think that would be, you know, very good if we can do that.”

Kirk Ferentz hates that two-a-days are gone

Kirk Ferentz was cool with some, not all, of the NCAA football rules changes passed last week. Ferentz has long hoped for an early signing period. There’s now a December signing date (though Ferentz would prefer an earlier signing date, June or September).

Two-a-day contact practices were banned. That one didn’t sit well with Ferentz. The new rule states you can have two practices, with one contact practice lasting as long as three hours and then a “walk-through” period (no contact or pads) that can go as long as two hours.

“It’s something that’s been passed down, from my vantage point, zero dialogue of people that work in football, out on the field,” Kirk Ferentz said. “. . . I’ve never participated in two-hour walk through and don’t plan to in my lifetime.

“It’s like the Burma Road right there. So you’re talking about five hours potentially on the field, and we’ve never done that ever.

“. . . The biggest thing I have is the length. It’s going to be boring as can be. I think we’re going to have to have Monopoly tournaments. Things like that. It’s going to be a lot of waste of time, and quite frankly to me, camp is about keeping guys on the clock, being efficient, making sure you’re moving. That’s part of the mental part of the camp, too.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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