116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The cross section of players who talked Wednesday was incredibly interesting.
You had veterans in seniors James Morris, Christian Kirksey and C.J. Fiedorowicz. Each one of them is in a different place in their career and their lives. Still, they all had a distracted undertone, like they have something they have to take care of before their finished. And, yes, we are now talking about the 4-8 record from 2012.
It's not a hostility towards questions that look back at 4-8, it's more of a reflection. Like perhaps trying to remember what to do when your car is underwater. But yes, the shelf life on 4-8 questions is closing in.
Then you had sophomore Austin Blythe, who's starting a new job at center. Running back Jordan Canzeri is back from a torn ACL. Running back Mark Weisman will be a page in Big Ten scouting reports this season after rising out of anonymity as a sophomore.
You get the feeling that WR Kevonte Martin-Manley would like a re-write of the questions he receives nearly weekly on the passing offense.
Interesting characters coming from different perspectives. Will it work next fall, I don't know, but you sense a rising tide of optimism.
The quest for the Iowa offense is more explosive plays, that's where this video starts. Last year is last year, and at least for KMM, the finger-pointing is over.
KMM on the QB race: "They all have teen numbers, so I don't know who's throwing me the ball half of the time. Seriously."
He was kidding, but for the record Jake Rudock is 15, C.J. Beathard 16 and Cody Sokol 19.
Under new running backs coach Chris White, Weisman is being asked to expand his game as a running back.
But don't get that wrong. He's 238 pounds and can run, so he'll still run people over.
-- Percentage of plays where Weisman might end up at fullback: "Probably not very high percentage right now." But, he quickly reminded, it's spring and RB depth is always going to be a thing at Iowa.
Weisman also talks about learning the art of the juke.
The move to center was something the sophomore saw coming. Sounds as though he was being groomed since his redshirt freshman year.
"It hasn't been a big adjustment at all," Blythe said.
-- What is the center saying and pointing at out there? Well, he's IDing defenders the O-line needs to block, the front four and the middle linebacker.
-- "I think we're all playing faster."
-- Blythe is asked about the three QBs. Not a big deal, he said.
-- The default for the Iowa offense always will be a strong running game, which is what you'd expect a center to say.
Iowa has always had a "flush it" mentality for when things go wrong and the team needs to forge ahead.
But they do watch film and re-visit the things that need fixing. I asked Morris what he studied during the winter from the 2012 season.
The answers were the Penn State and Northwestern games.
Canzeri suffered a torn ACL last spring, and, as you can imagine, last season sucked for him. He sort of lived in limbo. He recovered enough to practice and was ready to play. Iowa kept losing running backs. He was told that he was going in against Indiana. But it never happened.
So now, he's a fully healthy sophomore and one of the hungriest players on the team.
Kirksey is a senior. Time really does fly sometimes.
The St. Louis native has become his own man in Iowa City. In the first month after he moved to college, his dad died unexpectedly. He's had to grow up and be strong, something he credits his teammates with.
The senior TE likes the verticality Iowa's offense has showed this spring. He believes that will open up so much more for the Hawkeyes, who were extremely hard on the eyes offensively in 2012.
-- Fiedorowicz also wouldn't mind seeing a QB win the job ASAP.
“Each guy has his own little thing that he does well,” he said. “No one has stepped way ahead of the other. Hopefully in these next few practices we're going to get to know who's going to be our top quarterback.”
Here's the DC Phil Parker video that I couldn't fit on the coaches post.
The 349 rushing yards Northwestern put up on the Hawkeyes last season left a mark.
Parker said it's all in the angles.
"If you go back and look at the plays that actually came out of that, obviously some guys that are maybe not in the right gap, some guys not taking the right angles. Some of the big plays that came out are leverage problems, base football, understanding how to run to the ball, how to seek the guys. Sometimes just because you're running fast doesn't mean you're going in the right proper position to go ahead and track a guy. I think a couple of those were broken up just because of bad angles."
The game is about angles. I think we didn't do a good enough job in that area."