116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa running backs coach Ladell Betts is the guest on this episode of the Hawk Off The Press podcast.
Among the discussion topics:
- His approach to fall camp with a young group of running backs.
- His thoughts on NIL and how often it comes up in recruiting.
- The importance of fullbacks at Iowa.
- What's changed at Iowa since his playing career and why he wanted to return as a coach.
One of the most obvious changes since Betts’ playing career? The program’s practice “bubble” has been replaced by a state-of-the-art facility. Here is part of our conversation:
John Steppe: Take me back to 2021 when you get the call from Kirk Ferentz offering the running backs coach position at your alma mater.
Ladell Betts: It was a good day. I was definitely excited. I applied for the position, went through all the rigors of trying to obtain the position, so when he finally called and told me that I was the choice, I was excited. My wife was excited for me. She knew that it was something I really wanted.
It’s good to be back. It always feels good to come back to where it kind of all started. But this isn’t the same Iowa of old. When I was here, ‘97, I got here in 1997, I think, ‘98, ‘99 we had some rough years and then we kind of got it turned around when Coach Ferentz got a chance to really put his imprint on things. Ever since then, they’ve been rolling.
This is a program that has been rolling for years. The bubble’s not here anymore like it was when I was there. We’ve got brand new facilities. So it’s an exciting place and I’m glad to be a part of it. It helps when I can go out and sell something that I believe in and something that I helped to contribute to as well, so it’s a good feeling to be back.
Steppe: Do you get reminiscent of the bubble?
Betts: You know what? I hate to say it, but I’m glad the bubble’s gone. These guys haven’t experienced that turf, that hard turf wasn’t too forgiving on our joints and on our skin either if you fell on it. I don’t miss the bubble.
Steppe: Do you remind them of how nice they have it?
Betts: All the time, all the time. I look at, down to the little things, like you just brought up the bubble. They have no idea about that. Or practicing on AstroTurf, or even during my tenure here the walk-ons didn’t get to eat team meals together with the scholarship players. That’s something that’s different.
There’s so many things that the players have available now that we didn’t. And we didn’t know any better. We thought it was the best thing in the world back then, but you realize things evolve and things change for the better.