Kelton Copeland on Iowa football's culture shift, 2020 receivers and more

Iowa receivers coach Kelton Copeland and receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) take the field to warm up for a game against
Iowa receivers coach Kelton Copeland and receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) take the field to warm up for a game against Miami (Ohio) at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland is from Miami, Fla. He signed up to play football at Saginaw (Mich.) Valley State under head coach Jerry Kill. He followed Kill to Emporia (Kan.) State. Kill left again. Copeland was heartbroken, but kept in touch with Kill and considers him a mentor in his life.

On this week’s On Iowa Podcast, we talk with Copeland about the powerlessness that a player might feel out there in the super-intense world of college football. Copeland will be an important voice for the Iowa football program as it moves toward … harmony, if we’re allowed to have that in football, which I think we are and, actually, should expect. Copeland knows this and that has already started.

We talk about coaches and cultural literacy. Copeland leads one of the most diverse rooms on the University of Iowa campus. It does take an awareness.

It wasn’t all the current issue with the Iowa program. Of course, we wanted to hear about Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith. I think what we’re seeing there, finally for Iowa WR, is the power of making it four years, taking the opportunity seriously and coach-player bonds where you do see the growth on the field.

We want to thank coach Copeland for joining us. It was a fantastic, enlightening conversation.

The racial tensions that have surrounded the Iowa football program for the last three weeks is still a thing. The program is talking its way through, and, frankly, so is anyone who cares about Iowa football.

It’s almost like “When is it OK to talk about the program again?”

Well, I think we’re there. The review will take “weeks, not months,” according to athletics director Gary Barta. That likely will be a new surge for this story. From there, we might want it to go away, but you know we can’t do that. Likely, dialogue will continue and you just have to hope that leads to healing for those who need it. And let’s not dismiss that, either.

We did nerd out on football a little bit. We ran through a bunch of Twitter questions, including one on fairness in drug testing. There’s a question on Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery, who is on the Big Ten’s anti-hate, anti-racism coalition.

We’re probably taking next week off, so here is a long podcast to enjoy on your deck, away from the world, in this stretch of beautiful weather in our beautiful state.

I think we can all agree we’ve had pretty great weather. I think we can agree on that.

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