IOWA CITY — Iowa long snapper Jackson Subbert knows he’s far from the center of attention in the Hawkeyes’ fall football camp, and he’s more than OK with that.
“Definitely as a long snapper, you’re doing your job if you don’t know the long snapper’s name,” Subbert said.
As Subbert sees it, it’s a rather straightforward job.
“You turn around and throw the ball between your legs, I guess,” Subbert said. “That’s about all there is to it. ... You just practice some and cross your fingers and hope for the best.”
Yet those repetitive steps provide much-needed certainty to a special teams group with several questions looming at the beginning of camp.
“You need to have some stabilizing force, and I think he’s been that,” Iowa special teams coordinator LeVar Woods said. “He’s been that way since last year for the group.”
Subbert is working with a more traditional punter in Colten Rastetter and a more rugby-style punter in Michael Sleep-Dalton. Both are seniors — Sleep-Dalton a graduate transfer from Arizona State — and head coach Kirk Ferentz recognized both as competitive options.
Woods said the fight for playing time at kicker has been “incredibly competitive” between juniors Keith Duncan and Caleb Shudak, and he may use both on a regular basis.
With that uncertainty, Woods is looking for Subbert to become a more vocal leader, which isn’t necessarily the most natural thing for him.
“He’s a little bit reserved as a person,” Woods said.
Subbert is quick to deflect attention. When asked about being a stabilizing force with the competition around him, he quickly mentioned the other long snappers he’s technically competing with, even if Woods all but declared Subbert the Week 1 starter.
Subbert already has the intelligence to be a more vocal leader.
“If you really truly get to know him, he’s a deep thinker,” Woods said.
Woods also noted Subbert’s improved consistency on field goal attempts in camp, an area where Woods was hoping Subbert would improve.
Subbert had the benefit of learning from a strong lineage of Iowa long snappers. Casey Kreiter has been in the NFL after leaving the Hawkeyes in 2014. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance in January, becoming the first Broncos long snapper to appear in the Pro Bowl in team history.
“Just learning from these different guys, not just fundamentally but what it actually takes mentally to play the position,” Subbert said. “They have been a great help to me.”
Now Subbert is soaking in the final months of his career,
“It’s really tough to have all these (lasts) — the last day of camp, the last conditioning day in the summer,” Subbert said. “It’s winding down, so really just trying to enjoy everything you can and soak it in because in a couple months it will gone.”
l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org