Iowa coach says this is his youngest team, looks for continued improvement


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz spoke to the media Monday with four days of fall practice already completed. Ferentz says every day of practice is key heading into the season opener in Chicago. “The good news I think we have a lot of healthy competition at a lot of different spots, that’s certainly a positive. We have a depth chart that’s been distributed, it’s pretty much something you’ll probably be able to throw out the window in a week or two because I think this is the kind of football team that is going to look different in the weeks ahead and heading and certainly as we go into September and October,” Ferentz says. “Obviously what we’re doing on the field right now is going to be very important.” This will be Ferentz’s 14th season and what he calls his youngest team.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have been in the program, I think when they get the opportunity they’ll do a fine job,” Ferentz says. He says this will be a little like the 2009 season where many of the starters on the offensive line were new going in, but they did a good job. Greg Davis takes over as the offensive coordinator, and there will be a new face carrying the ball after turnover at the position. Ferentz says they’ll go with the players who are in camp, and so far they are coming along. “You know everybody looks good right now, but you’d expect that. Over the course of time usually the picture becomes a little bit more clear, and then the other obvious part, more important part of it, is how players perform in games,” Ferentz explained. “And that’s something you just can’t simulate in practice, its a different arena certainly. So the first hurdle is what do we get done in camp, who looks the best and we’ll try to get them line up correctly, and see how they respond once they go to Chicago, and that will be the next phase.”

One constant for the offense is senior quarterback James Vandenberg. “You know this is James’ senior year. I don’t want to overstate it for him or speak for him, but he obviously wants to play his best football this year as you would hope,” Ferentz says. He says Vandenberg got with the new offensive coordinator early on and was probably ahead of everyone in learning it. “Flipping it over on Greg’s side, how do you not love James Vandenberg? James is just an outstanding guy, so I think that has been a pretty good marriage certainly already.”

The defense will also have a new coordinator, but in this case, Phil Parker was already on the staff and moved up. Ferentz says it’s not as big a transition for the defense to the new coordinator because all the terminology is the same. The Hawkeyes open the season against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago.