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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.

Olympics: Iowa native Lolo Jones posts 2nd fastest time in 100 hurdles heat races


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa native Lolo Jones advanced to the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles Monday, at the London Olympics. The Des Moines Roosevelt graduate won her quarterfinal round heat by posting the second fastest time (12.68 seconds) of the 50 athletes in the field. Des Moines Register sports columnist Bryce Miller, who’s in London, believes Jones has a good shot at winning a medal. Miller also watched Jones compete in Eugene, Oregon in June at the Olympic Trials where she narrowly qualified for the final spot on the U.S. team.

“I don’t think I would’ve said she had a shot to medal at the trials, but I’m rethinking that a bit now,” Miller told Radio Iowa. Sally Pearson of Australia, the ’08 silver medalist who’s ranked number-one in the world, posted the fastest time this morning at 12.57 seconds. Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells also advanced to the semifinals. Harper won Olympic gold in 2008 after Jones was leading the race, but Jones clipped the second to last hurdle and stumbled to a 7th place finish. Miller said Monday, this is the healthiest Jones has been in over a year.

“She had surgery last August, a year out from the Olympics, and then she had a couple of hamstring injuries earlier this year,” Miller said. “So, they really went into the trials without training or working out significantly. To make the Olympic team with the (quality) field they had, that said something, and then today (Monday) she ran with even more confidence. You could tell talking to her and her coach, I think she truly is significantly healthier than she’s been (dating) all the way back into last summer.” Jones posted her best time of the season Monday. Miller said Jones and the other medalist hopefuls will run even faster, Tuesday.

“Who didn’t put the foot on the gas all the way during the heat races? I would imagine Dawn Harper, looking at her race, didn’t go at top speed because she won so easily. Kellie Wells was in the same situation. So, we’ll find out, but it was a good start (for Jones), there’s no doubt about it,” Miller said. Dawn Harper, like Jones, has ties to Iowa. Harper’s father and siblings live in Iowa City. The semifinal races for the 100 meter hurdles are scheduled for 1:15 p.m., Iowa time,  Tuesday. The final will take place at 3 p.m., Iowa time.

Douglas finishes last in Olympics competition, Monday


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

LONDON (AP) — Russian’s Aliya Mustafina won the title on uneven bars, just 18 months after blowing out her knee and putting her chances for London in doubt. All-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas finished last among the eight competitors. She’ll get another shot at adding to her personal medal count in the individual balance beam on Tuesday.

Chiefs working on new-look offense


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — After finishing next-to-last in scoring last season, the Kansas City Chiefs have several reasons to hope for a big offensive rebound. Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles is back from ACL surgery, as is tight end Tony Moeaki. A new offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, has installed a new offense, and quarterback Matt Cassel looks to be 100 percent healed from a hand injury that shelved him for the last seven games in 2011. Kansas City also will be counting on a trio of free agent acquisitions: right tackle Eric Winston, running back Peyton Hillis and tight end Kevin Boss. Romeo Crennel, who has replaced Todd Haley as head coach, refuses to put a label on his new system other than calling it “a winning offense.”

Iowa DB Collin Sleeper suspended


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Reserve defensive back Collin Sleeper of Iowa will serve what coach Kirk Ferentz termed a multigame suspension because of past rules violations. Ferentz announced the suspension Monday at the Hawkeyes’ media day. He did not specify the length of the suspension other than to say it would last at least two games. Ferentz also did not say what rules Sleeper had violated. Sleeper, a senior from Solon, is listed as a backup at strong safety on the team’s depth chart. He played in 11 games last year and made 14 tackles.

Westbrook, Jay, Beltran lead Cardinals over Giants


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jake Westbrook threw six solid innings and Carlos Beltran hit his 26th home run as the St. Louis Cardinals beat Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants 8-2 Monday night. The Cardinals have won four in a row overall and seven straight at home. San Francisco had a three-game winning streak stopped. Jon Jay went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs for the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter added a two-run, bases-loaded single. Angel Pagan and Buster Posey homered for the Giants.

Pacific Coast League Baseball Scores (from 8/6/12) & Schedule for Aug. 7th


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Monday’s Games

Reno 2, Iowa 1

Colorado Springs 10, Omaha 7

Las Vegas 4, Round Rock 1

Tucson 14, Albuquerque 11

Salt Lake 4, Oklahoma City 3, 10 innings

Fresno 2, Memphis 1, 10 innings

Nashville 5, Sacramento 3

New Orleans 9, Tacoma 4

Tuesday’s Games

Colorado Springs at Omaha, 7:05 p.m. (all times are Central Daylight Time – CDT)

Las Vegas at Round Rock, 7:05 p.m.

Reno at Iowa, 7:05 p.m.

Tucson at Albuquerque, 8:05 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Salt Lake, 8:05 p.m.

Nashville at Sacramento, 9:05 p.m.

New Orleans at Tacoma, 9:05 p.m.

Memphis at Fresno, 9:05 p.m.

Cubs place Garza on DL


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza has been placed on the 15-day disabled list and will be shut down “indefinitely,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. Garza hasn’t pitched since he felt stiffness in his right elbow in a July 21 start at St. Louis. An MRI of his elbow showed some irritation at the tip of a bone in what is being characterized a “stress reaction.” Hoyer said Garza won’t throw for at least two weeks, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of his return this season. Garza was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts. Raley was 4-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs are expected to recall left-hander Brooks Raley to make his major league debut Tuesday in San Diego.

Running back still not cleared for practice


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin running back Montee Ball hasn’t been cleared to practice as he recovers from a concussion sustained when he was roughed up by five men in an early morning incident near campus last week. Badgers coach Bret Bielema says the team will work Ball back into practice slowly, and hopes he will be ready for the Sept. 1 season opener against Northern Iowa.

Brad Rogers looking at new role for Iowa


August 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Brad Rogers is trying to become the answer to one of the biggest questions hanging over the Iowa football team. Attrition caused by transfers and dismissals has stripped the Hawkeyes of any veteran talent at running back. That puts Rogers, the starting fullback last season, in the mix as the primary ball carrier, along with Damon Bullock and incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill. Coach Kirk Ferentz says that because of what’s happened at the position the last couple of years, anyone who can run the ball is getting a look in preseason practice. But none of the candidates has much experience in that role. Rogers, a junior, has carried the ball only 14 times for 83 yards in his career. Bullock, a sophomore, had just 10 carries for 20 yards last fall.