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Harty: A different intensity on D-line

[ 0 ] September 19, 2012 |
Coaches come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and personalities.
 
They have different ways to teach and inspire their players, ways that fit their beliefs.

Some coaches are in-your-face screamers, who go ballistic over the littlest mistakes, whereas others are more reserved and more tolerable of imperfections.

It’s impossible to say that one is better than the other because there are plenty of screamers and plenty of non-screamers who have thrived as coaches.

It’s also hard to know for sure how members of the Iowa football coaching staff conduct themselves on a regular basis because all but about two or three of the team’s practices throughout the year are closed to the public.

So, we’ll just have to take the Iowa defensive linemen at their word when they say that the atmosphere is better with Reese Morgan coaching them as opposed to Rick Kaczenski, who resigned as the defensive line coach shortly after last season to take the same job at Nebraska.

Kaczenski had his way of doing things, and according to accounts from current and former players, his way often was to get in your face and scream until you did what he wanted you to do.

Morgan, on the other hand, has a different kind of intensity, the players say. He rarely has to scream for his message to be heard.

“You just had to try and block it out and be positive with it,” Iowa senior defensive end Joe Gaglione said of Kaczenski’s tendency to loudly criticize his players. “I still think he’s a great coach. He definitely got the best out of players when he was here.

“But it definitely is easier to respond to positive enthusiasm rather than negative enthusiasm.”

Gaglione credits the 62-year-old Morgan for getting the best out of him just in time. This is Gaglione’s last chance to make an impact as a fifth-year senior, and Morgan seems to be pushing the right motivational buttons.

Gaglione leads Iowa with 5½ tackles for loss and two sacks heading into Saturday’s game against Central Michigan at Kinnick Stadium. The Iowa defensive line also has exceeded expectations as a group after entering the season as a perceived weakness.

“I think coach Morgan is great guy,” Gaglione said. “He’s a teacher, that’s the biggest thing. He takes his time with you. And I know definitely with the younger guys he goes out of his way to answer questions.

“And it helps, too, because he’s been the offensive line coach for a while. So he understands protections and schemes like that, so he give us a heads up, like, ‘Hey they’re sliding left or they’re sliding right.’ So when you’re in a stance you can kind of anticipate that kind of stuff and it definitely helps.”

In fairness to Kaczenski, he did produce while on the job at Iowa. He oversaw the rise to stardom of Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard, and he helped transform Karl Klug and Mike Daniels from little-known recruits to all-Big Ten players.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini also was willing to hire Kaczenski, so he must be doing something right, although one of Nebraska’s starting defensive linemen already has quit the team this season.

Gaglione stopped short of criticizing Kaczenski’s coaching style, but former Hawkeye John Raymon told HawkeyeInsider.com in January that he didn’t like playing for Kaczenski because of how he treated him.

Raymon quit the team last fall after just one semester.

“I don’t want to blame it all on him,” Raymon said. “There were obviously things I did that caused me to not be successful in Iowa City. One of the major problems was the relationship between me and my defensive line coach, though.”

Morgan was unavailable for comment because Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz prohibits his assistant coaches from speaking to the media during the season unless given special permission.

It wouldn’t have mattered, though, because Morgan fails miserably when it comes to talking about himself. He’s all about his players and his players appreciate that.

Iowa’s inexperience on the defensive line is one of the reasons Ferentz switched Morgan to defensive line coach.

“I really do think coach Ferentz did a great job of selecting the staff earlier this year, and I think coach Morgan was a great fit,” Gaglione said. “With all the young guys, he really takes his time.

“I know in the past we haven’t had the young guys in our meetings during the week and he has the young guys sit in when we’re going over a game plan for a team so they know what to expect.”

Morgan also does it out of respect for his players. So much of what he does is for that reason.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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