IOWA CITY, Ia. – Mention Bobby Kennedy’s name, and you’ll get a smile.
Iowa’s new receivers coach is fast becoming a locker room favorite, with his easy-going manner and knack for conversation.
“He’s a great story teller,” said Jim Reid, who recently joined the Hawkeyes football program as a linebackers coach. “And (Kennedy) has got some great stories from some great places he’s worked.”
Kennedy spent seven seasons at Texas then two at Colorado, before arriving at Iowa in February.
He inherits a receiving corps that mostly under achieved in 2012, contributing to a passing attack that ranked 99th out of 120 major-college programs.
“They’re probably a little embarrassed about last year,” Kennedy said. “And what I’ve seen out of these guys thus far is, they want to fix it.”
The Hawkeyes return five receivers who lettered last season, including statistical leader Kevonte Martin-Manley, who finished with 52 catches for 571 yards and two touchdowns.
“Kevonte has obviously had some success and he’s been a playmaker around here,” Kennedy said. “But those other guys are going to have to grow and develop.”
Jordan Cotton is the only other receiver with any starting experience. He averaged 14.3 yards on 12 catches, including a 47-yard touchdown against Minnesota.
Don Shumpert, Jacob Hillyer and Tevaun Smith combined for three catches last fall.
“I think those guys can really run,” Kennedy said. “and we’ve got to find ways to get them the ball.”
If the veterans falter, Kennedy is open to playing newcomers. The Hawkeyes signed five receivers in their most recent recruiting class.
“I like all the guys who play for me,” Kennedy said. “What I told them was, ‘I’m not a guy to sit back and play favorites because I like you.’
“The best guys are going to play… those guys coming in are going to have an opportunity.”
Kennedy downplays the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback spot. Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard are battling for the job.
“Anytime, one of those guys can go down,” Kennedy said of possible injuries.”So, it’s good we’re working with all of them right now.”
Kennedy and Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis worked together with the Longhorns, which should help the receivers adapt better to a system that was implemented last spring.
“I think in this situation there’s some things I see technique-wise or just understanding the overall scheme,” Kennedy said. “I was able to come in and watch tape of the guys and say ‘This is how I want this done,’ and then explain why.”
Kennedy helped Texas replenish its receiving position with players such as Jordan Shipley and Quan Crosby, who produced 1,000-yard seasons.
“You never know what you’re getting into, what type of group it is, what type of guys are in the room,” Kennedy said. “The thing I’ve been really pleased with is that the players are eager.
“They want to do well. They want to please. They like being coached. So, I’m optimistic for the future of this group.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football