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Trip west a 'change of pace' for the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] April 14, 2013 |
Iowa football players gather at midfield before Sunday's open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. (Mary Chind/The Register)

Iowa football players gather at midfield before Sunday's open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. (Mary Chind/The Register)

The three-man race for Iowa’s starting quarterback position has received the most attention this spring, but coach Kirk Ferentz made it clear Sunday that there are plenty of job openings on his football team.

“When you go 4-8 there aren’t any incumbents,” Ferentz said after Sunday’s open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. “Nobody’s performance, starting with myself, was good enough for what we were looking for. That’s a fact. We’ve all been working hard, and I think we’re carrying it to the field. It doesn’t always come together the way you want it to. But I think it’s not for a lack of effort, that’s for sure.”

Valley officials estimated Sunday’s attendance at 8,000, and the expected rain stayed away for the most part. Other than one of Iowa’s five chartered buses breaking down en route to West Des Moines, the day went off without a hitch.

“It was just nice to have a little change of pace,” Ferentz said.

127 PHOTOS: HAWKEYES AT VALLEY

Sunday was a homecoming for Conor Boffeli . Listed as the Hawkeyes’ starting left guard on the spring depth chart, Boffeli prepped at Valley.

“This is a second home for me now,” Boffeli said. “I’ll always remember playing for coach (Gary) Swenson. This is where it all started.”

The fans in attendance watched quarterbacks Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard share snaps in a race that likely won’t be won this spring.

“There’s no sense making a conclusion right now,” Ferentz said. “We don’t need to.”

The fans also saw returning running backs Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock get in a day’s work.

“We like both Mark and Damon,” Ferentz said. “They’re different kinds of backs, but we consider them both starters. Jordan really looked good (Sunday), so that was encouraging.”

Jordan as in Jordan Canzeri, who was injured in a non-contact drill during spring practice a year ago and had ACL surgery. Canzeri was cleared before the Central Michigan game last season, but Ferentz decided to hold serve on his return until this season.

“(Sunday) was certainly a good day for him,” Ferentz said of the 5-foot-9, 192-pound sophomore-to-be from Troy, N.Y. “He showed some things. That was good to see. It’s the first time he’s really been tackled to any great extent since he’s been hurt. He looked really good out there.”

Like the Iowa program, Canzeri is hoping to bounce back from a lost season. He watched his team lose their last six games and join him on the sidelines for the bowl season.

“Nobody wants that to happen again,” Canzeri said. “Everyone wants change. It’s kept us headstrong.”

Sunday’s practice made it abundantly clear in the eyes of Ferentz that there’s plenty of work to be done between now and the Aug. 31 opener against Northern Illinois.

“They’re working hard,” Ferentz said. “They’ve been working hard since the end of the season. Their attitude is really good. I think we’re doing a lot of good things individually. And we’re doing some good things in some of the group periods. When we get to the team, it’s not there yet.

“And that’s usually how it goes, I guess. I keep reminding myself of that one.”

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz arrives at Valley Stadium on Sunday. (Mary Chind/The Register)

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz arrives at Valley Stadium on Sunday. (Mary Chind/The Register)

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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