CLEAR LAKE, Ia. — Coach Kirk Ferentz has never doubted the support for Iowa football in the state, whether it’s coming off an Orange Bowl victory in 2010 or an underachieving 4-8 season in 2012.
“I’ve experienced pretty much the whole gamut,” said Ferentz, who opened another tour of the state Tuesday by appearing at the North Iowa I-Club Spring Banquet at the Surf Ballroom. “People are enthusiastic, and they’re always very supportive.”
You couldn’t tell Iowa was coming off an underachieving season by the 375 fans who came to the iconic ballroom to hear Ferentz speak.
“I think everybody has the faith in Kirk that he can get this thing turned around again,” said North Iowa I-Club president Kelly Rush, who leaves home at 5 a.m. every fall Saturday when the Hawkeyes play at Kinnick Stadium. “I like the changes he made on the staff. I’m excited to see what will happen here.”
The support also was evident Sunday, when Ferentz ran his 15th Hawkeyes team through an open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. An estimated 8,000 fans showed up. That support was something Ferentz addressed with his team in a meeting earlier Tuesday.
“I just wanted to explain to them that people don’t have to come to our games, and they’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember,” Ferentz said.
Iowa’s offense, under second-year coordinator Greg Davis, and the defensive line, need to improve for the Hawkeyes to start bowling again. Ferentz sees progress on the offensive side of the ball this spring.
“Bobby (Kennedy) and Greg work well together,” Ferentz said. “They’re got a good chemistry. So I think it’s better. We’re hardly home yet. But no question, things are running smoother. I think our kids have a better understanding of what we’re asking them to do. We just have to continue to execute better.”
Kennedy, the wide receivers coach who worked with Davis at Texas, was hired by Ferentz this spring.
The defensive line is another work in progress, as a bunch of players attempt to make a name for themselves.
“When you look back at all the guys we’ve had, there haven’t been many who came in, necessarily, as big recruit-type guys,” Ferentz said. “We’ve had some good players. Go back to about this time, and that’s when we moved Mitch King from third team linebacker to defensive tackle. And Matt Kroul. Those guys both started as redshirt freshmen.”
King was the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year in 2008.
Louis Trinca-Pasat, sitting out the spring after shoulder surgery, is the most proven defensive lineman.
“He’s one of our better guys, a veteran guy, and we’ll get him back,” Ferentz said. “Carl Davis is really growing. So I think we’re on the right track. But we’ve still got work to do.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football