NEWTON, Ia. – If coach Kirk Ferentz has his way, Iowa’s football team will continue to have a one-day off-campus public practice like the one held April 14 at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.
“Right now, I need someone to tell me why it isn’t a good idea,” Ferentz said after speaking to the Jasper County I-Club Thursday at Iowa Speedway. “That’s how I’m looking at it. I think it went over well, and it has a chance to really grow into something unique and something fun.”
An estimated 8,000 fans showed up for the Valley practice. Ferentz wasn’t sure if the game would be played annually in central Iowa, or moved around to different cities.
“Certainly, the idea was to reach out to the central and western parts of the state,” Ferentz said. “I don’t want to drive our guys four hours away, either, in fairness to them. We’d probably have to find a happy medium. But I think Des Moines worked out beautifully. The people at Valley couldn’t have been more hospitable.”
Ferentz also indicated that the four-quarter scrimmage his team ended spring drills with on April 27 at Kinnick Stadium will continue. Ferentz phased out the traditional spring game and opted for a final-day practice in the early 2000s. This year’s scrimmage had a scoring system in place to award both the offense and defense. The offense won 61-37.
“Everything has been positive, both from the fans and the players,” Ferentz said. “So my guess is that we’ll keep doing it. I’m still not sure I understand the scoring system. But that’s OK. Everyone seemed to be happy with it.”
Coach Kaeding? When placekicker Nate Kaeding announced his retirement from the NFL Thursday, the Iowa City native said he’d consider coaching as a future occupation.
“I think he’s crazy,” said Ferentz, who coached Kaeding at Iowa. “And I think he’s crazy enough probably to do it. And he would do it very well. He’s always thought about the game well beyond just what it is that he does. He’s just got that nature about him.”
Kaeding kicked four field goals in Ferentz’s first bowl win at Iowa, a 19-16 triumph over Texas Tech in the 2001 Alamo Bowl. Kaeding won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2002 and is Iowa’s all-time scoring leader with 373 points. In nine NFL seasons, Kaeding made 86.2 percent of his field goals.
“He’s such a special guy, beyond the athletic part of it,” Ferentz said. “He’s really a unique person. His senior year, we’d have NFL people come around and I would tell them he’s not only an excellent leader but a great team leader. And that’s a rare combination. It speaks volumes about the kind of guy Nate is.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football