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Harty: Lots to observe Saturday at Kinnick

[ 0 ] August 17, 2013 |

Thoughts filed away after watching the Iowa football team’s Kids Day practice Saturday at Kinnick Stadium:

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz pretty much said that the starting quarterback position is sophomore Jake Rudock’s to lose at this point. But I still think redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard has the most upside. Beathard made two beautiful throws in Saturday’s practice, including one that resulted in a long touchdown catch by former junior college receiver Damond Powell.

— Speaking of Powell, it’s a good thing he is fast and shifty, because he’s also tiny. My advice to him would be to avoid as much contact as possible on the field and avoid bumping into Bob Brooks’ giant tape recorder off the field. Powell showed the kind of burst on Saturday that’s been missing from the Iowa receivers. He also showed the ability to make quick cuts and gain yards after the catch.

Now we can see why Ferentz was willing to wait the entire summer for Powell to join the team.

— True freshman running back LeShun Daniels Jr. showed Saturday that he is too good to redshirt even though he plays arguably the deepest position on the team with eight players on scholarship. Images of Shonn Greene flashed before me while watching the 6-foot, 215-pound Daniels bounce off or run over defenders. One practice doesn’t make Daniels a Doak Walker candidate, but it was enough to show that he will contribute this season.

“We haven’t decided, but it looks like he’s got a good shot,” Ferentz said of Daniels playing this season. “He’s done a nice job. He’s handled everything and a couple other guys have been out, so it’s opened the door and he’s stepped in there and really done a good job.”

— Junior defensive tackle Carl Davis can be a disruptive force when he gets his pads low and wins the battle for leverage as he did at times Saturday. This is his fourth year in the program, so it’s time to for the 310-pound Davis to lift his performance to another level.

— Watching Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan coach and interact with his players never gets old because of the energy and passion he brings to each drill. Morgan isn’t loud or demonstrative, but his message still gets heard.

— Iowa appears solid at both cornerback positions with returning senior starter B.J. Lowery and sophomore Jordan Lomax handling those spots. Lomax made it hard for any receiver he was covering to catch the football Saturday. The Maryland native showed the ability to be physical and to play with finesse.

— Sophomore receiver Tevaun Smith, just like Powell, showed the ability to stretch defenses and make defenders miss. He and Powell were by far the most explosive receivers based on Saturday’s practice.

“It was good to see those guys make some plays,” Ferentz said. “And both of them made some difficult plays.”

— Junior receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley seems to have locked down the punt returning job mostly because of his ability to catch and secure the football. Ferentz continues to look for ball security over big-play capability with his punt returners.

— True freshmen tight ends Jon Wisnieski and Ike Boettger are both physical specimens. Boettger is listed at 6-6 and 235 pounds, but he looks much bigger than that. He looks like he could easily grow into an offensive tackle or into a defensive end. So stay tuned.

— Will there ever come a point when Kinnick Stadium is completely surrounded by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics? It just keeps coming, one far-reaching medical structure after another.

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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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