No Drama

Iowa held it's annual media day on Monday at the football complex. The best part for the Hawkeyes was that the focus was football.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Monday's Iowa media day went just the way head coach Kirk Ferentz hopes it does ever year. Mostly all of the discussions dealt with football and not off-field issues.

Ferentz cut ties with DeAndre Johnson a week ago after the running back experienced two run-ins with the law in three days. Monday he was ask one question on it during his main press conference.

"Well, obviously it was his second charge," Ferentz said of his final decision.  "After the one charge it wasn't alarming-- I didn't have the facts when I was notified in Chicago on Friday, and then there was another charge after that. 

"Nothing has been decided in either case.  But it's like every player.  Every player has a chart that's either-- they're adding to it or taking away from it, and I just made the decision I think that it was best for all parties."

in other words, the coach felt like Johnson was afforded enough chances.

The only other player discipline topic Ferentz revealed on Monday was that senior safety Colin Sleeper would be serving a multi-game suspension to start the season. The coach said it was in response to the player's "violations of things in the past."

Sleeper did not dress for the Insight Bowl in December after being on the depth chart all season. No reason was given for his absence.

"That would indicate at least two, and then we'll go from there," Ferentz said when asked what "multi-game" meant. "We'll decide that as we go along here a little further."

Ferentz also announced that junior Dakota Getz would be taking a medical redshirt. The coach made it sound the the linebacker would probably be stepping away from football for good due to a chronic knee injury.

"Our first concern obviously is him graduating, and he may come back and help in the program in some phase down the road, but I think he just wanted a little time," Ferentz said. "So we're sorry to report that bit of news."

Turning to on-field news and notes from the coach:

-"We had a depth chart that's been distributed.  It really is something you'll probably be able to throw out the window in a week or two because I think this is the kind of football team that's going to look different in the weeks ahead and certainly may go through September and even into October."

-Ferentz indicated that we could see more one-running back sets this year than in seasons past. It sounded like Brad Rogers is the guy they have in mind to take on that role.

-It had been rumored this summer that Nate Meier was going to get a look at running back in camp. Ferentz confirmed on Monday that the true freshman was in the backfield.

"He's working a little bit back there," the coach said.

-When talking about the linebackers, Ferentz expressed confidence in Anthony Hitchens being ready to take over at WLB. He also singled out second-year guys Cole Fisher, Marcus Collins, Travis Perry and Quinton Alston as guys making progress and pushing the starters.

-While Jake Rudock remains No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, Ferentz made it seem like the competition is fairly open for the spot - "Well, we've got guys competing right now.  I think we have a nice group of quarterbacks certainly with Cody Sokol coming in here (in the spring) and made a good impression; Jake Rudock red shirted last year and works extremely hard; and C.J. Beathard just joined us here four days ago and looks like he's got good potential, too. 

"So that position overall they're learning, they're getting a lot of work right now, and really pleased with it. We feel great about James being our quarterback and our leader, and I feel like we have some good young players coming up and with good healthy competition."

Of freshmen linemen Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh, Ferentz said they're both "in contention for starting spots."

-Ferentz said the punter competition is a three-horse race with all of them currently running even. Senior John Weinke moved to the position from quarterback last season, third-year sophomore Jonny Mullings came to Iowa with fanfare and true freshman Conner Kornbrath might be the best of the bunch.

"Our punter could be a true freshman," Ferentz said. "I'm not trying to drop any hints or foreshadow, but it's a three-man race right now, and he's got equal claim to it as anybody else."

-Ferentz likes what he sees from true freshmen wide receivers Cameron Wilson, Maurice Fleming, Greg Mabin and Tevaun Smith - "So far, so good with those guys."

-Iowa played 10 true freshmen last season, which was a him mark in the coach's first 13 years at the helm. While the number might not hit double digits in '12, Ferentz thinks quite a few first-year players could see the field this fall.

"I think if you look around the perimeter, the running back, wide receiver, defensive back positions, I think absolutely, I think we have-- based on four days, I think that's a possibility."

-When the rebuild word was thrown out to Ferentz, the coach quickly discredited it.

"I'm not a big one on expectations," he said. "Like I said, outside of the first two years, my expectations have been the same every year.  We're going to try to make the most out of the opportunities in front of us daily and weekly, and with the season they all add up.  That determines how a season goes."

-When Ferentz was asked about return men, he said the competition was pretty wide open and didn't mention contenders for the assignments. Luckily, special teams coach Lester Erb was more open than was his boss.

Erb indicated that incumbent Micah Hyde was leading the punt return competition. He said that Keenan Davis was a strong candidate to return kicks due to experience.

-Second-year running back Jordan Canzeri told reporters that he was shooting to return for the season-opener on Sept. 1 after having his ACL repaired in early spring. That might be ambitious but Ferentz has said his ball carrier has a chance to play in '12.

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