Ferentz Wraps up Spring

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media on Saturday after his team completed its annual spring game. The head Hawkeye was pleased with the progress his guys made during this important time of year but also said they have a long way to go.

I got a chance to walk through the facility last week and that was really exciting to see the progress and the way things are taking shape. Regarding today, I want to thank our fans. It was a really nice turnout with a lot of good energy out there. All of us appreciate that, the players, coaches and everyone else involved. I think for the most part it was a pretty good day. First of all, nobody got hurt and secondly, I think we only counted one quarterback-center exchange, which is not bad for a spring game. I think the whole team made progress and improved over the course of the spring, which is what every coach is looking for. We had our ups and downs this spring, but I think overall the attitude has been really good. The guys are trying to get something accomplished, and I think we are. We're improving, but we're hardly ready to play. I think we've at least taken care of this phase and we can now turn our sights to the next step.

Q. There has been a lot of buzz about your backup quarterback (CJ Beathard) lately, did he make a statement today?

FERENTZ: Not really to us. He's really been doing a good job and it's a world of difference in that regard for both he and Jake (Rudock). A year ago they were both competing for a starting job where neither one had played in a game. It's just a world of difference right now. Both guys have played some meaningful snaps out there and both done some really good things on the game field. The quarterback is a prominent position. They've got a lot more on their shoulders than a lot of people, but the confidence level that both of them have now compared to a year ago is great. I'm really pleased with both guys and it's been a good, healthy competition. We are very fortunate to have two quarterbacks that we are very confident in.

Q. Greg (Davis), this week, talked about potentially getting series in games for CJ. Is that something that is just on the board, or is that something that is actually going to happen?

FERENTZ: It was on the board coming out of the recruiting phase. After watching this spring, I think it is something that is very realistic because they both do some things well. Jake has really elevated his performance, and I think he is a better player now than he was in January. It's a good thing, and when you have two players that you have a lot of confidence in, it makes sense to play them in the game. The tricky part is that with quarterbacks it's a little bit different. I think it's realistic and certainly something we're going to talk about once we get back together in June.

Q. The offense had a handful of explosive plays. Talk about being able to see that out of the offense.

FERENTZ: Probably a big difference from two years ago, certainly. I think two areas we made strides in, very clearly, would be the defensive line and the wide receiver position from two years ago. We're losing a very good tight end in C.J. Fiedorowicz, and that will be documented here about three weeks from now and in the years to come. He will have a very good career in the NFL, but I think we have a group of guys right now that can absorb that loss. If you look back two years ago, throwing the football and where our defensive line was, it was a little bit different. Clearly we had a better defensive line last year and I think we have the potential to take another step with the receivers certainly. I think Tevaun (Smith) really came of age last year and made one of the biggest plays of the season last year against Michigan and Kevonte continues to grow and improve and he is a really good player. Jake Hillyer did some good things this spring and you can go right down the list. Obviously Willies, today was his best day. Now we have to try and corral him because he will be the spring game sensation, but he really did some good things today. He made as nice of a play as I saw with the play he made right on our sideline for a first down conversion. It was really a nice grab. He kept his foot in and that kind of thing. But we are growing and improving and that's one thing I am really happy about right now.

Q. In your secondary you have (Jordan) Lomax in a new position. How is that going?

FERENTZ: I think Jordan is going to be just fine. It's ironic because he had a missed tackle today, and that's one thing about him, he'll come up and tackle you. But he had one today. I think he is more comfortable now after 15 days being the quarterback back there. I think we have good competition at the corner position with three guys competing for that one spot and it's a dead heat. I think a lot of our positions right now won't get decided until well into August camp. We will see how guys improve, but it is a good group of young guys. We clearly have work to do, but we like the potentials there.

Q. At free safety and middle linebacker you have two new guys, but they are both academic guys. Quinton Alston was an Academic All-Big Ten. How does that help you transfer them, not only athletically, but also in their classes?

FERENTZ: Quinton is not a returning starter, but he feels like it. He is a senior, four-year guy like the three guys we just graduated, but it feels like he has been our middle linebacker. Obviously he hasn't, but if circumstances would have caused it a year ago, where James would have moved or if James wasn't in the game, Quinton would have been in there playing. He was in there a lot, playing on third down. He is just so respected by everybody on the team and involved with the program. He just does stuff right, and is a guy we have great faith in, so he's really comfortable out there making calls, making checks. I don't see that one being a huge transition. That being said, he is not James Morris, but he has his own identity and I think he is going to be a very good football player. There is a comfort level there with all of us with him.

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