Scherff Tutoring Boettger

Ike Boettger joined the Iowa football team as a large tight end last summer. A year later, he's the back-up left tackle. It's a position at which the Hawkeyes have produced top talent. The Cedar Falls product is hoping to be the next in line.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Preseason attention surrounding Brandon Scherff includes Iowa's history at his position. Robert Gallery, Marshal Yanda, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff proceeded him at Left Tackle U.

Scherff is being tabbed as all-American in 2014. NFL Draft projections show him being a high first-round pick in the spring, if not No. 1 overall. Coach Kirk Ferentz said he had a chance to be one of the best players ever to wear a Hawkeye uniform.

Iowa fans rejoiced when Scherff decided in the winter to return for his senior campaign, passing up becoming a millionaire pro. He provided an anchor to the offensive line and a face for the program.

College football seasons fly by, however. Coaches must continue preparing for the future. The Hawkeye staff already is working on Scherff's replacement. As mentioned, it boasts a track record for doing so.

Gallery came in as a lightly-recruited tight end before winning the 2002 Outland Trophy. Yanda talked his way on the team after attending a JUCO. Reiff arrived here from South Dakota as a defensive lineman. Colleges weren't knocking down Scherff's door.

Iowa moved Ike Boettger from tight end to left tackle last fall, his first on campus. He began camp this week No. 2 behind Scherff on the depth chart.

"That was in Coach (Kirk) Ferentz's office during the bye week," Boettger said of the position switch. "He just told me to think about it and really left it up to me. It was really nice the way they did it. I felt like heading to the O-Line was the right choice."

The 6-foot-6, 267-pound Boettger looks the part and nothing like a guy just starting his second year at Iowa. The Cedar Falls product offers a frame that can easily put on weight and strength, not unlike Scherff four years ago.

"I think he's gained 60 pounds in one year. He lived with me during the summer, so I showed him how to eat and tried to show him the right way to do things. But he's going to be a great football player. And he's got the best offensive line coaches," Scherff said.

Boettger, who like Scherff, played quarterback earlier in his high school career, thought about giving up an opportunity to catch passes. In the end, the decision was an simple one.

"The ease of putting on weight for me, the body type that I have; if you can easily put 300 pounds on somebody, why not? I really like the guys on the offensive line. I really enjoy hanging out with them, fishing, and doing all that kind of stuff," Boettger said.

Boettger is a good athlete. He played basketball in high school. Now, it's a matter of perfecting the tackle technique.

"I've still got a long, long ways to go," he said. "Just learning a lot from these older guys really helps."

Boettger can play behind who many consider the best player at his position in college football. The relationship sounds a little like older and younger brother.

"He's goofy," Scherff said. "He's always really positive and a nice guy. I love hanging out with him. He pushes me in the conditioning. He's one of the faster offensive linemen. I try to keep up with him and beat him during the races. He's a great athlete. He's got great feet. He's got all the tools to become a great player."

Boettger spends a lot of time watching film, learning the nuances of offensive line play. He also is working on an attitude adjustment.

"It's finishing blocks and getting mean. I'm getting there. It's really developed since last year at camp. I was pretty soft. You just have to step it up at this level. You don't really have an option. Everybody is going at it," he said


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