Iowa Punt Returners Practice Video
The Iowa Hawkeye football practice was open to the media for the first half hour on Wednesday, giving opportunities for both photo and video opportunities.
Included in the practice was a look at who will be manning the returning duties for Head Coach Kirk Ferentz's program this upcoming season.
On kickoff returns last year, Iowa averaged 20.7 yards a return, but punt returns only yielded 5.1 yards a clip.
The leading kick returner from a year ago was Jonathan Parker at 22.1 yards a return with 24 chances for 531 yards. Punt returns were lead by Matt VandeBerg with a 6.8 yard average on 12 opportunities for 82 yards.
The kick returning numbers are pretty strong, but there's obvious improvement needed in punt returns to ensure better field position.
Wednesday's practice showed that Matt VandeBerg, Tevaun Smith, Desmond King, and the two freshmen receivers, Emmanuel Ogwo and Jerminic Smith, were handling the punt returning duties.
VandeBerg lead the team in punt returning a year ago, but the additions of Smith and King to the practice drills shows that the Hawkeye staff is looking for ways to improve that area of the game. The freshmen wideouts have speed, but punt returner isn't normally a spot that newcomers secure due to reliability concerns.
Check out the video Scout was able to secure while at Wednesday's practice, revealing the players that are taking the reps at punt returner spot.
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