The Iowa Hawkeyes have brought a new mindset into this football season. They're looking to redeem themselves from last year's disappointment, and bounce back in a big way. It's lead to an offeason that can be categorized as a change in culture according to many of the players.
A big part of that approach has been more leadership on the team for the 2015-2016 campaign, and one of the players stepping into that role is senior receiver Tevaun Smith. He's been one of the driving forces behind the new attitude of the team. The leading returning wideout is now all about business.
"(I've) definitely been a lot meaner," Smith said. "I'm trying to take a lot of things more serious. Yes, having fun, but at the same time I'm more mad than having fun. I'm doing what I can as a person to make the offense more successful."
It's not difficult for him to carry himself in this way. It comes natural to him and how he's always conducted himself.
"It's not really hard (for me) to be mad," Smith noted. "It's just the kind of person that I am."
The increase in intensity from Smith, and others, has lead to a few more altercations on the field. The competition and drive to reverse the fortunes of last year have resulted in more scrums in practice.
"Yeah, quite a bit of shoving matches (this year)," Smith shared. "There was a few scuffles in practice. I like that. I would'nt throw one in the game. I like it."
That aggression is something that can be beneficial in games according to the senior leader. Not figuratively throwing punches, but exerting physicality can really set the tone.
"As a player, you always want to throw that first punch," he explained. "Whoever does is going to really dictate that game. Getting gritty, getting in their face early in the game, that kind of will help you out later in the game."
Iowa gets their first chance to dictate the tone and tempo of the game when they host Illinois State on Saturday in the season opener.