Football Footnotes with Rob Howe

HTO/Hawkeye Illustrated Editor Rob Howe has another exhaustive rundown of preseason news and notes from in and around the Hayden Fry Football Complex. These tidbits are available <b>only</b> to subscribers and can be found nowhere else other than

If you are reading this right now, you are a fan of the information super highway. However, aspects of the Internet irk people. Its immediacy can sometimes undo it in certain eyes.

"It's (changed) a lot of lives," Iowa Football Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I'm thinking more so about recruits and their families. I've had more than several parents comment about that. They say it's a pain in the butt.

"Coaches are restricted on their calls. That's good. That's healthy. But there are no regulations on Internet people. They can call kids every day if they want. And some do. It's really a tough thing for those families."

Ferentz revealed his feelings at last week's Big Ten media day in Chicago. A reporter asked him how he felt about the Internet breaking the news on Alabama Football Coach Mike Price and Iowa State Basketball Coach Larry Eustachy. Both men were relieved of their duties following questionable conduct.

Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter Pat Harty followed up Ferentz's first response by asking the coach "Would it bother you knowing that an Internet service is trying to talk a kid into coming to Iowa? Some of those Internet services are kind of rah, rah."

Ferentz responded: "I remember a pretty notable support personality, a TV personality, trying to talk a young man (Bob Kratch) into going to Notre Dame. That bothered me. I wanted him to come to Iowa. All of us did. That's not a new problem at all."

Kratch earned first-team, all-Big Ten honors for Iowa in 1986. Ferentz coached the Hawkeyes offensive line from ‘81-89.

"I don't have a problem with (the Internet) dealing with anything that's factual, just like the media services," Ferentz said. "If we're talking about facts, to me, facts are facts. The problem that I would have is inaccurate reporting.

"I know in recruiting, there's a lot of misinformation on the Internet. It's just amazing the amount of misinformation. That's not good for anybody."

Ferentz did not blame the Internet for what happened to Price or Eustachy.

"When you're talking about facts, facts are facts, and you are what you are," he said. "That's the way it goes. We all make choices."

Ferentz does not worry about people at his closed practices posting things on the Internet.

"To my knowledge, we haven't had that yet," he said. "I don't know. Maybe we have, and I missed it. Maybe it's coming too. I don't know. I will say this, people on the Internet will talk to our players. And again, that usually ends up getting misconstrued."

INNER STRENGTH: Ferentz gave credit for the improved strength and conditioning of his players to their desire to be the best. But he also realized its origin.

"I'm a little bias," Ferentz said. "I think we have the best strength coach in the country, bar none."

Chris Doyle arrived at Iowa when Ferentz took over the program four seasons ago.

"It was a key hire in our program," he said. "Fortunately, our administration has been very, very supportive in committing to the program and making sure that we're doing things the right way. I thought that that was one of our most key hires. He's as valuable as any coach on our staff."

Ferentz said that he targeted strength and conditioning as a key spot when he began assembling his staff.

"I was a line coach," Ferentz said. "Line coaches appreciate and understand the value of having a great strength coach. Bill Dervrich was our strength coach at Iowa during the ‘80s and did a fantastic job. That's a key part of player development."

After Hayden Fry instilled that in Ferentz during the ‘80s at Iowa. Bill Belichick reinforced the notion while Ferentz was coaching his offensive line in Baltimore and Cleveland of the NFL.

"A big part of Bill's program was the strength and conditioning program," Ferentz said. "I really learned there what kind of advantages you can have if you have the right staff in place, the right program in place.

"That was a real focal point for us coming in. We wanted to have a good program established. Chris has three assistants that work with him. They do a fantastic job coaching our guys."

HANDLE ON CHANDLER: All eyes will be on new Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler early and often this season. The senior replaces Brad Banks, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up.

"I don't worry about Nathan trying to live up to what Brad did," Ferentz said. "But it's certainly something we're going to watch for. We've tried to emphasize to Nathan and our team, "Don't worry about comparisons to last year. We don't have to try to be the 2002 Hawks."

Iowa rolled to an 11-2 record (8-0 Big Ten) in finishing ranked No. 8 nationally last season.

"It would be wonderful if that happened, if we had the same results," Ferentz said. "But if we do, I would suspect that it would come in a different fashion. I don't think we'll be playing quite the same way.

"And Nathan is a good illustration of that. He just has to worry about performing the best that he can perform. If he does that, he'll be fine. I really believe that. I think he understands that."

Those people that view the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Chandler as a clod in the pocket will be surprised, Ferentz said.

"He's not a 4.6, 4.4 guy or one of those deals," the coach said. "But he's not s stiff back there. He can throw the ball on the run very well and very accurately. We'll move him around a little bit.

"But as far as improvising and making guys miss, it's not the same (as Banks). I think it's probably a more fair comparison to say that he's a little bit more like Kyle (McCann) from a physical standpoint."

PLAY IT AGAIN: Big Ten football coaches discussed the inclusion of an instant replay system during their annual meetings in March.

Change might be coming.

"I think we're probably moving towards the day where we may see it happening here," Ferentz said. "I wouldn't want to predict how soon.

"I think it has some merits. And I think it's going to continue to be discussed. And I would not be surprised if we eventually see it work its way into conference play. I think all of us want to learn more about it."

INJURY UPDATE: Brian Kline, a walk-on defensive back from West Des Moines Dowling, tore his ACL this spring. He had surgery in May.

"He probably won't go this year," Ferentz said. "But down the road, we like some things we saw in him last year, no question."

Kline sustained the injury in the spring game, Ferentz said. The redshirt freshman did not get the tear diagnosed for until the pain persisted for several weeks.

WAITING GAME: Ferentz mentioned last week that one of his incoming freshmen was waiting to be given the go-ahead from the academic clearinghouse.

Ferentz declined to mention the player's name until a final decision was made, a process that could take weeks or more.

"(Starting fullback) Edgar Cervantes was about two weeks into camp before he was officially cleared (as a freshman)," Ferentz said. "He was allowed to practice, but he wasn't certified. My memory isn't that good, but it might have been a couple of weeks into the season. He wasn't playing anyway, so it wasn't an issue."

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