Ferentz Feeling Good About O-Line

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz has long been considered one of the country's top offensive line minds. Ferentz expressed his excitement about his current front despite him only knowing one starter heading into camp. Read what the coach had to say about the unit, including Kyle Calloway and Dan Doering in this HN.com Feature.

Kirk Ferentz is excited about his offensive line.

OK, Hawkeye Nation, you can breathe now.

The guru lost three starters from last year's front to the NFL, but he sees hope in the future.

"I feel comfortable. I'm confident we're going to have a good offensive line," Iowa's head coach said. "I have no clue right now what that combination is going to be; if it's going to be five guys, six guys, seven guys. And I can't tell you at what point it's going to all come together, being us knowing who is who or they all start playing in a fluid way. Sooner or later we'll get there and I feel good about the guys that we have.

"I hope I'm not missing the boat on that, but I feel pretty good. It's a jump ball right now. We have a lot of interesting things going on. It will be interesting to see where the guys are at when we hit the field. Those guys are changing every day."

Seth Olsen appears to be the only O-Lineman having solidified a spot. But even the junior doesn't know where he might end up in terms of a position.

"College players change a lot from period to period and young players tend to change more than any," Ferentz said. "That's why we're real reluctant to say right now who is going to be our starting five or even project it because I'd be throwing darts outside of Seth Olsen. Seth's a fourth-year guy. We have a good grasp of who he is, what he is."

Ferentz served as Iowa's offensive line coach under Hayden Fry in the early ‘80s. It was then that he started learning that players really can change quickly, sometimes in just a few months.

"I go back to '83 when Mike Haight left in the spring just some guy and he showed up in July or August and it was like, "Whoa, hey, this guy looks a little different now,"" Ferentz said. "That one really sticks out in my mind. He didn't start that year but he did a year later. He played very well and was the MVP of the linemen."

A few current Hawkeyes could be following in the footsteps of progress made by Haight. Sophomores Kyle Calloway and Dan Doering are coming off strong springs and are looking to take the next step.

"The fact that (Calloway) started in the spring scrimmage doesn't mean a lot other than that he was making progress and demonstrating that he's starting to get it a little bit," Ferentz said. "I'm really curious to see where he is going to be at."

Doering arrived at Iowa with incredibly high expectations after being ranked as one of the top prospects in the country.

"Dan has made very steady progress," Ferentz said. "Last spring was the best period of practice he's had. I thought that he was improving during our bowl month. That's how it should be. He's a young guy.

"He was widely acclaimed and all that type of thing. That again is the danger of the recruiting hype that goes with a player. Typically, for most lineman, it's a matter of progression and maturing and learning a lot of intricacies that are involved in line play. I'd say he's on a good path right now. He's one of the guys that's in contention this August."

Few other key players in the offensive line competition will be Dace Richardson and Rafael Eubanks, who have starting experience but suffered through injuries last season. Richardson still is recovering from a knee injury and likely will miss at least a week of practice.

"I don't think he'll be ready to go on Monday, but we're hoping by the next Monday," Ferentz said of Richardson. "It's tough to say, but it is something that we know will get better. Certainly if he's healthy he will be in the mix."

Other likely to be pushing for playing time on the line will be Wes Aeschliman, Andy Kuempel, Julian Vandervelde, Tarvis Meade and Alex Kanellis.

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