Iowa News & Notes from Chicago

Kirk Ferentz met with the media for the first time since spring ball when he spoke at the Big Ten Media gathering here in Chicago. The Iowa Coach spoke about an off field incident with an incoming freshman, the move to increase discipline, the latest on hiring a player development counselor, player updates on Dace Richardson, Rick Stanzi, Marcus Wilson, Shonn Greene and more. Read about it here.

CHICAGO _ Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said that the program was close to hiring a player development person, but pointed out it might not be the high-end position some people have speculated it might be.

"This person is strictly a supplment person," he said. "We're not going to hire Dr. Phil. He's not available. We can't afford him. I don't think we really need him.

"Our goal is to get someone that can help us with players making the transition. It's not going to be a glamorous job. It's almost an entry level position, if you will, in some ways. We're just looking for just one more person to have more one-on-one interaction with our players and check with them just about their transition and help educate.

"We're not looking for a PHD, we're looking for someone who understands student-athlete life. If they're knowledgable about a college town like Iowa City, that would be a benefit. It's going to be a resource for our coaching staff, a resource for our players, much like academic counselors are. Maybe entry level is not the right term, but I throw that in because some of the jobs will not be glamorous. There's going to be some grunt work involved, too. That's the nature of coaching and I'm going to look at this person as a coach. "

Coach's Request: Ferentz asked that the media and the fans turn the page from last year's off-of-the-field woes and give the 2008 Hawkeyes a clean slate from which to start.

"We took the approach prior to spring ball, when this roster that we have now , about March 1, we talked to our team about drawing a line of demarcation at that point," he said. "I would hope that people would be fair enough to judge us from what happens from that time on.

"That being said, I'm not minimizing what happened a year ago just like we didn't going into the 2002 season. We'll continue to take steps to address that. It's the most prominent thing on our minds right now more so than our football production. I really believe the two go together. Time will tell. I'm asking you to draw the same line that we drew. You may chose to. You may not. The public may choose to. They may not. But we're only going to know at the end of the journey where we're at."

Increased Punishment: In light of the rash of run ins with the law last season, Ferentz anticipates increasing punishments for infractions.

"It's like anything else in life. You best approach is education. We're going to try to ramp that up. I've asked that this team be judged on the conduct of this year. That being said, none of us can turn our back on last year. I've got to take a little different approach. It might not be fair, but anybody that violates our team rules this coming year, the consequences are going to be a little bit more severe than they've been in the past; things like setting curfew and things of that nature, things I'd rather not do, for young adults college is supposed to be about learning and teaching, but at the same time you have to earn some rights.

"We have some things, but our number one job will be doing a better job of helping young people transition onto a college campus, one where they're very visible in a town where they're very visible; making them more aware of the environment in which they live and then alert them of the decisions they choose to make because ultimately that's at the core of good behavior or bad behavior. If you go back over nine years and look at anything that our players have done improperly, I would suggest that most of them knew in third grade in most cases and maybe seventh grade on others that right is right and wrong is wrong. It's not much more complex than that."

Quick-Hitters

- As was mentioned in another thread, Dace Richardson's career is over. He was making slow progress until another setback just before the July 4 break. Ferentz said they were just hoping to get DR to a point where he would be a functional adult at age 50.

- Ferentz has no plans to kick Riley Reiff off the team, but said that his punishment in light of the last year of off of the field issues will be harsher than it would have been for the same crime had it happened last year at this time.

"I'd like to think that we'll be educators and be fair to him, but at the same time, he's been in Iowa City long enough to know, I would hope that what he did was not only bad in itself but directly worked against the cause that everybody on our team is committed to. It will be a painful road back."

-Rick Stanzi sprained his shoulder, but should be ready to go by the first or second week of camp, Ferentz said.

-Marcus Wilson is "working his way back" to being on the team from an academic standpoint. Kirk did not predict when that might happen, but indicated that it might not be something that will clear itself soon.

-Kirk said that Shonn Greene was in "good shape" academically and should be ready to go.

-As has been rumored on our boards, Austin Signor will transfer.

-Incoming freshman David Blackwell is still waiting on final clearance from the NCAA's Clearinghouse, but in Kirk's mind he's going to get through and be with the team in camp.

-Tony Moeaki, Bryan Bulaga and Jordan Bernstine all have recovered from injuries that kept them from spring workouts and are ready to go for camp.


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