That's great to see, as far as I am concerned. Interest in the Iowa football program is strong as usual, and everyone that could get a pass for the day got one. They don't exactly have the same working press screening process for this event that they do for home games. In many instances, this is the only football event many news outlets, papers, etc will cover all year.
It's a good one to come to, as you can get quite a bit in just a few hours.
Here are some things I heard today talking from players, coaches and people close to the program that have had their ears to the ground all summer.
Earlier this week, I mentioned how Keenan Davis had been wowing a few people this summer. That sentiment was echoed today, as a few of his teammates and other people that are in the know were saying that the kid has legit skills. It sounds like its going to be very hard to keep him off of the field. He also looked the part physically.
So did Marvin McNutt, for that matter. DJK is a big fella, too. I think this could be one of the best group of Iowa receivers in a long time, if McNutt is close to what some people have suggested he is.
Brandon Wegher is also very developed for a true freshman. While he is a man of few words, his demeanor, at least to the media, seemed all business. However, he is consistent. He didn't really care for the recruiting process and the phone calls from people that wanted an update on his progress. He was one of the most difficult recruits to reach in recent memory, which is perfectly fine. The kid has shown his skill on the field and it sounds like its going to be tough to keep him off of it.
A funny moment; several running backs were together getting their picture taken in one of those set up style shots that you will see in the papers over the next few weeks. Jamie Murphy, the ‘Irish Car Bomb' was talking with some teammates and looked over and saw that photo shoot. He jokingly said, ‘Hey, looks like that's the running back group. HEY FELLAS, THANKS FOR THE INVITE!‘ He really didn't see perturbed at all by the omission. Kirk Ferentz said in his press conference that Murphy might not play as much this year, as they wanted to protect his health, and that this would be Murphy's last year in the program. Murphy has taken more than a few hard knocks in his career as an excellent special teams player, and perhaps has had one too many concussions. That is just my guess here. Whatever the medical reason, he has made some great contributions to the program.
I am becoming more and more convinced that Dace Richardson is going to start for Iowa on the line this year. What a bonus that will be, and what an enormous guard he will be! Rafael Eubanks hasn't grown any taller, and he is certainly what I would describe as a fireplug. I hope that year away from the starting lineup (consistently) lit a fire under him. It sounds like there is as ‘chance' that Julian Vandervelde could play in the season opener, but Kirk then said more than likely he will miss one or two games.
Will Iowa need him to beat UNI? Maybe not. If it's a coin toss decision, I would look for him to miss that game to be ready for the Iowa State game the following week. Iowa's offensive line for the Cyclone game could look like Bryan Bulaga, Dace Richardson, Rafael Eubanks, Vandervelde and Kyle Calloway. That would be a line with a LOAD of career starts, every lineman having started nearly a full season's worth of games at the least, three of them with multiple seasons worth of starting experience.
Jewell Hampton said he was 90 to 95% healthy, and that he is ready to go and fully expects to start against the Panthers on September 5th. As of now, it sounds like Chad Geary is the only player officially ruled out of the opener, other than those that will be suspended, as he recovers from an ACL tear in the spring.
Rick Stanzi is up to 230 pounds, and he looks the part. If he progresses as expected these next two seasons, playing in a pro-style system, the kid could have a shot at extending his playing days.
The competition for time at the vacant corner position sounds heated. Bernstine, Prater, Lowe & Castillo...sounds like a law firm.
Iowa has one practice under their belts, and the real work starts this weekend...Ft. Kinnick will be on lockdown...one of the assistant coaches joked that they kissed their wife and children goodbye two