University of Iowa running back Damon Bullock sprints toward the end zone during an open practice Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
April 14, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It might not have been a cohesive group on display Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium, but for having a new defensive coordinator and a new offensive coordinator, the University of Iowa football team performed well during an open-to-the-public 12th practice of the spring.
There were thousands of eyes on the workout, and surprisingly, when it ended nearly two hours later, everyone was still warm and dry.
"It's spring practice and as everybody saw today, we have a lot of work to do right now after 12 practices," UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "On the positive side, the guys have been attentive all spring and they're doing a good job of learning, but we still have a lot of work to do. We're hardly a cohesive group right now; we have a lot of guys making progress and a lot of good stories going on, but we're hardly there by any stretch of the imagination."
There are still three practices remaining before the Hawkeyes conclude spring drills. With the Olympic Wrestling Trials next weekend in Iowa City, the UI football team moved its open practice up a week to alleviate parking headaches around Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 21.
Even if they lack game-day grace and unity, the Hawkeyes after Practice 12 are much more polished than the Hawkeyes after Practice 1 in March.
"Even though it probably didn't look like it sometimes (Saturday), we were a lot faster," UI quarterback James Vandenberg said. "We just got everything installed so we're starting to understand and detail things. There are a lot of things we can continue to detail and from here on out, it's detailing everything. We know all the plays, the calls aren't totally foreign."
The comfort level is also improving on the defensive side of the ball.
"Every day you learn a little more about the defense and a little more about our offense," UI linebacker James Morris said. "From where we were practice one to where we are right now, it's leaps and bounds from where we were. Our D line played real well at times today, linebackers and secondary played well at times; now we're trying to put it all together these last three days."
Ferentz said the open practice will provide plenty of quality tape to analyze and learn from.
"We still have three more practices, so we'll get back at it," Ferentz said. "Overall I thought it was a decent day of work out here and we're making some progress."
"I have a bunch of great guys I'm out here learning it with," Fiedorwicz said.