April 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Spring football is about repetitions and making progress. Following 15 spring practices, University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has watched the Hawkeyes emerge.
"We continue to make progress, but spring ball never looks too pretty," said Ferentz at a Tuesday press conference inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. "It's kind of where we're at right now. The attitude of the team is good. It has been good since we got going in January. They're young, and they know they have work to do."
Ferentz said he entered spring practice with some concerns about the defensive line, but over the course of the spring, some of those issues have been addressed, and he has seen underclassmen develop.
"Those guys made progress," he said. "I doubt anybody made more progress than Louis Trinca-Pasat. He was kind of on the ropes back in December, a young guy who really was starting to question where his heart was and how important it was to him.
"In the spring, he has really quietly emerged, and by the second half of spring ball, he is playing as well as anybody on the field either side of the ball. He has clearly taken some steps."
Trinca-Pasat played in one game as a redshirt freshman, where he registered one tackle assist. He is currently listed on the two-deep on Iowa's spring depth chart along with fellow underclassmen Darian Cooper, Riley McMinn and Bud Spears.
"That group as a whole took steps forward," said Ferentz.
Ferentz said he was pleased with the progress of sophomore running backs Damon Bullock and DeAndre Johnson.
"They improved every day, and I feel a lot better about what they're doing now and where they're at," said Ferentz. "But we're going to need more than those two guys."
Ferentz said incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill will have the opportunity to get repetitions this fall, but they're not the only first-year players with a chance to see the field.
"We have to have the approach that both those guys, if they can help us, will, just because of our numbers right now," said Ferentz. "If those two can help us, that would be a great thing.
"We have other positions as well. We don't have our punting position settled by any stretch. Anywhere on the defensive side of the ball and the receiver position are also possibilities."
Ferentz is excited for the opportunity to face Penn State inside Kinnick Stadium in the team's lone night game of the 2012 season. The Hawkeyes will face the Nittany Lions in primetime on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. (CT) on the BTN.
"I'm all for night games at home," said Ferentz. "I'm all against them on the road, especially in the western time zones. Night games in Kinnick, it is tough to beat that."
Ferentz announced the members of the 2012 Leadership Group. It includes seniors Steve Bigach, Greg Castillo, James Ferentz, Micah Hyde and James Vandenberg, juniors Casey Kreiter, James Morris, Brad Rogers and Brett Van Sloten, sophomores Kevonte Martin-Manley and Brandon Scherff and freshmen Quinton Alston, Austin Blythe and Jake Rudock.
The Hawkeyes open the 2012 season on Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois. The game will be played at Soldier Field in Chicago.