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UI football to celebrate 125 seasons, 1939 Ironmen

June 18, 2014

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    By DARREN MILLER
    hawkeyesports.com

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Preseason football camp at the University of Iowa is weeks away, but here's advice for newcomers Jalen Embry, Jameer Outsey, Tyler Wiegers, and the rest of the 2014 recruiting class:

    Dust off the Hawkeye football history book, because a research assignment is coming soon.

    2014 Spring Football

    During the 2014 season, two milestones in UI football history will be recognized. First is saluting the 75th anniversary of the 1939 Ironmen team led by Nile Kinnick and Erwin Prasse that went 6-1-1after back-to-back seasons of 1-7 and 1-6-1. Second is acknowledging the completion of 125 years of football at the UI, which started Nov. 16, 1889, with a 24-0 loss to Grinnell.

    Once camp begins later this summer, members of the 2014 Hawkeye team will be instructed on the rich history of University of Iowa football.

    "Anything that is historic we make part of the camp routine," UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We do that by having guys do reports on certain players and making them look things up and give reports on players or games."

    Senior defensive tackle Carl Davis remembers the presentation he gave prior to the 2010 season. He was assigned to study defensive tackle Colin Cole, who has played in the NFL with Green Bay, Seattle, and Carolina.

    "You can google anything now," Davis said with a laugh. "I watched film on him, checked him out to see how he plays. He was a physical guy, he played within the Iowa defense, and he made plays."

    Davis grew up in Detroit, cheering for a certain Big Ten team that wears maize and blue. He was distraught in 2002 when the Hawkeyes put a 34-9 whipping on the Wolverines.





    "Anything that is historic we make part of the camp routine. We do that by having guys do reports on certain players and making them look things up and give reports on players or games."
    Kirk Ferentz
    UI football coach


    "I would wonder how Michigan lost to Iowa," Davis said. "What I now know about the Iowa tradition is that we always put tough guys out there: winning season, losing season, there are going to be some tough guys out there whether they are smaller or bigger. We're going to have guys out there physical, playing tough and smart. That's Iowa football."

    Senior strong safety John Lowdermilk grew up in Kensington, Ohio, and he remembers his father telling him during the 2002 season that it was a good thing Ohio State was not on Iowa's schedule that year. The Hawkeyes finished 11-2 overall, 8-0 in the Big Ten.

    "I knew about Iowa football," Lowdermilk said. "They always had the tradition of tough, disciplined, smart players because that is what coach Ferentz brings."

    Like Davis and Lowdermilk, UI senior tight end Ray Hamilton is not a home grown Hawkeye; he was raised in Strongsville, Ohio. Because of the position he plays, he already knows about Scott Chandler, Tony Moeaki, Brandon Myers, Allen Reisner, and recently retired All-Pro Dallas Clark.

    "There is a standard that has been set and you don't want to let that down at all," Hamilton said. "When I first got here I'm not sure I truly understood. You start to get into the program and you understand that there is an Iowa way of doing things and that is focusing on details, doing things right, and busting your butt every day you come in here. It doesn't matter what excuse you have; we're some of the under-recruited guys, but all we want to do is go out and produce now."

    If, like Hamilton says, many of the current Hawkeyes were `under-recruited,' it wouldn't be much different than members of the 1939 Ironmen team.

    "They were huge underdogs from the start," Ferentz said.

    After combining to win two of 16 games in 1937 and 1938, the Ironmen surpassed that total by Halloween with victories against South Dakota, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Three more wins and a tie followed, and the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked ninth by The Associated Press.

    "It's a great story as a team but also the central figure (Kinnick) -- you talk about legendary," Ferentz said. "If his career was today and that story took place today, it would be a Hollywood movie."

    It's a story Terrence Harris, C.J. Hilliard, Markel Smith, and the rest of the 2014 recruiting class will know well by the time the Hawkeyes kick off against Northern Iowa on Aug. 30.

    To order tickets for the 2014 University of Iowa football season, click HERE.

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