Aug. 5, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa's Football Media Day Friday was full of storylines. Questions about the competition at wide receiver and defensive back were frequently asked. Three sets of brothers were also present, one set, the Derby brothers, discussed their family connection. Below are a few quick notes and quotes from the Kenyon Practice Facility.
The Hawkeyes lost four of their top five pass catchers from 2010. The lone returnee among that group is senior Marvin McNutt, who hauled in 53 catches for 861 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago. Keenan Davis also returns for the Hawkeyes. The junior from Cedar Rapids caught 11 passes for 131 yards in 2010 and scored a touchdown against Ball State. Davis and wide receiver coach Erik Campbell talked about the position.
"Me and Marvin are the only two who have stepped a foot on the field at receiver," Davis said. "Right now we're competing and competing the best we can against each other and against the defensive backs, trying to make each other better. We have nothing to worry about, as long as we go out there and play our hearts out."
"We saw a lot of guys step up," Campbell said. "Hopefully those kind of young guys keep developing and of course we've got a couple of incoming freshman, so hopefully those guys can contribute and we don't know. It's going to be a long season and I think it's too early to tell."
While Campbell admits it's too early to tell who will step up this season, whoever does get on the field better be ready to contribute.
"Anytime you're on the field you're the No. 1 guy," Campbell said. "There's no guy out there on the field that thinks he's a No. 2 or a No. 3. When you're out there on the field, you're the guy. I feel that anytime we have a play called, anyone can get the ball. That's what they all know and believe in, so they all have to work to get open. If any balls come your way, you better take advantage of them and make the most of the opportunity."
Iowa also lost major contributors in its defensive backfield, as all-Big Ten safeties Brett Greenwood and Tyler Sash moved on to the NFL. Returning starter Micah Hyde and senior Jordan Bernstine talked about the competition to replace the holes left by Greenwood and Sash.
"There's definitely a lot of competition," Bernstine said. "We have a lot of guys who know the system and are out there getting reps and practicing hard. It will be a fun competition yet again."
Hyde echoed Bernstine, stating that there is a lot of competition at the position.
"Just today, the first day of practice, there's definitely some battles," Hyde said. "Everybody is competing out there. We even got freshman out there, it's their first college practice, and their showing up, doing what they got to do. It's real good as an upperclassman knowing that there are people underneath you and you're battling every day in practice. It makes you better and I wish the best for them, just like they wish the best for me because we're teammates. It's going to be a fun experience."
While there hasn't been anything decided on yet, Bernstine has a few keys on how to set himself apart and secure a starting position.
"You have to do it on a consistent basis," Bernstine said. "I'm sure in the past I've had days where I wasn't really feeling it and not practicing as well as I would like. So I have to go out every day and compete."
When asked about his father, Zach was quick to point one thing that his dad taught both him and his brother.
"The biggest thing he instilled in us is to have a work ethic and knowing you have to come to work every day and be ready to go," Zach said.
Zach also touched on what it's like to have his brother A.J. on the football team.
"It's a lot of fun. We've played together, whether it's been baseball, basketball or football, our whole life. It's fun to see him out there getting better and being there every day. "
Younger brother A.J. also had nothing but good things to say about his elder.
"He's one of those guys you can always count on to do the right thing. I think that's what they like about him at Iowa."