After taking a week off during the freshmen’s turn with the microphones (sorry), we’re back to break down this week’s short documentary of the Hawkeyes’ training camp. The linebackers took center stage and did not disappoint. Again, here’s the roster for your reference. Let’s go!
SPOILER ALERT: JUMP TO 1:09 OF THE VIDEO IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP ON GAME OF THRONES
0:40 - 1:09, teammates gather around for Game of Thrones watch party
Surprisingly, it’s only about 15-20 players, according to Jake Gervase. It’s an activity Kirk Ferentz encourages as it’s the type of thing which builds camaraderie. There is a slight spoiler if you haven’t watched this season. However, there’s a funny moment as the players join with the theme song.
1:09 - 3:11, Jordan Lomax speaks
Lomax, who might have been the most under-appreciated player from the 2015 Rose Bowl team, touched on many of the same themes Gervase did. His main point was, of the 16 waking hours the players have, at least 75% is spent with their teammates and it’s imperative to build camaraderie. He reflected on the togetherness they displayed during the Michigan game.
He also mentioned - and I tend to agree - that at the end of the season, no one really remembers a season based on individual performance. It’s about how everyone comes together to determine the record, which people do remember.
3:25 - 3:45, 1x1 drills between LBs and RBs
While we don’t need the roster to break identify the first pair, Akrum Wadley absolutely ghosts Josey Jewell. Now, it sounded like a coach was saying “give him cushion,” but he still looked silly (when we could see him - get out of the way Bo Bower!).
Not looking silly is Bo Bower:
Poor Toren Young really had no chance here. It was praised by Seth Wallace (I’m assuming) as the way it’s always supposed to look. Lots more of this please.
3:45, LBs huddle
Bo Bower took control of the huddle with a short word before breaking, while Amani Jones* (52) is in a red jersey.
*incorrectly referred to as Amani Hooker in original
3:55 - 4:25, OL/DL/LB drills
Let’s break down who’s lined up with whom:
We’ve got Nate Vejvoda (85), Tristan Wirfs (74), and Mark Kallenberg (71) lined up as tight end, left tackle, and left guard, respectively. With Vejvoda outside the two-deeps, it’s unclear what this means for Wirfs and Kallenberg. Wirfs has practiced up and down the chart, as we’ll see later.
On defense, we’ve got Romeo McKnight (97) lined up at defensive end with AJ Epenesa (94) inside. Bower is manning the alignments. After the second rep, we get some good old-fashioned horseplay between Bower and Wirfs.
4:25, Outlaw speaks
Josey Jewell talks about the positives of bringing back a veteran linebacking corps and what it means for communication. He also mentioned how all three were understudies to James Morris, Anthony Hitchens, and Christian Kirksey, and how the 2017 backers want to bring it full circle by similarly teaching the younger guys.
Nathan Stanley (4) and Max Cooper (19) can’t connect on a little underneath throw during a rep. Not good! Wallace praises them as they communicated the pass-off of the assignment well. Cooper would have been smothered if he had caught the ball.
5:15, Red Zone, 1s vs. 1s
Taking the snap out of shotgun, Stanley is behind the line of: Boettger (75/LT), Ross Reynolds (59/LG), James Daniels (68/C), Keegan Render (69/RG), and Sean Welsh (79/RT). This is 4/5ths of the pre-camp starting line. With Boone Myers not occupying the LT spot, it forced a reshuffling.
Stanley telegraphs a throw to TE T.J. Hockenson (38), which is broken up by Miles Taylor (19) and picked off. Maybe there’s a reason this is still a QB competition, guys and gals!
Tyler Wiegers (8) is now the QB, but the results are the same. His throw to Drew Cook (18) was undercut by Amani Hooker (27). Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) is able to touch Hooker down. Though it seems like this is a case of backups vs. backups, it’s still not a good sign to see these silly errors out of someone vying for the QB job.
5:50 - 6:20, 11-on-11s
In this iteration, Stanley returns to quarterback. At RT is Wirfs! I’m agreeing with the intelligentsia who believes his redshirt gets burnt this year. The pocket was solid with Boettger at LT, but Stanley overthrew Matt Vandeberg (89). Maybe he was interfered with by Manny Rugamba (5), but probably not.
The big positive from this is in the playcall and execution, neither Brian Ferentz or Stanley are afraid to attack deep over the middle.
Jewell then goes on about how excited he is about the young, high potential, group of defensive backs.
Right on cue, he bats a ball up in the air for Josh Jackson (15), to pick off. Stanley was again the QB. At the end, someone yelled “Juice” and I hope it’s Jackson’s nickname.
6:25, DB 1x1s
Jackson goes up against Rugamba on a pretty well thrown ball right into Rugamba’s chest. It offers a learning moment, as a ref was brought in to call penalties and flagged Jackson for a hook.
Phil Parker summarizes that you can’t put your hand on your opponent’s chest, especially if it’s a black glove on a white jersey. MILLION DOLLAR IDEA: wear gloves the same color as opponent’s jerseys. You’re welcome.
7:00 Josh Jackson speaks
Let’s take a moment to appreciate his shirt choice as he talks about how the defense has meshed throughout camp:
7:25 UNDER THE LIGHTS BABY
In the first play of 11-on-11s, James Butler (20) just bursts through the whole and breaks a couple arm tackles. I have a feeling we’re going to LOVE him by the end of the year.
Next, we see what I can only describe as a rarity: a fake jet sweep (Devonte Young was the sweeper, or jetter). It’s really well-defended, as no one bites on the fake even after Noah Fant (87) leaves the area. Ivory Kelly-Martin (21) is met by Miles Taylor right when the ball arrives (pass from Stanley).
Looking for positives, it was a really well-timed play in terms of the snap and fake sweep. I remember the one fake last year was very poorly-timed. Progress!
After an interlude where Rugamba asks Jackson if he’s tired (a little), Stanley throws a deep to Young! Too bad it was picked off by Jackson. Jackson recounts the play and is frustrated he couldn’t keep his feet.
The final play is what looks like a 4th and short scenario where the 1st team defense stops the offense (appeared to be Butler carrying the rock).
Another one in the books.