It’s not exactly a secret that I’m actively avoiding overreacting to Iowa basketball these days. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to overreact to there. Despite a hell of a finish to the regular season last night complete with Tyler Cook dunks, Jordan Bohannon’s incredible moment intentionally missing the free throw that would’ve broken Chris Street’s record and the general feeling that if they’d played anyhing like this all year things would’ve gone differently, this season has generally been brutally bad; well beyond what anyone could have predicted at the outset of this year. But there are countless actual members of the Iowa sports media beating that dead horse from just about every angle and honestly, it’s depressing and I don’t have the energy.
Luckily, there’s other stuff going on in Hawkeye World to over-examine and overreact to! With only 187 days until Iowa football hits the field against Northern Illinois and the official Hawkeye Football twitter account releasing a number of pictures and videos of recent workouts, there’s no better time to switch into football mode than the present.
Let’s dive in.
This all got started more than a week ago, when the account dropped a trio of workout pics the day before Valentine’s Day.
A couple of observations here. First, two of the three photos feature players with some form of resistance attached to them. The one that doesn’t is sophomore-to-be wide receiver Brandon Smith. I assume he is so fast that he busted out of his resistance. That’s a wonderful sign for WR production this season.
Secondly, OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT MAN!
Seriously, I’m trying to picture a scenario where this guy doesn’t win a 50/50 ball. And once he has the ball in his hands, who’s tackling him? Thousand yard season anyone?
[Exiting the over the top, tongue in cheek nature of this whole thing for a moment...]
This football team has a chance to be pretty good. With what we saw out of Nate Stanley a year ago, I think more than a few Hawkeye fans expect the passing game to potentially be a weapon.
We know the talent at the tight end position and I would hope offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz can do more to exploit that in ways similar to what we saw at the Woodshed against Ohio State. But the wide receiver group is not devoid of talent. Nick Easley is a very solid possession receiver in the slot and we’ve seen that Ihmir Smith-Marsette can get behind a lot of really good defenders.
The potential missing link is a big-bodied receiver on the edge who is some combination of those two with the ability to be a possession guy, but also be a threat to stretch the field. When Brandon Smith arrived in Iowa City, that’s what I envisioned. His freshman season didn’t go quite as expected, but pics like this are the type of thing that help the hype train build again.
[Re-entering the general tone of this here post.]
The initial tweet was followed-up with another six days later. This second post came with more photos than the first and several additional players doing more than one thing. Perfect.
Colbert is a bigger defensive back who redshirted last year. Iowa lists him at 6’1” and 215 lbs. He’s been the subject of some early offseason conversation as there were rumors defensive coordinator Phil Parker was looking to slide a safety down to outside linebacker in certain packages to help in coverage. With his big frame, Colbert was one of those to potentially transition.
And yet, here we find him wearing a sweatshirt (and it’s not even a red shirt!) during workouts. Clearly this tells us he’s working to lose weight to stay in the secondary rather than pack on the pounds and see time at linebacker.
Does this mean Parker has abandoned the idea? Does it mean the new linebacker commits are so good in coverage they don’t need no stinking safety to slide down in coverage? Or maybe Colbert just gets cold and sweats at the same time!
Next up we have running back Ivory Kelly-Martin moving some weight on the squat rack. My math skills are poor and you can’t be certain of the amounts for each plate here other than the exterior one which reads “25 LBS” (in my limited experience they typically tend to be 45 lbs), but that looks to be north of 375. In fact, based upon some video footage we’ll get to in a bit, I’m inclined to think those interior plates are 60 lbs rather than 45. So that would take us to north of 455 (I have no clue how much those small exterior plates are).
Now, that’s nowhere near the 655 put up by former Hawkeye Brandon Scherff and I doubt he touches Jermelle Lewis’s running back record any time soon, but it ain’t too shabby for a guy know as the lightning in what should be Iowa’s thunder and lightning attack next season. Does this mean we’re looking at thunder and more thunder? Days of Thunder? Or maybe IKM is just going to be both thunder and lightning. Maybe Toren Young will too and we just haven’t seen the video? This offense is going to be loaded.
Next up, we have senior fullback Austin Kelly lifting what appears to be a million-pound dumbbell. If he’s doing that now, imagine what he’s going to do to opposing linebackers’ faces when he meets them in the hole.
Or maybe he take a back seat to Brady Ross. If this mammoth man of steel isn’t starting at FB, imagine what the guy who does start is capable of.
Finally in this group of photos we get junior linebacker and former special teams stud Amani Jones. Not to be outdone by someone on the offensive side of the ball, Jones appears to be lifting a metric ton. Or at least a quarter of one. Again, working on the assumption those black plates are 60 lbs each, I count 3 per side for a total of 360 lbs. I’m out right there. Not snapping my legs in half. Sorry.
Throw on the bar (assume 45 lbs) and you’re up to 405. Then he one-ups everyone with the interior plates at 100 lbs each. If you carry the 2, divide by pi and then subtract 7, you get 605 lbs. And just for good measure, there are some smaller, nondescript weights on the outside.
Someone is going to die. I don’t know if it’s a return man on kickoff or a running back trying make a cutback, but Amani Jones is going to hit someone and then squat them into the atmosphere.
Finally, only two days after the second set of pictures was released, Hawkeye fans were treated to their first video glimpse into the offseason workouts. As we’ve come to expect, the production quality from Chris Ruth, Max Allen and the rest of the video crew was fantastic. It’s only 39 seconds long, but it’s enough to get me HYPED.
The video starts with some speed work. Quick shots of Ihmir Smith-Marsette bursting downfield give way to a number of players and eventually the entire team running sprints.
Let’s start by just acknowledging that Chris Doyle is worth every penny for finding about 5 different ways to run sprints in the first 15 seconds of a hype video. I mean, there were the triple jump sprints at the start, the resistance sprints with players being held back, and reverse resistance with players being pulled toward the finish line, the sprint from an upright standing start with hands behind the head and finally, the good ol’ fashioned team sprint. If the level of creativity in the sprint work is any indication, Kirk 3.0 is going to let Brian Ferentz get as creative as he can with this offense. Look out Big Ten West.
After a quick refuel, the video gets into what we all think of as Iowa strength and conditioning - large amounts of weight being flung around like rag dolls. I love seeing the speed work, but this ain’t the SEC or the Big 12. We hit in the Big Ten and if you’re going to punch Wisconsin in the mouth you best be working out, bro.
A couple takeaways from the lifting portion.
First, should we be concerned about Ivory Kelly-Martin this year? Not that he’s drinking some unknown drink on a workout video, but that he’s rocking white nikes (0:17). Anybody who knows anything knows that when you put Boobie in, he’s knockin’ fools out in his black nikes.
Should we be worried our water bug isn’t going to have a girl in his whites?
Second, these guys are working on throwing entire human bodies over their body with one hand. I have no idea how that translates to football, but they certainly look like badasses doing it.
And I’m not joking, they’re slinging well north of 100 lbs at a time here. My toddler sure doesn’t weigh that and I don’t know that I could get him above my waist without pulling every muscle in my body and tearing my rotator cuff.
This dude (sorry, I creep on the recruits and not our own players so I can’t pick out who exactly this is) is clinging a buck forty with relative ease.
I’m not going to get into the shorts situation in the background, but these guys look like badasses no matter what they do. If I were an opposing player I’d be spending all offseason working to get north of 2 bills to avoid being flung over some Hawkeye’s shoulder mid-game.
From here, the video closes out with live shots at the earlier pic of Amani Jones squatting a pair of Wisconsin offensive linemen in beast mode. Then Tristan Wirfs gets into the action with a similar lift to remind us that you don’t have to play defense at Iowa to be capable of killing people with tridents on Saturdays.
Anyone else ready to run through a brick wall?
Happy Monday ya’ll. Break the rock this week. 187 days until Hawkeye football.