With the Iowa Hawkeyes opening fall camp 10 days ago with Media Day and Kids’ Day taking place over the past weekend, we got our first glimpse at what the 2019 varietal will look like. It’s early, of course, but Chris Ruth’s behind the scenes looks provide a different view than what we normally see.
The focus was on the running backs in his first video released on Friday. But there are other things to glean outside based on the footage:
We don’t even get out of the intro before getting hit over the head with a highlight reel catch from Nate Wieting (0:06):
The first couple of minutes open up with interviews of the three horseman - Toren Young, Mekhi Sargent, and Ivory Kelly-Martin. They’re sit-downs with the first two but @HawkeyeFootball follows IKM around, which leads to a run-in with Alaric Jackson. He looks HUUUGE as a result of Kelly-Martin leaning on a handrail and general perspective:
The guys then talk about the type of coach Derrick Foster is:
Young: He keeps things nice and creative.
Sargent: You need a coach that’s on you.
It’s followed by Foster talking about each guy. He says the normal things we hear about each back - Young “knows how to use his body;” “Mekhi’s got an all-around background;” IKM “has more wiggle, a little burst to his step, and he can anticipate cuts before they happen.” If anything sticks out, it’s the anticipation of Kelly-Martin because we never really saw it last year, though he battle injuries throughout much of it.
The Kelly-Martin interview was filmed as the guys were heading to their first practice which provides an opportunity to display this gif of Matt Hankins (4:50):
With that preamble, it’s onto the football field where we break down the calisthenics line:
If there’s anything to take from this photograph, it looks like Toren Young is the #1 guy by being the first in line AND there are just five backs at the moment. Henry Geil took some time away from the team and it appears he wasn’t back with them at the time of this filming.
At 5:32, they run through a pretty ingenious drill to work on ball security. The order is Young, IKM, Sargent, which would mean Sargent dropped down the depth chart. Here’s Kelly-Martin running through it:
One thing becomes clearer and clearer as I watch this: Young’s leadership. He’s continually in charge and leading the group. As they break the huddle he tells his fellow backs to “set the tone” now that they’ve got pads on. I’ll take tone-setting backs EVERY DAY this season.
In a bit of foreshadowing, Young tells Cedrick Lattimore, “you’ll get back there but won’t do nothing.” Amani Jones continues to shine bright as he engages in the banter and escalates it to the point of frustrating Young that it’ll ruin the snap count: “It’s the threes bro!”
As the scrimmaging gets going, Sargent makes a nice one-handed grab. If there’s concern, it’s Nate Stanley still struggling with ball placement on those underneath routes. Sargent was able adjust and move quickly into yards after the catch.
Tasty deep ball, though:
(I see you ISM)
After getting after it on the sidelines, Young makes Lattimore miss despite getting into the backfield. He tells him after he finishes the run to “make that play.” LEADERSHIP.
The negatives on this, of course, is that Iowa is still struggling at finding guards to fill out the line. Not only does Cole Banwart (61) get okie-doked at the line of scrimmage, he catches Young’s finishing move after getting caught off balance.
I could watch this play all day (sorry Djimon Colbert), and it’s probably what has Sargent playing every relevant third down of the upcoming season. There’s no more important asset than Nate Stanley so being able to protect him is as good a reason as any to maximize Sargent’s playing time.
IS THAT A MISDIRECTION?????
Inject Spencer Petras-to-Calvin Lockett straight into my veins:
These guys made it look effortless.
Aaannnd that’s it. The video closes with a final pep talk from Foster (“everything matters including how you look and dress”) who then hands the reigns off to Young who reiterates it with with details matter.
Happy Monday. Go Hawks. And BUILD IT ON THREE!