With spring practice over, Kirk Ferentz gave his final press conference of the year and probably won't be heard from again until July. There wasn't much new there, but Kirk did give a thoughtful answer on the role of spring practice for a successful team:
And any time you have a team where you have a good football team, you lose 21 seniors, certainly there's a lot of work to do and that's the case for us. It's good to be back out on the field. This is really a special time of the year for the coaching staff. I think it's quality teaching time. We're not in a rush. We practice over the course of five weeks and get a lot of quality time on the field, quality time in meetings without having to game plan, those types of things.
From that standpoint, it's been really beneficial. It's a chance for our players to learn the system better, understand some situations, certainly work on their fundamentals and skills. You can't do that sitting in a meeting room, even with virtual reality, it still isn't the same.
And also the development of team work and leadership, those things are ongoing. That's been the emphasis the last five weeks. It's not real glamorous. It's not like a bowl game where you get prizes or gifts and get to stay in a hotel and that kind of stuff. It's a lot of just day after day of hard work. I think our guys overall did a pretty good job. Typically improvement is not real dramatic, but I think certainly we saw guys make gains.
Sometimes you wonder about — I took our depth chart yesterday and just considered where a lot of our players were in August as to where they are now, and there's a lot of growth and improvement. And again, that's going to be critical. We have a lot more to go if we are going to develop into a good football team.
It's an inartful way of putting it, but there's little doubt that the replacement of 2014's senior class, and the leadership provided by that class, with the graduating seniors and members of the current squad played a huge role in Iowa's resurgence. For whatever reason, that 2014 class's leadership didn't work with the underclassmen in the program, as repeatedly mentioned by those underclassmen last season. And with players like Austin Blythe, Drew Ott and Jordan Lomax gone, it remains to be seen whether the remaining leadership in the new senior class will be able to replicate what that class was able to do.
Other news blurbs:
- Ryan Boyle at receiver is a matter of him being too good an athlete to keep off the field. He's still being considered at quarterback, at least in theory. (But so was Marvin McNutt). Kirk, of course, compared Boyle not to McNutt but to 1979 backup Pitt quarterback Rick Trocano. This is not a joke. It actually happened.
- The injuries -- Beathard and Sean Welsh, notably -- were not serious, and their limited play on Saturday was precautionary. Longstanding injuries to James Daniels and Ben Niemann are coming along well.
- Aaron Mends drew an Anthony Hitchens comparison regarding his growth over the last year. He's going to be in serious consideration for the weakside spot, even if Bo Bower hasn't found a place to land on the depth chart yet.
- Kirk liked Desmond King's cowboy hat so much that he OK'd putting up his portrait as a consensus all-American in the football facility (and weight room) even though King is still on the team. That's got to be a fun day at the office. Not even the president gets to do that.
- There's no sign of whether Akrum Wadley might actually start this season at halfback, but the embodiment of the staff's concerns -- his fluctuating weight -- looks to be improved. Now if he can only hold onto the football, the sky is the limit.
The criticism of the NCAA following the ban on satellite camps was swift and thorough, as those without a gigantic vested interest in preserving recruiting territory in the South for Southern schools realized that a ban hurt prospective recruits. That led to a round of shrugging and teeth-gnashing from mid-major coaches and Power 5 assistants who could not work camps. Earlier this week, there were hints that the Department of Justice could get involved, which is probably the only thing that could force the NCAA to change its mind.
So it was not exactly surprising when word came Tuesday night that satellite camps might not be dead after all.
Hearing from multiple sources that looks like Satellite Camps will be reversed. Believe a final answer could be by Friday..— Rusty Mansell (@Mansell247) April 26, 2016
Mansell further reports that the NCAA Board of Directors, which has final say over decisions of the counsel. Generally, that's a rubber stamp, but the DOJ changes everything. And so while Kirk Ferentz might lament it, the camps where mid-major programs (and Iowa, to be honest) identifies many of its targets will likely remain intact.
A Vital Recruit, and Maybe Moore
Iowa has apparently zeroed in on Christian Vital, the California-based 6'2 point guard recruit also being pursued by UConn and Louisville, as its top choice. Vital is supposed to be visiting campus soon, and McCaffery is making trips to California like he's Don Draper:
"We spoke at great length. He said they have a need for a guard and that I can fill that void. He said the type of person that I am is the type that he wants in his program," Vital said last week.
"He's a very nice guy. It was great to finally meet him and he showed me how serious he is about me by flying over to my school. I know he didn't have to do that."
The backup plan, if you can call it that: Charlie Moore, the reigning Mr. Basketball in Illinois, who abruptly cut ties with Iowa earlier this year before committing to Memphis. Much like Vital (who previously committed to UNLV), Moore is now set to join a program with a coach who did not recruit him, and that has him possibly returning to the school with an open scholarship and need for a guard:
One of Iowa's top targets in the 2016 Recruiting Class recently became available again. As luck would have it, Hawkeye scholarships opened up around the same time.
The two developments rekindled the relationship between Iowa and Chicago point guard Charlie Moore, according to his AAU program. The Mac Irvin Fire and other sources close to the situation told Hawkeye Nation Tuesday the two sides were working on a visit date with it possibly happening as soon as this weekend.
"He likes Iowa," Mike Irvin of Mac Irvin Fire told Hawkeye Nation on Tuesday.
The sense I get from far, far outside the program is that the staff would rather have Moore as a player, but not enough to put trust back in a guy who shunned them under some suspect circumstances earlier in the year. The fact is that Iowa would love to get either, because the depth chart at point guard is of kiddie pool depth.
In the meantime, Iowa's current crop of recruits finished their seasons strongly, and it's all systems go for next fall.
Senior golfer Amy Ihm is going to the NCAA regional in Bryan, Texas, becoming just the second Iowa women's golfer to make the postseason in program history. She might be the best player that the program has ever seen, and deserves far more attention than she has received.
Former Iowa shooting guard Andrew Fleming, who announced his intention to transfer in March, landed with Chattanooga. The Mocs made the NCAA Tournament this year as Southern Conference champion. It's a good fit for everyone involved.
Want to run through a wall? Watch this and you'll do just that.
They might have won the Big Ten Championship Game, but Iowa always wins the war.
"FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL!" Greatest. Track and field. Comeback. Ever.
A man promoted a fake Limp Bizkit concert at a gas station in Dayton, Ohio on Facebook. Everyone -- the police and the band, among others -- said it was fake. And still, 9,000 Ohioans showed up. For a fake Limp Bizkit concert. At a gas station. In 2016.