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Archive for April, 2011

Wrapping up the spring

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Random thoughts and observations from the Hawkeyes’ spring-ending workout Saturday at Kinnick Stadium:

– Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said freshman A.J. Derby and junior John Wienke are “neck and neck’’ for the backup quarterback job, but Derby looked much, much better in Saturday’s workout. He has a stronger arm and seemed to make better decisions. In fact, he probably looked better than starter James Vandenberg.

– Keenan Davis was the clear standout among the receivers but walk-on Steve Staggs looked like he could be a solid possession receiver comparable to Colin Sandeman.

– Three players were back fielding punts during the workout – Keenan Davis, Micah Hyde and freshman Kevonte Martin-Manley. Based on the way he looked on two interception returns for touchdowns last season, Hyde may be the favorite to win the job.

– Hyde was used at free safety this spring on sort of an experimental basis and looked good enough that it seems probable he will stay there in the fall. That sets up a major battle for his old cornerback job between veteran Greg Castillo and upstart B.J. Lowery. Those two had the only interceptions of Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.

– Neither of the two kickers – Mike Meyer or Trent Mossbrucker – looked very good in the work-out, but the cold and the wind weren’t exactly conducive to quality kicking.

– Several linemen – Thomas Nardo, Steve Bigach and Nolan McMillan – disappeared off the depth chart between the start and end of spring drills with very little explanation from the coaching staff. None of them suited up Saturday although all still are listed on the roster. They apparently are either injured or still recovering from winter workouts.

– Senior punter Eric Guthrie looked very erratic Saturday, alternating booming kicks with weak wobblers. Don’t be surprised if Australian-born freshman Jonny Mullings steals the job from him in the fall.

Rhabdo still being discusssed

Friday, April 8th, 2011

We had another interview session with “selected’’ Iowa players Friday and, as expected, there were a few questions about rhabdomyolysis, the ailment that hospitalized 13 Hawkeyes player following an extremely tough January workout.

There were questions. Not many answers.

“I haven’t even thought about the whole rhabdo thing,’’ defensive back Micah Hyde said. “While it was going on, it wasn’t that big a deal to me. I’ve been working out every day and haven’t missed a day.’’

It’s hard to believe Hyde hasn’t thought about it at all, especially since about half of the players who were affected play the same position he does. Surely, he noticed that fellow DBs Shaun Prater, Jordan Bernstine, Willie Lowe and Tommy Donatell went about a month-and-a-half without working out. Surely, he has heard that Lowe still is feeling the effects of the ailment and plans to transfer.

Iowa players have heard about Lowe, but the ones who were there Friday say they don’t really know anything.

“I haven’t seen him in awhile,’’ quarterback James Vandenberg told us. “I don’t know all the facts. I know he was a great guy when he was here. I liked him a lot. His locker was just down from mine and he was always a fun guy to be around.’’