Thousands of fans made their way to Iowa City on Saturday to watch Iowa's open practice and partial scrimmage inside Kinnick Stadium. Unlike last year, when freezing temps and snow limited attendance, that wasn't the case in 2012 as an estimated crowd of 15,000 took in the sights and sounds of the open practice.
What fans saw inside Kinnick Stadium was far from thrill-a-minute stuff as the team went through a series of position drills before scrimmaging briefly at the end of the roughly two hour session. Newly minted offensive coordinator Greg Davis termed Saturday a "work day" when he met with reporters last week and that's about as accurate a description as can be placed on Saturday's showing.
Iowa no longer keeps official statistics for its spring scrimmage but Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and his colleagues did a fine job of logging who did what, which you can read here. Don't read too much into those numbers - they're accurate but the equivalent of a major league player's spring training stats.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters afterward it was clear the team still has plenty of issues to address before fall camp opens later this year.
"It's spring practice and as everybody saw today, we have a lot of work to do right now after 12 practices," he said. "On the positive side, the guys have been attentive all spring and they're doing a good job of learning, but we still have a lot of work to do.
"We're hardly a cohesive group right now; we have a lot of guys making progress and a lot of good stories going on, but we're hardly there by any stretch of the imagination."
The defense appeared well ahead of the offense but that's to be expected with a new coordinator installing a new playbook.
“There are growing pains with a new offense and with young offensive guys out there,” said quarterback James Vandenberg, who heads into his senior season as the unquestioned No. 1 starter under center. "There are going to be bumps or bruises along the way."
Running back Damon Bullock, one of two Hawkeye backs to see carries on Saturday, is likely sporting a few of those as well following a highlight reel hit by promising sophomore-to-be Nico Law.
Again, it's tough to gauge things based off one brief glimpse of a team. That's especially true in the spring when true freshmen aren't in camp. We'll have to wait until August to see the likes of Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill in the Iowa backfield.
Contrary to popular belief, the Hawks aren't quite down with their spring workouts yet.
"We still have three more practices, so we'll get back at it," Ferentz said. "Overall I thought it was a decent day of work out here and we're making some progress."