I've covered my share of Iowa football media days with yesterday being No. 13 on the list. It was also ranks near the bottom as far as newsworthy events and interest level.
Yes, there was the DeAndre Johnson questions right off the bat but when Kirk Ferentz dismissed the wayward running back that all but closed the door on any controversy. Unlike in the past with some players who have faced disciplinary action, Johnson wasn't left in limbo where beat writers and fans could speculate about his fate.
We got the standard personnel updates, a quick injury rundown and some standard boiler plate media day responses to standard boiler plate media day questions.
With that in mind, here are five quick things we learned yesterday when Ferentz and the Hawkeyes met the media outside the teams new indoor practice facility.
Speaking of limbo: Collin Sleeper
The only player facing disciplinary actions at the start of the season, at least according to Ferentz, is senior defensive back Collin Sleeper. The Solon native will miss multiple games after being suspended for prior misconduct.
"We'll decide [the length] as we go along here a little further," Ferentz said.
I'm not a fan of connecting dots but you may recall one player was sent home from Arizona for violating team rules last December prior to the Insight Bowl contest with Oklahoma. Sleeper wasn't on the sidelines when Iowa fell to the Sooners 31-14 in Tempe.
Everyone likes Greg Davis. Everyone
Redshirt freshman Jacob Hillyer told me he had trouble at times with certain elements of former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe's playbook. He also said that he hasn't had similar issues with Greg Davis' formations.
Take that for what it's worth since a lot of true freshmen struggle making the jump to college football.
Nary a negative word was uttered about Davis yesterday and he consistently drew the largest crowd of media when the coordinators and assistants were made available to us.
Davis has also caught the attention of one notable former Hawkeye: ex-defensive coordinator Norm Parker.
"I just saw Norm Parker in the locker room and he made the comment he's been out there a couple times, not every practice, but he was impressed with the ball not being on the ground and guys being in line with the cadence, knowing what to do for the most part," Ferentz said. "It's not the same old thing on two. I think the guys have really learned well so far, but again, we're early into the mix, and by the end of the week I'm not so sure we'll be quite as happy about that.
A man of few words
I haven't gone back and listened to the three minutes of audio I collected from sophomore defensive back Nico Law yesterday nor do I really want to.
Let's just say Law will be doing his talking on the field this fall for the Hawkeyes. He's a man of few words and whether or not it was just nerves since yesterday was the first time we were allowed to speak with him or he's just not a very talkative guy, Law's one-word answers and short responses don't bode well for a season's worth of press conferences and postgame interviews.
No one will say it but Connor Kornbrath is the starting punter
Ferentz beat around the bush when asked about replacing Eric Guthrie at punter. The depth chart has former quarterback John Wienke listed as No. 1 with Aussie import Jonny Mullings and freshman Connor Kornbrath as 'OR' options.
"Our punter could be a true freshman," Ferentz said while running down a list of positions where first-year players could see time. "I'm not trying to drop any hints or foreshadow, but it's a three man race right now, and he's got equal claim to it as anybody else. We're wide open to whoever can go."
In an attempt to get further insight on the matter, I talked with long-snapper Casey Kreiter. He works with all three guys on a regular basis but he wasn't giving me anything to go on either.
"I just try to focus on my end of the job," he said. "I haven't been paying much attention to what's going on with those guys. They're all capable guys, I'll say that."
I'd be surprised if Kornbrath isn't the one taking Kreiter's snaps when Iowa faces Northern Illinois at Soldier Field next month.
Plenty of tickets still available. Plenty
Iowa announced yesterday a crowd of about 45,000 is expected as of now at Chicago's Soldier Field when the Hawks face the Huskies. Soldier Field seats 61,500.
Attendance was listed as 61,500 when the two teams met in Chicago to open the 2007 campaign.
According to UI officials there are limited tickets remaining for home games against Northern Iowa, Central Michigan and Purdue. Iowa has sold out 56 of its last 58 home games, including the last 18 in a row.
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