Iowa held its annual media day Aug. 8, marking the first time this season the media had the opportunity to catch up with the team. The Hawkeyes began fall camp Aug. 6 and wore shoulder pads for the first time Aug. 8. Below are three story lines from the day.
After speaking publicly only a week ago at Big Ten media days in Chicago, head coach Kirk Ferentz announced a few updates with his team.
Ferentz announced a change in position for redshirt freshman Jameer Outsey. Outsey came to Iowa as a linebacker but is now a tight end. Ferentz said the move made sense for a few different reasons. The team is thin at the position because of senior Jake Duzey’s knee injury (more on that in a moment), and the head Hawkeye believes Outsey’s skills are better suited to offense.
“He was doing OK at linebacker, showed some good attributes, but as far as really being able to play the game at that position the way we’d hoped, probably not,” Ferentz said.
As far as Duzey goes, the timetable still calls for Duzey to return somewhere around the end of September. He said he’s ahead of schedule from where he originally thought he’d be when he tore his patella tendon in spring ball.
“It’s a day-by-day thing, you just have to try to come in every day to get better,” he said. “As soon as I can be out there, I’ll be out there with the guys … I love [to be back sooner], but I just have to do whatever the trainers say, so whenever I get out there, I get out there.”
LeShun Daniels Jr., who is currently penciled in as Iowa’s No. 1 running back on the two-deeps, was “nicked up” in practice Aug. 8, Ferentz said. It doesn’t sound like anything serious, and Ferentz said Daniels would likely be on the field when the team holds open practice on Aug. 15.
Safeties to watch
After losing John Lowdermilk to the NFL after last season, it was obvious that whoever took over the strong safety spot would likely have less experience than Lowdermilk had.
Now in the current two-deeps, the Hawkeyes have sophomore Miles Taylor slotted at the position with redshirt freshman Brandon Snyder behind him. They are also the only underclassmen listed on the depth chart in the defensive backfield.
That said, nothing is a done deal at this point. In Iowa Ferentz’s press conference, he said Snyder was the “most flexible” of all the safeties on Iowa’s roster, meaning he could find himself playing a bit of free safety as well.
“It’s definitely a good competition going on between Miles Taylor and Anthony Gair; there are a lot of other guys in the mix, too,” cornerback Greg Mabin said. “That’s a competition that’s going to be going on all the way through camp and maybe into the first week of the season.”
Gair has been flipping between free and strong safety, though with Jordan Lomax listed as the starting free safety, that position seems locked up.
Iowa probably doesn’t want to move Lomax to strong safety and will more than likely let Snyder, Taylor, and Gair fight through the growing pains.
“Jordan probably could be an excellent strong safety, as well,” Ferentz said. “I’m not sure we want to move his experience out of [his current] role, but we’re eager to see what happens over the next couple weeks.”
Although the vibe at media day was generally positive, the Hawkeyes also released some not-so-positive news: The program announced a 17-percent drop in season ticket sales from the same time period last year.
On July 30, 2014 (30 days from the Hawkeyes’ 2014 season-opener), Iowa had sold 45,613 season tickets. As of Aug. 6 (30 days from the 2015 opener against Illinois State), the team had sold 37,890 season tickets.
Throughout the off-season, Athletics Director Gary Barta has said the declining number of season-ticket sales was not surprising.
DI football reporter Jordan Hansen contributed to this story.