We end our week-long preview of Iowa Hawkeye Spring Football practice with a look at the leadership of the team heading into the 2016 season.
The Hawkeyes will need to have a steady backbone of leaders if they are going to duplicate their success last year that resulted in an unbeaten regular season, an appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, and the Rose Bowl.
In terms of on-field and locker room leadership on the roster, two stars have staked their claim to those roles so far this spring, according to Head Coach Kirk Ferentz: Quarterback CJ Beathard and linebacker Josey Jewell.
“CJ was a team captain last year all season long, and then on the permanent captain ballot,” said Ferentz. “And Josey Jewell the same thing. I think, you guys know better than I, I think it’s the first time we’ve had a sophomore be named as a permanent team captain in my 17 years. So it’s a pretty good starting point.”
For the leadership of the group, those two are not alone in helping guide the program.
“We’ve got a lot of older guys that I think are doing a good job in that regard,” according to Ferentz. “But like I said, those guys move up, and there is another void to be filled. So those are the things that you’re looking at during the course of the spring just to see not only what guys are doing on the field, but what they’re doing in terms of just handling the situations that they’re confronted with.”
Although the familiarity of some of the top players in the program is nice, their on-field performance will still need to improve for Iowa to continue to gain traction at the national level.
“The older guys, guys like CJ and Josey, if they play the way they played last year, it’s not going to be good enough,” Ferentz explained. “We need them to play better, and that’s true of all the guys that have played.”
The same is true for the players who are new to the program or who haven’t seen the field in games yet.
“We’ve got to have younger guys supporting those guys and moving along because you just never know when somebody’s going to get called into action,” according to Ferentz. “There are a lot of moving parts, but it’s a new challenge every year, for sure. But we’ve got new opportunities as well.”
We will continue to cover Iowa Hawkeye football throughout the spring and into the fall with training camp commencing in August. You can catch all of the action this fall on 104.9 FM KBOE, and you can view Iowa stories online at radiokmzn.com.