The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Canzeri, Daniels, healthy, ready to go

WEST DES MOINES — As of now, running backs Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels will be near the top of the depth chart when Iowa begins camp in August.

It was pretty obvious during the Hawkeyes’ open practice in West Des Moines that they were the best two backs on the field. While Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell Jr. both had their moments, nearly all the first-team carries went to the Canzeri-Daniels tandem

Canzeri got the first carry, but at this point, the competition looks open.

“I think that’s one thing that has been a little more encouraging things over the last nine days,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said after the  practice. “Today was the first that both Jordan and LeShun were tackled, and I thought both of those guys flashed and did some good things.”

With Iowa breaking in a number of new players on the offensive line, there definitely were some struggles getting holes open for the backs.

Neither was ever able to really get into open space, though Canzeri believes that will change.

“They’re coming along,” he said. “It’s just the little things that we all need to work on and continue to work, on and they’re doing great in practice.”

Daniels, whose brother graduated from high school early and is in Iowa’s spring camp, echoed Canzeri’s thoughts.

“We got young guys on the line, and I know they’re going to do a real good job for us,” he said. “I have faith in them as my teammates, and we believe in all of those young guys.”

Despite running behind an inconsistent line, neither Canzeri nor Daniels showed a whole lot of rust or indication of a lingering injury, good signs for a team that has had numerous injuries at the position over the last several seasons.

Daniels was not afraid to take contact and looked like he still wanted to run downhill. That’s a good thing for a back that slimmed down — he’s roughly 225 pounds — a bit during the off-season in an attempt to become more of an every-down back.

“I focused on my diet a lot,” Daniels said. “Eating more vegetables, more fruits or maybe getting an extra run in on Saturdays.”

While Daniels is already a powerful back, adding even more speed could be highly beneficial to the team. Canzeri is the faster of the two and more speed on the field could certainly help with that.

Speaking of speed, both Wadley and Mitchell showed a bit of that during the practice. They probably won’t play a whole lot this year, though Ferentz feels that he is seeing good progression from both of them.

Mitchell is still learning the position after switching from wide receiver, and it was fairly obvious. He seemed a little unsure of himself on several occasions, but even from just a short look, it’s not hard to find the potential.

“Obviously, Derrick, it’s a new position for him, but it looks like he has some inclination to play there and has some things to work on right now,” Ferentz said. “Akrum’s done a better job of ball security, but it’s not where it needs to be.”

Follow @JordyHansen for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa football team.

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