Iowa football wraps up spring practice, turns focus to summer workouts

The Hawkeyes will meet as a team next week before they adjourn for the summer. Iowa football’s preseason workouts will begin June 7.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras makes an adjustment during a spring practice for Iowa football at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa football’s second open practice at Kinnick Stadium Saturday effectively wrapped up the Hawkeyes’ spring schedule.

Iowa began its spring football schedule back on March 30 and has since gotten 15 practices in.

“The message starting off was, ‘Let’s build it one day at a time, come out with intent,’ because sometimes we’d have a sloppy practice,” junior linebacker Jack Campbell said after Saturday’s open practice. “We can’t start stacking sloppy practices because then we’re not gonna build. We’re gonna have no consistency. The main message [head coach Kirk Ferentz] was trying to get the point across was, ‘We just gotta build consistency over the 15 practices.’”

“There were some rough days in there, just as a team,” Campbell added. “I feel like all the guys responded and we got some stuff done in these 15 practices. I’m excited to see when we get back in June and train, and then I’m excited to see what we can do this season.”

Next week, the Hawkeyes will still meet for team activities. After that, they’ll receive a break before they begin their summer training regimen.

“We got one more week here, just doing some lifts, testing,” senior defensive end Zach VanValkenburg said. “Then, we get to go home, get some time off. Then it’s back here working all summer until camp.”

The Hawkeyes will return to Iowa City for summer workouts starting June 7.

In the meantime, the Hawkeyes will focus on their individual training — some of which will happen away from Iowa City.

“Right now, after spring ball, we’ll take finals and then I can go home, back to Atlanta, Georgia, and train there for a couple weeks,” junior running back Tyler Goodson said. “Then, we’ll come back here and train here. That’s pretty much it. Then, we go into fall camp and get ready for the season.”

Like Goodson, Campbell also has the rest of his offseason planned out — identifying exactly what he wants to improve upon before the regular season begins Sept. 4.

“Spring ball right now, since it wrapped up for me, I’m gonna go back, look at the tape, see all my weaknesses, grow, see what I did well, and then how I can do better,” Campbell said. “Also, something I’m going to focus on this summer is grabbing the young guys, and just bringing them along, bringing them under the wing because this is what the Hawkeye program is built off of. Just bringing young guys and getting them to grow.”

“I hate to say it, but we’re not bringing in five-star athletes left and right,” Campbell added. “We’re a developmental program.”

Before their offseason training really ramps up, some Hawkeyes will use the three-week break they’re given before workouts begin June 7 to relax and unwind.

“I’m gonna go home for a few days,” senior kicker Caleb Shudak said. “I’m definitely going to do a lot of golfing. You know, unwind a little bit. But yeah, go home and then maybe try to get out of town somewhere.”

When Iowa returns to practice this summer, its regimen could look a lot different than it has in previous seasons.

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee — college football’s most most influential policy-making group — is set to recommend big changes to the sport’s summer camp structure soon.

Among the notable changes the FOC will recommend the NCAA implement is a reduction in the number of fully-padded practices teams are allowed to hold during the summer.

Previously, college football programs have been allowed to hold 21 fully-padded practices over the summer. If the FOC’s recommendations are implemented, that number would be reduced to eight.

The FOC’s proposed plan would also ban collision exercises like “Oklahoma,” and limit teams to 90 minutes of contact-based drills per practice.

The FOC’s proposed plan comes in response to a five-year concussion study that found that 72 percent of concussions and 67 percent of head impacts occurred during practices, not games.

Should the FOC’s proposed plan get the OK from the NCAA, it could be put in place in August before summer camps across the nation begin.

“The single biggest thing you can do to make camps safer, preseason safer is create more space in between [practices],” Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “ … What would make more sense is give guys more time away, let them breathe a little bit, and recover. That’s the key to keeping people healthy.”

“Part of playing football is you gotta learn how to take a hit and deliver a hit safely,” Ferentz added. “… There’s risk in doing what we do. We all know that. And all of us that played then and don’t play now, we’re all dumb enough we’d probably sign up for it, or at least most of us would.”

The NCAA previously banned two-a-day practices in 2017. The number of total preseason practices college football teams can hold was reduced from 29 to 25 in 2018.

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