Iowa football veterans stress importance of summer workouts

The upperclassmen are helping the younger players make the most of the summer program.

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Jerod Ringwald

Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta attempts to stiff arm Nebraska safety Marquel Dismuke during a football game between No. 16 Iowa and Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 28-21.

Chris Werner, Summer Sports Editor


While the Iowa football team won’t play its first regular-season game of 2022 until South Dakota comes to town on Sept. 3,  summer workouts are in full swing.

Players are getting back into the practice facility for weight training, conditioning, film work, and on-field drills while meeting some of the new Hawkeyes for the first time.

At a media availability session on June 23, upperclassmen Jack Campbell, John Waggoner, and Sam Laporta spoke about the importance of the summer session, especially for younger players.

Campbell, a senior linebacker who was second in the Big Ten in tackles last season, told reporters that summer is the time when freshmen are really introduced to the college game. Campbell reminisced about his days as a first-year during the summer months of 2019.

“It’s gonna kind of come with experience and making mistakes and maybe not figuring out how fast the summer goes by and maybe a kind of hit in the face,” Campbell said. “I mean, when I was a freshman and I came in, Kristian Welch was here and he let me know how fast it’s going to happen. If you don’t have the right mindset, the right attitude it’s going to fly by and you’re not going to even progress.”

Welch is now entering his third season in the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

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Waggoner, a senior defensive lineman who has been in the program since 2018, noted the importance of a routine. He said the summer is when freshmen learn how to operate.

“A lot that I learned when I was a freshman was just like, how to operate, how to act inside and out of the building, just being a professional,” Waggoner said. “Having your priorities straight, having a good routine that you can fall back on. [If you do those things,] you’re gonna get things done and improve.”

Waggoner may be primed for his biggest season yet as Zach VanValkenburg moved on to the NFL after a stellar 2021 season that included 58 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.

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LaPorta, a senior tight end who has been named a preseason All-American and All-Big Ten first-teamer ahead of the 2022 season, likened summer workouts to a ramp getting players ready for what’s to come.

“Getting in shape and [continuing] to build your strength training leading up to fall camp, and, of course, the skills and drills and the fieldwork that we do all summer, it’s really important as well,” LaPorta said. “So trying to emphasize that to the young guys, it’s critical.”

Fall camp begins at the start of August.

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