Steve Roe, Athletic Communications, 319-335-9425 (office); 319-430-6346 (cell)
Let's get it started
Let's get it started
Let's get it started
University of Iowa students completed final exams last Friday, marking the end of a college career for some and the beginning of summer break for others.
The same can be said for Hawkeye student athletes, in particular members of the UI football program. Late last month, six former Hawkeyes were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, marking the third straight year in which Iowa has had six players selected. With offensive lineman Riley Reiff being selected by Detroit with the 23rd selection, it marks the third straight year Iowa has had a first-round selection.
James Vandenburg says summer workouts are an important phase for the UI football program, both from physical and mental perspectives. Photo by Darren Miller.
Along with the six draft selections, as many as five additional Hawkeye seniors signed NFL free agent contracts immediately following the draft.
For the underclassmen who will return next season, the end of classes means it is time for a break, even though it is a shorter break than most students will enjoy. Members of the Hawkeye football team will begin summer workouts, supervised by the strength and conditioning staff, in early June.
Two seniors-to-be who have learned the ropes of summer activities are quarterback James Vandenberg and defensive back Micah Hyde, who will be counted on to provide leadership this fall. Both will take a short break, but both are eager to move forward to the summer program.
“This is a very important phase for us, especially with a new offense,” Vandenberg says. “So as much as we can outside of scheduled time, it is up to me and other skill position guys to meet, play catch, go through plays, and watch film. There is no better time to do that than the offseason.”
Vandenberg and Hyde agree the summer is used for physical training, but that there is also mental preparation for the season involved.
“A lot of it is weightlifting and running,” Vandenberg says. “But when we get together as an offense and as a group, that is mental reps, 7-on-7, throwing to the routes, and going through the play combinations. There are a lot of mental aspects, especially with a new offense.
“It’s a great experience having [new offensive coordinator Greg] Davis around, being able to continually ask him questions about the ins and outs of the offense. … It’s something you want to become second nature with all the play calls, and slowly but surely we are getting there. The summer is a great opportunity to continue doing that.”
On defense, Hyde says he knows what is ahead and how to prepare for the season.
“Going into my last year, I know how this works and what to expect,” says Hyde, a starter since his sophomore year. “Summer workouts are going to be tough; that is the way it is supposed to be. Basically, the big thing about the summer is for conditioning, and getting in shape, preparing for August and the season to come. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get better.
“It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and a good time for team bonding. We do our lifting and conditioning in the morning, then we do things together in the afternoon. It’s a great chance to bond with young players, there’s a lot of time to talk to younger guys.”
Both Hyde and Vandenberg say they will take a short break from football.
“I’ll go home for a couple of days, see some baseball games in Cleveland,” Hyde says. “But in the end, you want to get back here working out, preparing for the season coming up. I get bored at home. I’ll be here working out, preparing myself for the best.”
For Vandenberg, the break means some time for enjoying the outdoors.
“I’m actually heading to Canada to do some hunting,” Vandenburg says. “That is my escape. Then back in Iowa City until the start of fall camp.”
The Hawkeyes report for the official start of practice during the first few days of August and open the season Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois at Chicago’s Soldier Field.