Skip to main content

IOWA CITY, Iowa - We saw Hawkeyes on the Kinnick Stadium field on Saturday.

Which means, at the halfway point of fall camp, we actually got to see live action, something other than photos from practice that have been dissected like pictures taken from a Cold War spy plane.

It was Kids Day for Iowa’s football team, the lone chance anyone in the public or the media gets to see the Hawkeyes before the Sept. 3 season opener at home against South Dakota State.

The Hawkeyes, of course, are a work in progress, because every team is a work in progress at this point in camp.

But coach Kirk Ferentz had a positive view of his team after a couple of hours in front of a live crowd, so that’s something.

“I was actually kind of pleased with what I saw today,” Ferentz said. “I thought the guys moved around pretty good. They had good attitude, good focus.”

Of course, he wasn’t going to lean too far into all-is-well.

“Certainly plenty of things to work on,” Ferentz said.

We didn’t get a true overall taste of what the Hawkeyes will look like come that September afternoon against the FCS-level Jackrabbits.

Quarterback Spencer Petras was sharp in the snaps he took, but he didn’t take that many. The bulk of the QB work, outside of the third-down session, belonged to Alex Padilla and Joey Labas.

Ferentz has liked what he’s seen from his QBs behind the walls of Iowa’s practice facility, and he liked what he saw on Saturday.

“(Petras has) had a good 10 days so far,” Ferentz said. “And Alex is improving, too.”

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Asked why Petras didn’t get more live work in the public eye, Ferentz said, “We feel like he’s got a lot of good reps in camp already. Nine days, he’s played a lot. We know more about him, like what we’ve seen, like what we saw today.”

There were a lot of younger players on display, just because of the nagging injuries that have kept so many of the veteran players out.

Gavin and Leshon Williams are the only two running backs with any experience, but with Gavin out with an injury, and wanting to build depth, Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson got plenty of carries on Saturday.

The offensive line was a revolving door as the Hawkeyes search for the right combination. Two of Iowa’s keys in the wide receiver room — Keagan Johnson and Brody Brecht — were playing catch together as they recover from what ails them and has limited their work.

Saturday was the only view we’ll have of the Hawkeyes until we see them again, when it matters.

It wasn’t a complete view, but it was something. And for Ferentz, it was a chance to change things up because August can get long and hot without a change of routine.

Seeing fans, signing autographs, and getting work?

“That’s healthy,” Ferentz said. “Just a healthy change for everybody.”

Then he quipped, “All of our guys were kids at one point. Even me, at one stage, I was a kid.”

There were a lot of kids on the field, getting a chance because of the injuries around them. The next time we see the Hawkeyes, maybe we see those younger players, maybe we don’t.

It’s why there were still plenty of fans lined up along the gated path leading the players from Kinnick to the football facility, two hours after the day had started.

One young boy kept reaching under the rope to slap hands with the players. Finally, it was time to go.

“See you later, Hawkeyes,” he said.