IOWA CITY, Iowa - Tyler Goodson wants to play in the NFL, which isn’t a surprise.
To get there, though, the Iowa junior running back is willing to listen to all kinds of advice.
And who better to give it to him than his new running backs coach, who played nine seasons in the NFL.
What Goodson wants from Ladell Betts is simple — break down his game to make him better.
“He’s amazing,” Goodson said. “He’s played the game, played in the NFL, played here. He knows the game a little bit, and that’s what I love about him. He’s straight to the point.
“It means a lot to me. Once you get to the level he’s been at, a lot of things change. Him dissecting my game, telling me what I need to do with my game, it means everything to me.”
Betts likes what he sees.
“The thing I like about him is he’s multi-faceted,” Betts said. “A lot of times you have running backs who aren’t able to do certain aspects of the game, and that’s not him. He doesn’t have any limitations. He’s a guy that, to me, you don’t have to take him on the field in certain situations.”
Goodson has been a big part of Iowa’s running game the last two seasons, starting as a true freshman. He rushed for 638 yards in 2019, then rushed for 762 yards last season, with four games of 100 or more yards.
Goodson eased into his role at the beginning, and then his playing time and carries increased.
“I’m comfortable in any situation now,” Goodson said. “I am glad I got to be thrown in slowly, instead of being rushed into things. Going two years in the system, being acclimated to the team and how things go, I’m very comfortable.”
That comfort is something Betts can see.
“When you play that many games, especially as a starter, been out on the field, been through some ups and downs, there’s a presence and a calm that comes throughout the years,” Betts said.
"He's got good energy, good effort,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Just everything he does is quality. So that sets such a good example and on top of it makes him a better player. He's more experienced now. He's a little bigger, a little stronger, probably in a little better condition than he would have been as a young guy. I don't know how well he can do this year, but he's certainly one of the guys we're counting on.”
It’s a young group of running backs. Senior Ivory Kelly-Martin is No. 2 on the depth chart, but behind him and Goodson are redshirt freshmen Leshon Williams and Gavin Williams.
“You know, the group's been really good, but Tyler is right at the front of it and done a really nice job,” Ferentz said.
The two seasons have built high expectations for Goodson. He’s fine with that.
“I’m comfortable in any situation,” he said. “That’s what I pride myself on. And it’s what keeps me humble.
“All in all, it’s been a fun experience for me.”