football Edit

Three Takeaways from Thursday's Coordinator Presser

LeVar Woods speaks to the media on April 20th coordinator availability presser.
LeVar Woods speaks to the media on April 20th coordinator availability presser. (© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Three Iowa coaches -- offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, defensive coordinator Phil Parker, and special teams coach LeVar Woods -- spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday's open practice. They had a lot to say about several players, so let's tackle some of their most noteworthy comments.

Waiting on McNamara and All


With the additions of Cade McNamara and Erick All via the transfer portal, this may be the first time in a while that Iowa fans have had significant reason to be excited about seeing the Hawkeye offense in action. Unfortunately, they're going to have to wait a little bit longer -- at least for McNamara.

"[Cade] may get some work on Saturday," Ferentz said. "But we want to be smart. He's been a bit limited coming off of his surgery, but he's been out there in individual and 7-on-7 work. He's able to get reps and throw the football but hasn't been able to do any 11-on-11 work. We've certainly been pleased with what we've been able to see him do."

That lack of full-go reps with the entire offense has the staff looking ahead to the fall to build the necessary rapport between receivers and quarterback.

"Obviously that has to be a concern," Ferentz said. "We've done plenty of 7-on-7 work and routes on air. He's out there doing just about everything but team work. I see the chemistry being built, I see it getting there. The reality is that 90% of the passing game is [running] routes on air anyway -- it's timing. We don't see a ton of man coverage. We can try to recreate as many of those situations in a controlled environment as we can right now. And we're going to have to hope that we'll get enough 11-on-11 work in fall camp. I'm pretty confident that we will. We've done it before, and Cade has played a lot of 11-on-11 football in his life."

All has dealt with an injury that hampered his ability to fully participate at times during the spring, but he has seen more 11-on-11 action than McNamara.

"Like Cade, he's been a little bit limited coming off a back injury," Ferentz said. "We've tried to limit his team work. He's seen more 11-on-11 work than Cade. I've just been really pleased with what he's done. He's a big, physical guy that moves very well for his size. He has really natural ball-catching skills. He likes football and being a part of a team. He cares about football. He's a fun guy to coach and be around."

"On both [Cade and Erick] -- the football part is good," he added. "We knew that would be good, but what they've brought to our football team on a personal level, from a leadership and experience standpoint -- I've really been more pleased with that than anything."

Walk-On Wide Receivers to Watch

The departures of Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce IV, along with Brody Brecht focusing on baseball and the ever-present concern of injury, has the wide receiver corps in Iowa City running... thin. With Charleston Southern transfer Seth Anderson sidelined for the spring, it's given other receivers (not named Nico Ragaini and Diante Vines) the opportunity to step up.

"I think Alec Wick has continued to come on," Ferentz said. "Dating back to last spring, he has put together a really solid body of work over a year and has continued to improve and get better."

The Iowa City Regina product caught two passes for 31 yards last season as a redshirt freshman.

"Reese Osgood is another young guy that has jumped off the tape," Ferentz added. "He's similar to where Wick was a year ago, he's just not as experienced as Alec is right now. But he's definitely doing a lot of the right things."

Osgood has yet to see any game action, taking a redshirt last season. As a senior at Franklin High School (Wisconsin), he recorded 58 receptions for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns.

"I see a lot of guys [in the receiver group] and a lot of reason to be excited," Ferentz said. "Right now, it's early. We need to continue working and need to stack good days on good days."

Super Cooper

It's no secret that Hawkeye cornerback Cooper DeJean can do it all. Between 75 tackles, three TFL, 13 pass break-ups, five interceptions (three returned for a touchdown) and ten punts returned for 165 yards, the Odebolt native almost never leaves the field. Expect more of that in 2023.

"The way he goes about his work, the determination, the competitor he is and how he goes about his business -- he's always trying to get better," Parker said. "He can play every position on the field in the backend of the defense and can probably play some other different positions. His balance and his ability to diagnose situations faster than everybody else [are what separate him], and he really has some hands like Spider-Man."

Parker said DeJean has continued to show growth as a leader as well.

"He has talked to some guys when he sees them not doing something exactly [right] or not finishing a play," he added. "Even something like 'Hey, tuck the ball away,' [after an interception]. That was one of the first things I saw about seven days ago from him. That made me say 'Wow. Okay, that's good.' Because he wouldn't say that before. He's a quiet guy and really humble, so I had never seen him do that. "

Woods then took to the podium and generally confirmed that DeJean's special teams versatility will once again be utilized in 2023.

"Everyone wants to know who the punt returner and kick returner are," he said. "We all saw what Cooper did last year. I'd be surprised if we don't start off the season with him as the punt returner."

"He has a natural ability with the ball in his hands," Woods continued. "The guy is fearless. He's smart. The guy is tremendously gifted as an athlete. Some of that is having 'it.' But Cooper, when he was a freshman, he was the first guy out every day. He worked in the dark when no one was paying attention."