IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa football players are anxious to take their game on the road today.
“It’s something to break the monotony of spring ball, something different, and I think it’s something we’re all looking forward to,” senior linebacker James Morris said.
The Hawkeyes will hold a spring practice for the first time ever in West Des Moines today, working out at 1:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium, and all tickets for the event were quickly scooped up by fans.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said the idea of taking a practice on the road came up during staff meetings during the offseason as a way to not only provide players with a change of routine but also to give Hawkeye fans in central and western Iowa easier access to an Iowa event.
“There are a lot of people in that part of the state and even in eastern Nebraska who travel to Kinnick Stadium in the fall and this is our way to say ‘Thank you’ to them for their support,” Ferentz said. “I know our players are looking forward to it, as well. They always seem to enjoy playing in front of fans, and it will be good to get guys out in front of people and see how they react.”
The day will be a typical practice for the Hawkeyes and not a spring-game type situation. The bulk of time during the practice will be spent on drill work and a controlled scrimmage.
It will mark the first time this spring that fans will have a chance to see Iowa’s three candidates who hope to replace James Vandenberg as the starting quarterback compete.
Sophomore Jake Rudock, junior Cody Sokol and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard continue to share an equal amount of work behind center, something that will likely continue today. Ferentz likes what he has seen from each so far, saying it remains “a three-horse race.”
The day trip is one of several that Big Ten teams are taking this spring. Illinois held a practice in Chicago in late March, and Ohio State played its spring game Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Morris said. “It puts us in a different environment and gives people who might not be able to get to Iowa City very often a chance to see us practice.”
The West Des Moines practice is one of two Hawkeye practices that will be open to the public this spring. Iowa will hold its traditional spring practice at Kinnick Stadium on April 27.