Hawkeyes defense dominates spring game, and Luka Garza receives John Wooden award

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The defense was good, the offense was not. It’s simple as that for the Iowa spring game as the Hawkeyes defense dominated on all three levels. The units looking for another impressive season in 2021.

“It’s a good day but there is a lot of stuff that we obviously have to work on and that’s what our coaches relayed to us. You know it was back and forth throughout spring ball and that’s how it’s going to be. It’s obvious we need to take strides in some regards and that’s a product of work. And it’s really good we got spring ball in this year. Opposed to last year just sitting at home,” said Zach VanValkenburg Iowa defensive lineman.

“Spring I feel like we consistently improved a lot of guys I feel like started jumping out with some young guys. Stuff started clicking with them in the back end. We had a really young front. There were a couple of injuries, stuff like that, just kind of seeing adversity first hand” Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell said.

Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferentz credits the veteran leadership to why the team had a productive spring.

“I think overall it’s been a good spring, it’s been a productive spring for us. I think the attitude been good. The efforts have been good, so happy about that. We are seeing a lot of improvement and starting with the older guys. We are kind of in tears with our football team. Got some guys who played a lot of football, think about Linderbaum on offense, think about VanValkenburg on defense. He’s like 28 now or however old he is. Both those guys out there just practicing well but I’d say that about all of our experienced players. I thought they really were working hard, I thought they improved, and if we are going to have a good team that’s really important” said Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.

Zach VanValkenburg maybe like 28 years old but he still has some things he needs to prove.

“I came back I wanted to be a part of the leadership on this team. I feel like I had some unfinished business and I’m just really excited to come back and get to come to Kinnick with some fans this year” said VanValkenburg.

A strength for the Hawkeyes this season will be the linebackers led by veterans Jack Campbell and Seth Benson.

“I feel like as a linebacker group, we can be as good as we want to be and I feel like a lot of guys in there love football which makes it easy and off the field really good people. And off the field that’s where we make relationships and connections and I feel like the linebacker group, we are a close group. That’s going to allow us to build trust and have consistency” Campbell said.

Another Vet Riley Moss had an impressive spring. The defensive back seems to be always around the ball.

“He made two plays, not this week but the week before in one practice. Like balls were getting battered around and somehow he came out with it and then today he made a nice play. He has really had a good spring and I would include him in that veteran group of guys. We know he can play winning football for us. He’s taken this the way we hoped he would and I think all of our older guys have set a good example for younger guys,” said Ferentz.

This is the first time that many of these players have gone through spring ball, and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz hopes that experience pays off this fall. The Hawkeyes first game is at home against Indiana on September the 4th.

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