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Coaches rave about early goings-on

[ 0 ] March 28, 2012 |

Other than Iowa running backs coach Lester Erb reflecting on the unusually high rate of attrition at his position, Wednesday’s media gathering was a feel-good affair.

Erb and Iowa defensive backs coach Darrell Wilson, along with four players met with reporters to give the latest update on spring practice, which started last week.

Their message was pretty much the same in that everybody on the team is working really hard and is really excited and really focused on getting better in hopes of having a really good 2012 season. It’s amazing how many times the word “really” is used as an adverb during spring practice.

Erb raved about working under new offensive coordinator Greg Davis. Erb also made Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz sound like a cross between Mother Teresa and Vince Lombardi.

But it was the way in which Wilson praised defensive backs B.J. Lowery and Nico Law that stood out more than anything else that was said Wednesday.

It wasn’t just what Wilson said about Lowery or Law, but how he said it. You could feel the conviction in Wilson’s voice as he updated their progress.

It’s as if Wilson was just waiting to tell somebody outside of the program about his two mostly unproven defensive backs.

Wilson didn’t predict stardom for either one, but he also didn’t hold back his praise, especially with regard to Lowery, who will be a junior next fall and is expected to replace Shaun Prater as the starter at left cornerback.

“B.J., I’m really excited about him,” Wilson said of Lowery. “He’s going to be a tremendous football player for us.

“He’s that guy who can press a guy and run with him and break on the different routes.”

Wilson made it a point to include all the defensive backs when told that it sounded like he had high expectations for Lowery.

Lowery’s situation is different, though, because his coming-out party was delayed by an arm injury that caused him to miss the first five games last season. Lowery came back and showed flashes down the stretch, but not enough to call the Cincinnati native a proven commodity.

So for now, we just have to take Wilson at his word.

“With the injury, it was kind of a setback, but he is an extremely talented young man,” Wilson said. “And with his ability, we’ll be able to do some things out there where we can probably lock him down on a guy and do some other things on the back end.”

It’s not often that an Iowa cornerback is described as being a lock-down corner, especially without even starting a game.

In case you’re wondering, Ohio State didn’t offer Lowery a scholarship despite him being from in-state. Wilson explained it as a case where the Buckeyes can only offer so many scholarships each year, so every once in a while a gem slips through the cracks.

As for Law, he grew up in Maryland and is part of Iowa’s recent recruiting success in that state. He’s listed ahead of two seniors — Tom Donatell and Collin Sleeper — as the starter at strong safety despite only being a sophomore and despite only having played mostly on special teams.

“Everything he wants to do he just wants to rip your head off,” Wilson said of Law. “We have to tell him that we have to play with controlled violence.”

There are worse things you could have to tell your starting strong safety.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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