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Notebook: JVB ready to watch ‘Hard Knocks’

[ 0 ] June 26, 2012 |

Iowa senior quarterback James Vandenberg plans on tuning into HBO on Aug. 7 and it isn’t to catch “Game of Thrones.”

Vandenberg is hoping to watch former Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe show up on the latest Edition of “Hard Knocks” with the Miami Dolphins.

“Absolutely!” Vandenberg said earlier this month. “Coach O’Keefe is on it, and now he’s got to coach Ocho Cinco. So that’s going to be really neat.”

O’Keefe was hired by former Iowa assistant coach Joe Philbin, who took over as head coach in Miami in February.

During the last few months the Dolphins have traded controversial receiver Brandon Marshall, and then later added Ocho Cinco, a former all-pro receiver known as much for his antics as his pass-catching.

“I think those guys in the NFL are all a step above,” Vandenberg said. “I think he’ll be prepared for it, but I think it’ll be a great challenge.”

DEFENSE WITH TEETH: Junior linebacker Christian Kirksey said the defense hasn’t changed much in the transition from Norm Parker to Phil Parker.

“To me it’s the same,” Kirksey said. “He’s just more aggressive.”

It is an aggressive attitude that is shared by Parker’s defensive players.

“It’s the players that have changed,” Kirksey said. “We’ll stick to the same fundamentals as last year, but we have real aggressive players — Nico Law, Anthony Hitchens, James Morris, Carl Davis.”

FB IN THE MIX: Junior fullback Brad Rogers is keeping his weight in a place where he can be a ball carrier as well as a blocker this fall.

“I’ve talked to the coaches, and they’ve told me be ready to do whatever,” Rogers said. “If I have to go in at one back, if I have to go in at fullback … just be ready.”

Rogers said new offensive coordinator Greg Davis uses the fullback much like it has been used in the past at Iowa.

But instead of just a battering ram that rarely carries or catches the ball, Rogers could get a few touches.

“It is a traditional offense,” Rogers said. “Coach Davis is just throwing his spin on things.”

NO RESPECT: Senior Steve Bigach said that players are aware that the early predictions have them in the lower half of the Legends Division this fall.

“To say we don’t know that people are overlooking us is a lie,” Bigach said. “A lot of guys probably know that.

“We’re not picked to be particularly strong in the division. That’s more motivation for everybody.”

Bigach said the key is that coach Kirk Ferentz keeps the same attitude whether Iowa is picked preseason Top 25 or not.

“We go about things the same way every year,” Bigach said. “We’re not going to radically go out and change a lot of things because we’re not picked to win.

“But it definitely puts a chip on your shoulder.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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