After 10 games in the 2012 season, the light bulb seemed to come on for the Iowa passing attack. At least one portion of it.
The first 10 games, C.J. Fiedorowicz caught 31 passes for 278 yards. Against Michigan and Nebraska, the final two games, Fiedorowicz had 14 catches for 155 yards.
“I think James (Vandenberg) just started having confidence,” Fiedorowicz said. “If it came to us, we’d catch the ball. As for play calling, we didn’t really change much. It just happened to come to me.”
Vandenberg has graduated, but from the open practice in West Des Moines on Sunday, it was clear that the big senior tight end will remain a key part of the offensive puzzle for the Hawkeyes.
All three quarterbacks vying for the starting job — Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard — connected with the 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end Sunday.
Iowa also has enough talent at tight end to add a second Y-Back role to the offense this year.
“It’s like a fullback that will go out for a pass,” Fiedorowicz said. “We might use a lot of two tight end sets this year. The more the better.”
Sophomore Henry Krieger Coble (4 catches, 30 yards), sophomore Jake Duzey (3-16) and junior Ray Hamilton (2-20) will work at both tight end spots this year.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked last week if college football will copy what the NFL is doing with tight ends.
“There’s no question people in the NFL, … smart people, have always valued that position,” Ferentz said. “I guess you’re starting to see tight ends being a little more involved in the passing game.”
Ferentz then acknowledged that the Hawkeyes are a bit of a throwback with how they value the tight end.
“Over the past decade, there haven’t been a lot of tight ends playing in college football because people have moved away from that position,” Ferentz said. “Typically, they are playing with more of a big receiver-type guy at that spot. You know, flexing them out.
“Again, there’s such variety in college football right now it’s hard to put it in one small box.”
Iowa’s top receiver — Kevonte Martin-Manley (52-571) returns, but there is a lot of inexperience on the outside for the Hawkeyes.
Fiedorowicz is confident the experienced group of tight ends can help with that.
“Tight ends catch the ball just as much as receivers do,” Fiedorowicz said. “What we’re hoping.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football