Iowa junior defensive tackle Carl Davis has had his name dropped so often this spring, you might think he’s rolling with Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, defensive line coach Reese Morgan and senior linebacker James Morris all have brought up Davis’ name when talking about defensive linemen who have made big improvements.
“Carl has really some special abilities,” Morgan said. “And I tell you what’s really nice is, he’s really buying into things.”
Of course, Davis was a popular pick to break out last fall, too.
Davis didn’t start for Iowa last season, and finished with just 14 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in spot duty at defensive tackle for the 4-8 Hawkeyes.
But Davis version 2.0 is different.
“I’m more confident,” Davis said. “Last year I was coming off my knee injury. I was scared of pile ups, things like that. Now I’m more confident. I just play. I give my all when I’m out there.
“I’m having fun in practice, that’s a big thing. Sometimes I have some rough days. When I do, I look forward to the next practice day.”
Davis — at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds — is the biggest D-lineman by a fair shake. In fact, part of his transformation his first few years at Iowa hasn’t been to add pounds, but to make the existing pounds work for him.
“It’s been rough,” Davis said. “It takes a lot of hard work trying to get myself in shape. It is something I always need to work on because I’m a big guy.”
Morgan said they’re worried about Davis playing against quick-snap offenses.
“When you have a bigger guy that’s working and we are going up against up-tempo offenses and we tell them, ‘When the ball takes off, you run,’ all of the things we are asking him to do are a little bit out of his comfort zone,” Morgan said. “He’s worried about fatiguing, he’s worried about that.
“We said, play yourself into shape and we’ll do some extra stuff to do that.”
Davis came to Iowa at about 315 pounds and still is 315 pounds. But it’s not the same weight.
“Its redistributed,” Davis said. “I can hide it pretty well.”
He’s got the kind of size that can take on two offensive linemen at once and clog the inside.
“He’s having a very good spring,” Morgan said. “You’d like to have some guys inside, two tackles inside, with some girth that can take on the double teams that can bull-rush and that can stop that inside run.”
Ferentz said Davis fell behind when he missed last spring recovering from knee surgery. The prior fall, he played in just six games as a redshirt freshman.
Ferentz thinks the light has come on for Davis, now a junior-to-be.
“Players develop confidence with experience,” Ferentz said. “He’s had a really good winter. The strength staff is pleased with how he worked. It just seemed like he just seemed to mature and turn the corner a little bit.”
Junior Louis Trinca-Pasat started all 12 games last season at one defensive tackle (he is out this spring following knee surgery). Sophomore Darian Cooper is back after starting twice a year ago at the other tackle.
But Iowa certainly can find room for Davis if he’s ready.
“Carl has really some special abilities, and I tell you what’s really nice is, he’s really buying into things,” Morgan said. “He’s working harder. He’s improving more but it doesn’t come consistently.
“I think he’s really going to be an excellent player for us, I really do.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football