IOWA CITY, Ia. – There is no offseason when it comes to pride.
And make no doubt about it, the Iowa secondary was humbled two weeks ago in West Des Moines. The Hawkeyes were holding an open practice at Valley Stadium, and a series of long pass plays left Maurice Fleming and his fellow defensive backs feeling a little exposed.
They’ll try to make amends during Saturday’s spring game at Kinnick Stadium, beginning at 2 p.m.
“We gave up a lot of big passes and our job is to defend those,” Fleming said Wednesday. “So we will fix that.”
Pass coverage was already a concern for Iowa, but a breakout performance by freshman receiver Derrick Willies brought it to the forefront.
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker described the unit as a work in progress, despite returning starters John Lowdermilk (strong safety) and Desmond King (right cornerback).
“We’ve got to find out who’s who,” Parker said. “We’re still trying to figure out the rest of the pieces of the puzzle.
“We’ve got a long way to go right now.”
Iowa allowed the second-fewest passing yards (174.7 per game) in the Big Ten last season behind Michigan State (165.6).
But the Hawkeyes had a penchant for giving up long gains.
“We’ve progressed a lot,” Fleming said. “Making the transition to being able to play a lot of man (coverage) and being in shape.”
Fleming is listed as a co-starter at left cornerback along with Sean Draper.
Jordan Lomax continues to adjust to his role as free safety after switching from cornerback.
“I think Jordan is doing very well at the position,” Parker said. “He’s feeling more comfortable. I don’t think he’s there yet, (as far as) exactly what I’m looking for as a safety.
“He’s got to do some other things.”
More eyes will be on the secondary Saturday, when Iowa’s offense again takes aim at the defense.
“At the end of the day, it’s about having a positive attitude,” Fleming said. “And being able to be there for one another.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football