IOWA CITY, Ia. – Let the countdown begin.
When you leave Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, it will be 126 days until Iowa kicks off the college football season, Aug. 30 against Northern Iowa.
That may seem like an interminable wait for the Hawkeye faithful, but imagine what players and coaches must endure.
A year ago, they were on a unified quest for redemption, carrying the baggage of a 4-8 record in 2012.
Now, a four-month pit stop looms and complacency seems unavoidable.
“I think one of the important things for us, the older guys and leaders, is we need to keep having that sense of urgency,” quarterback Jake Rudock said. “The fact is, you can’t ever get satisfied. Once you get satisfied, then someone knocks you down.”
Rudock helped Iowa bounce back last fall, securing a starting spot then driving the Hawkeyes to the Outback Bowl and an 8-5 record.
He’s also a primary reason for accelerated expectations this spring.
With eight returning starters on offense, you’ll see plenty of fine tuning when Saturday’s scrimmage begins at 2 p.m. – against a stout defensive front and promising back seven.
It’ll be tougher to gauge the intangibles.
Can the Hawkeyes maintain their tunnel vision?
“A majority of us were here during the 4-8 (season),” Rudock said. “I think it’s as simple as that.
“We can’t be satisfied with however many wins we got last year. You have to remember that we want to win every single game.
“That’s the goal.”
It sounds too good to be true, but give Rudock credit for setting the right tone.
According to the folks at Rivals.com, Iowa’s recruiting classes ranked among the upper half of the Big Ten every year from 2010 to 2012 – forming the nucleus of the 2014 team.
In other words, there is talent on this roster.
And when the Hawkeyes play with a motivational edge, they’re a legitimate contender for the Big Ten’s West Division title.
But if the chip on their shoulder is smoothed over, Purdue and Illinois will be ready to pounce.
And that may be the biggest concern coming out of spring practices.
Andrew Logue covers Hawkeye football, Drake basketball and sports media for the Register. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewMLogue.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football