Seeing his name on top of the depth chart for the first time this spring, Iowa offensive lineman Sean Welsh calmly savored the moment.
He kept the news to himself, other than telling one person back home in Ohio.
“I let my mom know,” Welsh said.
Welsh then moved on, taking nothing for granted.
“I didn’t want to get too excited because it’s an everyday process here,” said Welsh, who is listed as the starter at left guard. “You’re judged on your actions every day and whether you perform every day.
“The important thing to remember is not to get too overzealous and just approach every day the same way. They always say the depth chart is fluid and changes can be made. So you just have to keep the mindset that things could always change.”
Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz wasn’t surprised when told how Welsh described his place on the depth chart.
“That’s why he has risen to where he has risen,” Brian Ferentz said Monday at Iowa’s media day. “But he’s exactly right. It’s very fluid. I’ve told those guys in meetings, ‘I reserve the right to do whatever I feel like. And it doesn’t matter what’s on paper. And it really doesn’t matter what I tell you in a meeting. If I change my mind after 10 minutes on the field, that’s how we’re doing things. And we’re always going to do what’s best for Iowa football.’ ”
A 6-foot-3, 285-pound redshirt freshman, Welsh is the only starter on the Iowa offensive line with no playing experience. The Springboro, Ohio, native was redshirted as a true freshman last season.
Welsh joins an offensive line that is considered perhaps Iowa’s biggest strength, led by all-Big Ten senior left tackle Brandon Scherff and junior center Austin Blythe.
“There is always pressure to perform,” Welsh said. “But I’m just thankful that I have those guys next to me. I have two tremendous players right next me. I’ve got Brandon Scherff and Austin Blythe, two of the best offensive linemen that I’ve ever seen.
“I just consider it such a blessing to be able to play next to them and learn from them. The amount of things I’ve learned from them, it’s not only football. It’s social. It’s academic. I’ve learned so much from those guys. They’ve helped me every step along the way, whether it’s fundamentals or learning the offense. They’ve been there every step of the way.”
Brian Ferentz mentioned Welsh and fellow redshirt freshmen offensive linemen Ike Boettger and Boone Myers as three players who understand the importance of living in the moment and knowing that they have to prove themselves on a daily basis. Myers is listed as the backup to Welsh at left guard, while Boettger, a converted tight end, is Scherff’s backup at left tackle.
“They’ve kind of accelerated quickly because they seem to understand that,” Brian Ferentz said. “And that’s a good start.”
It was not a surprise that Welsh reached out to his mother after seeing his name on top of the depth chart for the first time.
“She’s generally the first person that hears everything,” Welsh said. “She’s kind of the ear back home. She was very excited. She’s very in touch with Hawkeye football.”
Welsh’s family used to be very in touch with the home-state Ohio State Buckeyes until Sean started being recruited by Iowa.
“We used to be a Buckeye house, and once I came here they just converted completely,” Welsh said of his parents. “I think my dad said in an email, ‘Fire sale, all Buckeye gear.’ They love Hawkeye football and everything to do with it.”
Welsh was a three-star recruit coming out of high school. He had more than a dozen scholarship offers from schools that included Miami (Fla.), Louisville, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. Ohio State did not offer Welsh a scholarship.
He committed to Iowa on June 22, 2012, and then stayed committed as Iowa struggled through a 4-8 season that fall.
Welsh had faith that Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his assistants would right the ship, as they did by leading Iowa to an 8-5 record last season.
“When I committed, I made a decision to trust in the coaching staff,” Welsh said. “They stood out to me more than any other coaching staff. The program itself stood out more than any other program that I went to.
“We went on a couple recruiting visits, my dad and I. Every program nowadays has all the bells and whistles. And they have all the show. But the important thing that I saw here were the people that made up the program. You could tell there was a certain integrity and a certain standard around here. And that’s something I wanted to be a part of.”
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IOWA FOOTBALL POSITION SERIES
• Wednesday: Quarterbacks.
• Thursday: Wide receivers.
• Friday: Tight ends.
• Today: Offensive line.
• Sunday: Running backs.
• Monday: Kickers.
• Tuesday: Defensive tackles.
• Aug. 13: Defensive ends.
• Aug. 14: Safeties.
• Aug. 15: Linebackers.
• Projected starters: LT — Brandon Scherff, sr., 6-5, 320; LG — Sean Welsh, fr., 6-3, 285; C — Austin Blythe, jr., 6-3, 290; RG — Jordan Walsh, jr., 6-4, 290; RT — Andrew Donnal, sr., 6-7, 305.
• Keep an eye on: Ike Boettger, fr., 6-6, 267.
• Biggest question mark: Can Andrew Donnal pick up at right tackle where Brett Van Sloten left off as a senior last season?
• Analysis: Barring injuries, Scherff and his cohorts should be the strength of the team. Redshirt freshman Sean Welsh has no game experience as the starting left guard, but he has Scherff and rising star center Austin Blythe playing alongside him. Scherff, Blythe and right guard Jordan Walsh have started 23, 22 and 14 games, respectively, for the Hawkeyes.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football