The summer routine for Drew Ott was pretty much like that of the rest of his defensive line mates.
“I just focused on getting, bigger, faster and stronger, working on speed rushing, watching film and trying to improve,” Ott said.
It may sound pretty basic, but Ott’s summer regime did come with one small alteration from many of his teammates on the defensive line.
Ott took a break from throwing around weight to toss around a few hay bales on his way to winning the hay bale toss at Solon’s annual Beef Days celebration in July.
The junior defensive end edged former Iowa and NFL lineman Matt Kroul for the hay bale tossing title, a win that came as no surprise to Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan, who helped lure the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Ott to Iowa from tiny Trumbull, Neb.
“He’s got a unique advantage: He’s been a farmer for 20-some years,” Morgan said. “He’s been doing that since he’s been young. That is just natural strength.”
Along with learning how to throw hay bales while growing up on the family farm, Ott says that’s the same place he picked up the work habits and toughness that helped him to get on the field as a true freshman in 2012.
“I’ve thrown a couple of hundred bales in my day so that worked out, coming from the farm. But there are a lot of things you pick up on,” Ott said. “How to do your job, how to work, taking care of the little things.”
Ott’s hoping to swap tossing hay bales for tossing ball carriers this fall.
Last year, Ott was eighth on the team with 50 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Ott also finished tied for second with four quarterback hurries.
“Drew is getting there,” Morgan said. “He’s really competitive as heck, he’s extremely competitive. He and Brandon Scherff are going against each other a lot and I think that really has helped both of those guys. He is very highly motivated and I think he is going to continue to grow and improve and we are excited about him.”
With his 12 career starts, Ott is the veteran of the Iowa defensive ends.
Hardy started the final six games last season and finished with 34 tackles, including five for loss.
The junior trio of Riley McMinn, Melvin Spears and Nate Meier are listed as the backups entering fall camp and have combined for 10 career tackles.
“I think we can only get better,” Ott said. “We’ve got 20 days here in camp to improve, and I think everyone is hungry and ready to get better. We’ve got a lot to prove this year.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football