What Iowa's Kirk Ferentz said during his early media session at Big Ten media days

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

INDIANAPOLIS — Stop me if you’ve heard this before — after all, it’s the 22nd Big Ten football media days for 23rd-year Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. But the Hawkeyes’ longtime leader reiterated the importance of fall camp that lies ahead to set the stage for their 2021 season fortunes.

The big word when camp begins Aug. 5 will be the same as always: development.

And another “D” word.

“Like most years for us at Iowa, we’re always concerned about our depth,” Ferentz said during his 12 televised minutes on the dais Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. (He will speak for a longer session Friday afternoon.) “That’s something we’ll really be focused on, basically at every position, starting in August.”

On Thursday, Iowa’s preseason depth chart listed a lot of new names, including eight freshmen. There are a lot of stars, but a lot of unproven parts.

More Big Ten Media Days coverage:

Jul 23, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks to the media during Big Ten Conference media days at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A few things that came up during Ferentz’s early session:

Spencer Petras gets another endorsement as quarterback.

Still, there will be a competition in August with backup Alex Padilla. The QB position will continue to be a hot topic leading up to the season.

"He's a really resilient guy. He's a tough-minded guy, extremely conscientious," Ferentz said of Petras. "As a coach, when you see things like that, it makes you gain some confidence.

"We all feel really good about him and have great confidence in him."

More:Iowa QB Spencer Petras doesn't care what anyone outside the Hawkeyes facility has to say

Opening with a Big Ten opponent (Indiana on Sept. 4) is new in a non-pandemic year.

“That’s really something that’s got our attention,” Ferentz said, noting a history lesson that (excluding last year’s Big Ten-only anomaly) this would be the first time the Hawkeyes open with a Big Ten opponent since Hayden Fry’s first two years in 1979 and 1980 — also against Indiana. Iowa split those games. 

More:What to know about the Iowa Hawkeyes' 2021 football schedule

There was a question about backup tight end Luke Lachey.

That isn’t a surprise, considering Lachey's father, Jim, is an Ohio State radio announcer and all-pro NFL tight end. Lachey is a redshirt freshman who was listed at 6-foot-6, 248 pounds, and as the No. 2 tight end behind Sam LaPorta. “He’s done a great job,” Ferentz said. “He’s a young guy that’s really developing quickly. … We’re really counting on him to help our football team this year.”

Overall? Ferentz is optimistic.

“I know all of us want to know the answers right now. None of us do,” he noted. “I don’t know how good we’ll be this year, but I can say I really like our football team.”

Stay tuned for more coverage from Big Ten Media Days at HawkCentral.com.