Takeaways from Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz’s media day press conference

Alyssa Hertel
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — The Iowa football program on Friday hosted media day ahead of the 2022 season, and coach Kirk Ferentz spoke to a room full of reporters for the first time since Big Ten media days last month.

Much of the focus was on the team’s overall health. Other questions focused on the quarterback position and who might take over kicking duties.

There were also updates on positional moves for some players, such as Connor Colby. He started 11 games at right guard as a true freshman, but Ferentz said Friday he’s been moved out to tackle.

Here are the key takeaways from Ferentz’s press conference on Friday:

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz speaks to reporters during Hawkeye media day Friday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Early impact of injuries

Ferentz focused early on the Hawkeyes’ health coming out of spring practices and summer camp, and it wasn’t an all-around positive update.

One big question mark heading into media day was the status of wide receiver Keagan Johnson. Asked about Johnston's status, Ferentz said hopefully sooner than later.

“Keagan’s working back,” Ferentz said. “He won’t do a lot (during Saturday's scrimmage). I think he’s close to where he needs to be. Same with Brody (Brecht).”

Both Johnson and Brecht have missed the most time among receivers, and the Hawkeyes will need them back with any additional injuries at that position.

 “If you look big picture … they missed a lot of time," Ferentz said. "To get them back and playing effectively … but you learn how to play football by playing.”

Another injured receiver Ferentz mentioned is Diante Vines. Ferentz said Vines dealing with a wrist injury that might not keep him out for the entire season – or at least that’s the hope – but that he won’t be available to start the season. That’s a big loss for a Hawkeye program already thin at that position.

Ferentz confirmed that wide receiver Jackson Ritter and offensive lineman Justin Britt are out for the season.

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Spencer Petras success is a team effort

Petras completed 57.3% of his passes last season (165 for 288). He threw for 1,880 yards and 10 touchdowns, but also nine interceptions.

There were questions Friday about how Petras will improve from last season. Ferentz leaned more into what the team as a whole needs to do so that the quarterback can do his job.

“All he’s gotta do is play, relax and play,” Ferentz said. “The biggest thing, we just have to help him more. ...Hopefully we run the ball a little better.

"A little more clarity in what we’re trying to do so he can be quicker with his decision making.”

Ferentz said the competition for the starting quarterback spot is always fierce; Petras is currently slated to start.

“Everyone’s competing right now,” Ferentz said about the other quarterback options.

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Who takes over the field goal kicking duties?

With Caleb Shudak graduated and signed by the Tennessee Titans, the Hawkeyes are in need of a new kicker. He appeared in 36 games over four seasons at Iowa and converted 24 of 29 field-goal attempts.

Who fills that gap left on the roster? It's a race between Aaron Blom, Lucas Amaya and Drew Stevens. On Friday, when asked about Blom and Stevens, Ferentz said it’s a competition, and it’s anyone’s game.

“I think both of them are capable," Ferenz said. "It’s really going to come down to consistency.”

Whoever gets the job has big shoes to fill. Shudak's 82.8 conversion percentage is a program record.

Alyssa Hertel is the college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at ahertel@dmreg.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.