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C White - 4 9 14
back, and especially at this point in his career, to think you can throw a guy out from running back to wide receiver just because he's athletic and he can catch, I see what you're seeing, but it's a lot of work to it, and he's not really built that way. He's 205 pounds and he's got a running back body. He'd have a lot of work to do releasing at the line of scrimmage, reading coverage, all the things that go into being a wide receiver. But we realize what he can do, and we're trying to get him isolated out there.
Q. What are the some of the things you look for at the punter situation?
CHRIS WHITE: We're trying to be fair to both of them. They
re competing every day, whether it's in practice or specifically after practice. We're charting every punt, and any time we're outdoors we have to chart their hang times and their distances. We've got it all tabulated. Each day we'll give them their averages and hang times and distances and really where we feel those guys are. At the end of spring we'll let them know where we feel they are. It's not going to be a done deal until training camp. I know that for sure. Connor would be the first one to admit it, he was inconsistent last year. He had some really fine moments where he punted the ball extremely well, but then there was times where his hang time hurt us. We've got to get more consistency out of the punter, and it's hard. There's a lot of windy games in the Big Ten, and we just felt that it was important for our football team, specifically our defense, where we've got to change the field with field position, and we felt we needed to have him compete against someone.
Q. Iowa has had a lot of success putting running backs in the NFL. Does that ever hurt you in recruiting?
CHRIS WHITE: Not that I know of. I think what we try to sell is our brand of football, and if you're a running back, wouldn't you want to at least look at our place, with our style, our offensive line? So I haven't heard that, and it might be out there. But as far as the kids we're recruiting, like Markel, he wanted to be part of this thing because we're going to feature 25, 35 runs a game, and from a pro set offense. I think that those true running backs want that because they know that you're not going to be in a spread system in the NFL. I don't know why, but I think that in the future there's some NFL running backs here.
Q. Is Mark Weisman still in the mix at fullback? I know with all the running backs it's different every game, but is he still in the mix with Adam and Macon?
CHRIS WHITE: We talked about that. Right now we feel good about our two fullbacks, Adam Cox and Macon Plewa. I'm not an NFL scout, but Mark's future is at fullback, I believe. I really do. He can go in there at the drop of a dime and play fullback for us. It's old hat for him. So in practice specifically, we don't want him taking some fullback reps where he might get injured because that's a violent position.
Q. Kickoff returns, are you looking at Jordan Canzeri there? Are some of these other backs maybe in the mix?
CHRIS WHITE: That's a good question, too. We started off last year where we just had Jordan Cotton as the one returner with really two fullbacks back there, but we'll have a primary returner and Jordan Canzeri will be one of those guys for sure, and obviously Parker and Wadley will be guys. Damond Powell will get a shot. There's a couple wide receivers, Derrick Mitchell, Andre Harris. Those red-shirted kids, there's some talent there, and we really expect to have a really good returner back there. So we will probably have two, one being the primary guy and the other being the non-primary guy.
Q. Kick returns last year was ranked overall 101 in the nation at the end of the year. Probably not what you're shooting for.
CHRIS WHITE: I don't know if we jumbled a lot up front. Some of it was injury related in the back end. If you really take a good look at the stats, there was a lot of situations where there were short kicks, there were squib kicks, sky kicks. Numbers lie, but we need to improve there. We hit some good ones. I thought we kept getting better towards the end of the year, and obviously in the bowl game that was big for us. But there were some big returns that we had in crucial games like the Michigan game that really helped us. But we've got to be more consistent. There's no question about that.
Q. Is that the same with kick coverage?
CHRIS WHITE: Yeah. I really thought we were pretty good at the end of the year on kick