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Parker raves about Amari Spievey, defense

BY BRENDAN STILES | APRIL 15, 2009 7:30 AM

There may not have been a crystal ball in front of Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker when he met the media on Tuesday, but that didn’t keep him from looking into the future.

As he discussed how the defensive side of the ball has shaped out throughout spring practices, he made it clear what type of potential some of his up and coming players had.

Perhaps no proclamation was more defining than what the Hawkeye defensive coordinator of 11 years said about junior-to-be cornerback Amari Spievey, who had four interceptions for the Hawkeyes last season, including one he returned for a touchdown in the final regular-season game at Minnesota.

“I think he can be the best corner that we’ve ever had since we’ve been here,” Parker said. “I mean, last year, he was a real pleasant surprise and has only gotten better. I think he has a lot of talent, and he’s picking it up mentally and he’s picking it up just attitude-wise.

“I think we have to expect big things out of him and sort of hope he delivers.”



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Another player Parker has good vibes about is Travis Meade. Although he is listed as a second-string defensive tackle behind Mike Daniels, he made the switch to the defensive line from the offensive line this spring, and according to the coaches, has held his own thus far.

Part of what drove the move is the current injury to defensive tackle Cody Hundertmark, who has been out all spring with a shoulder problem.

“With Hundertmark out, we needed a guy to work in there, and all of a sudden, Meade got in there and started doing some pretty good things,” Parker said. “I can see Meade playing some next year. I think it was a good move for Meade, and I think it was a good move for us.”

With defensive tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul moving on after having started for four seasons, the Hawkeyes have been left with the question of filling the void.

Among the others in contention along with Daniels, Hundertmark, and Meade are junior-to-be Karl Klug, who along with Daniels was listed as first-string on the two-deeps released Tuesday, and Steve Bigach, who listed second behind Klug.

“The combination of those four players right there, all those guys will probably be rotating in and out,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said during a Big Ten teleconference Tuesday. “I think probably next year what we’re looking at is playing all four of those guys. I’m not sure what roles yet, but all those guys will be involved.”

Ferentz also said sophomore-to-be defensive end Broderick Binns could be someone who may not get lots of playing time come the fall but has nonetheless been a strong performer during the spring.

“Broderick Binns is a guy who was really improving during the course of last season and then really seemed to kind of caught my eye from our bye week on last year, end of October,” Ferentz said. “He’s a young guy who is really making strides.”

In addition to the presence King and Kroul had in the middle of Iowa’s defensive line, Ferentz, Parker, and the rest of the defensive coaches are also seeking who on the Hawkeye defense is ready to show leadership.

The two names Parker threw out are junior defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard.

“When you’re a football coach, you’re like a kindergarten teacher. Every year, there is a new class that comes in, and every year, that new class has a new personality. It’s just a new chemistry, and it’s the same way with a football team,” Parker said. “I think Ballard and Clayborn have definitely tried to become King and Kroul up there in that defensive line.

“They’re trying to do as juniors what King and Kroul did as seniors.”


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