Hawkeyes look for King, Lowdermilk to step up in secondary

BY DANNY PAYNE | JUNE 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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When former Iowa defensive back Nico Law announced his transfer from Iowa last week via Facebook, a position head coach Kirk Ferentz said was already thin became thinner.

The only starters returning are sophomore cornerback Desmond King and senior strong safety John Lowdermilk. Save for Iowa’s now-graduated linebacking corps in 2013, the duo had more combined tackles than any other two members of the defense with 147.

“I feel like I’ll have to help the next guys in line pick up the defense and stuff, help bring them along,” Lowdermilk said. “I feel like that’s more where I’m leading … I just feel responsible.”

Should Iowa get some help outside of Lowdermilk and King, it could come in the from of cornerback-turned-safety Jordan Lomax. The redshirt junior suffered an injury in the Hawkeyes’ opener with Northern Illinois last season and saw King take over his spot.

He’s now in the process of making the transition to safety — something his potential counterpart said he is very confident Lomax can do. Ferentz has similar feelings.

“I know [Lomax] hasn’t started or played all that much, but I still feel like he’s a veteran guy,” said Ferentz, who will enter his 16th season as head coach this fall. “He’s a heady guy and a very tough-minded guy.”

Running-back depth

Unlike the defensive backfield, the Hawkeyes’ three-most used running backs from 2013 are back for another season. Led by senior Mark Weisman, Jordan Canzeri, Damon Bullock, and possibly LeShun Daniels, each member of the quartet is working toward an improved 2014 campaign
The four scored 11 of the Hawkeyes’ 18 rushing touchdowns last year. Weisman scored 8, but he stressed on Wednesday that no carries are guaranteed.

“I always work on getting stronger in the weight room with [strength and conditioning coach Chris] Doyle, working speed work and footwork on the little things,” Weisman said. “Details are what makes you the best player you possibly can — just those little things.”

Even with a team that relies as heavily on the rushing game such as Iowa does, the senior said the most important thing is putting in the work in the summer before the season begins.

“We try to meet at least once per week now,” Weisman, who ran the ball 227 times last year, said. “It’s all about the team — that’s when Iowa has had its best teams, with that team-first mentality.”

Clark retirement official

Former Iowa tight end Dallas Clark retired from the NFL with the team he spent much of his career with Wednesday. The former member of the Indianapolis Colts caught 505 receptions for 5,665 yards and 54 touchdowns in 11 professional seasons. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens.

During his time in Iowa City, the Livermore, Iowa, native caught 81 balls for 1,281 yards before he was a first-round pick of the Colts in 2003.

“What a great career he had — with us and in the NFL,” Ferentz said. “Dallas is just a Hall-of-Fame guy. He really personifies everything that’s good about football.”

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