Iowa’s Scherff understands expectations

BY CODY GOODWIN | JULY 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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CHICAGO — Iowa’s Brandon Scherff insists he wasn’t trying to prove anything when the video of him hang-cleaning 443 pounds went viral.

“People didn’t believe me that I did that, but there’s video proof,” he said. “I didn’t know [strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle] was going to send it out like that. It was a great reaction. I was just trying to worry about myself and get better.”

The video caused a stir on the college-football Twittersphere. But it also added to the heavy expectations on Scherff, a senior offensive lineman who is regarded by many as the best in the country at his position.

On Monday, during the first day of the 2014 Big Ten media days in the Windy City, the Denison, Iowa, native mostly shrugged off the questions about expectations. His answer was mostly the same: “We haven’t done anything yet,” he said a handful of times to various media outlets.

Still, even for Scherff, it’s hard not to hear the noise. NFL draft pundits have called him a “freak” and a “mauler.” They love the way he manhandles his opponents while run-blocking.

A lot of those same experts have him near the top of their draft boards — and some even have him going first overall.

“It’s unreal,” Scherff said. “When you’re a little kid, you always dream about that stuff, just like I always dreamed about playing college football. That dream came true. Obviously, playing in the NFL is a dream for me. I just have to do my best to reach that dream and hopefully, get my named called.

“Like I said, I just have to take it a day at a time and try to become a better player.”

Davis: No ‘easy’ schedule

Carl Davis doesn’t believe Iowa has an easy schedule for the 2014 college football season.

“Everybody’s competitive, I don’t care who it is,” Iowa’s senior defensive lineman said.

“Everybody’s coming to get a win. Everybody works hard 365 days out of the year.”

While Rutgers and Maryland — the two newest teams to the Big Ten — are seen to have the two toughest conference schedules this upcoming season, there’s a notion that Iowa might have the easiest.

The eight Big Ten teams the Hawkeyes are scheduled against this year went a combined 48-42 in 2013. Of the eight, four went to bowl games (Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska).

Rutgers, on the other hand, faces a conference schedule that went 69-35 last season, and six of eight teams went bowling. Maryland’s 2014 slate went 67-37 in 2013, and six of eight teams also reached bowl games.

On paper, it’d be easy to point out that Iowa doesn’t have to play the traditional Big Ten powerhouses in Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State. But Davis was adamant that last year is no more and that anything can happen in the Big Ten.

“If we think everything will be a cakewalk, we’ll be right back where we were before at 4-8,” he said. “We have to bring our best [each week].”

Weisman talks ice baths

While head coach Kirk Ferentz’s media days press conference was relatively short, he was asked about Mark Weisman and the fleet of running backs Iowa has at its disposal.

“He’s a tough, physical runner, there’s no question about that,” the now-16-year head coach said.

“We have a chance to use him a little bit more judicially this year. So hopefully, we can do a better job keeping him fresh throughout the entire season so he can play at a level where he’s fully effective.”

Indeed, Weisman’s bruising style tagged with the number of carries he’s garnered since making the switch from fullback has caused some concerns about his durability. He admitted as much on Monday, saying that it’s hard to stay fresh and healthy because one hit could change everything.

The senior makes sure to be thorough in his recovery after each game. That ranges anywhere from proper nutrition to resting — both mentally and physically — and includes many a trip to the ice bath.

“On the next day,” Weisman said. “I usually don’t do it [right after the game]. I try to get away from football right after a game. But the next day, even on Monday and Tuesday — pretty much every day, up until game day.

“I live and die by that thing. I love it now. I can get into it like how I get into a hot tub.”

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