IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Hawkeyes took another step toward the start of the 2016 football season on Saturday as they held their official media day.
With the team coming off one of their most successful seasons in school history -- one in which they surprisingly started the year 12-0 and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll -- it's fair to wonder how this team will respond to higher expectations heading into this season.
"Success requires dedication," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It takes a lot of hard work, positive attitude, and people that have character. I think maybe as important as any, the thing that really defines success for us is our attention to details and the amount of teamwork."
The Hawkeyes are the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten West, unlike the early projections prior to the 2015 campaign. The positive forecast comes their way despite being narrowly defeated by Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and dominated by Stanford in the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of last season.
“We’ll learn from the games we came up short in," Ferentz said. “The one game in Indianapolis (against Michigan State), there is nothing to be ashamed of there. It was two very good teams really competing hard. The Rose Bowl really wasn’t representative of our football team so that’s disappointing. But we’ve put that behind us and we’ve tried to learn from both of those losses.”
Iowa will not possess the element of surprise this year but they will still boast the same two leaders of their football team on both sides of the ball in quarterback C.J. Beathard and 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner Desmond King.
“With this being my fifth year in the program, I hope that guys look to me as a leader just because I’ve been here long enough and I know what it takes to be successful and a good Iowa football player,” Beathard said. “When you come here as a freshman, you don’t really know how hard the grind is.”
When the team opens their season at home against Miami (OH) on Sept. 3, the players say they'll be ready to start their defense of the Big Ten West title.
“We have a great team coming back, a great quarterback in C.J. Beathard and great defensive unit with the linebackers, defensive lineman and the secondary,” King said. “I feel we have a chance to change the results in Indianapolis.”