Monday, June 20, 2011

Iowa Ladies Football Academy

Best day ever!!  Maybe not ever (wedding and birth of two kids), but this was a lot of fun!  If you are a fan of Hawkeye football and female, you need to consider participating next year!  One of my best friends from law school, Mindy, and I spent from 4pm to after 9:30pm on Saturday with Kirk Ferentz, Ken O'Keefe, Marvin McNutt, Keenan Davis, Marcus Coker, Mike Daniels and the rest of the staff and many of the players.  The purpose of the event was to raise money for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  Each participant had to pay a $50 participation fee and raise $300.  I thanked each of you individually, but a HUGE thank you to my family and friends who donated on my behalf!  Most of you also donated to the March of Dimes for Kayley's team so your additional support for this great cause means that much more to me!  The event raised $150,000 for the Children's Hospital!!  Surpassed all expectations and set the bar high for next year!

So, what did we do at the Iowa Ladies Football Academy?  Here was our schedule and a description of what we did:
  • 3:45 - 5:00   Check In
  • 4:00 - 5:00   Kinnick Experience (Kinnick Field)
    • Game Day Experience and Stadium Tours  - We loaded busses on the side of Kinnick and simulated the ride the team takes before every home game from Cedar Rapids to Kinnick.  Casey McMillan was our tour guide for the short bus ride around the stadium.  He told us about the bus ride from Cedar Rapids (no talking...not even whispering (this would be very hard for me)) and the arrival in front of the stadium exactly 2 hours before kick-off.  We got off the bus and were greeted by David Raih.  He took us on the walk the players take into the stadium.  Like the football players do, we all touched Nile Kinnick's helmet on our way in.  Then we went into the Hawkeyes locker room where LeVar Woods was waiting for us.  He talked to us about what it is like in the locker room on game days and we watched a short video of Coach Ferentz giving a pre-game talk (it is the opening video on  Then it was time to head out to the field.  We walked out of the locker room and saw the sign each player jumps and hits on his way out to the field ("Break the Rock").  We saw the cameras used to show the players on the jumbotron while they are coming down the tunnel.  Then we ran out to the field.  The rest of the time until 6pm we were own our own to walk around to the various stations described below. 
    • Quarterback Challenge - We tried to throw through targets.  Mindy has a future as quarterback.  I do not. 
    • Date with a Hawk - While we hoped that we would be able to sign up for dates with the players (just kidding, Andy), this was an opportunity to get posters with the 2011 schedule signed by players and Coach Ferentz. 
    • Tackling Takedown - This might have been the funniest one.  Picture women running at full speed and tackling a dummy onto a soft landing pad.  See the picture of Mindy below.  Several women fell before they even got to the dummy.
    • Hot Hands/Pat and Go - One of the best of the Kinnick Experience!  We got to run routes and catch passes from Marvin McNutt, Keenan Davis, Jordan Cotton and Brad Herman.  If I weren't so slow, I could have a future as a wide receiver...I didn't drop a pass all day (nevermind that the longest pass was maybe 20 yards)!  This station also included some running back action.  Marcus Coker, De'Andre Johnson and Jason White taught us the 5 points of contact when carrying the football and then we took handoffs from them and they had us do touchdown celebrations.   Mindy's celebrations were good...I better stick with the wide receivers.
    • Rules of the Game - I thought I knew a lot about football, but we learned a few things from some officials.  I did not know what the blue thing is that they hold in their hands (used to signal that a fumble occurred).  I also didn't know what the black band around their wrist is for (they move it to a different finger each down).  And I got the number of officials wrong.  I said 6 (and that was my second guess).  It is 7. 
    • Kicking Challenge - We attempted a field goal and a punt.  Not trying to brag, but I could have a future as a punter.  On the other hand, I will never make fun of another missed field goal.  I was terrible!  Andy will be disappointed to hear this.  Mindy could be a kicker though - she hit the crossbar so she was very close!  I didn't see her kick though - I was too busy laughing at how horrible I was. 
    • Football Dress Up - Mindy and I didn't have time to do this one, but they had a station where you could get dressed up in full pads and uniform.  We'll do it next year!
  • 6:00 - 8:30   Clinic (Kinnick Field)
    • Welcome and Introductions - Coach Ferentz greeted all the ladies and introduced all of his coaches.  The position coaches then introduced us to their players.  The ladies were going nuts!
    • Swarm - After the introductions, the players and the ladies all walked back through a tunnel toward the locker room and got ready to do the swarm.  We walked down the tunnel to Back In Black blaring in the stadium just like game days.  Then Enter Sandman started playing and, just like for games, the jumbotrons were playing the video with the Iowa equipment semi running into opposing team's logos.  Then we swarmed the field with the players.  That was one of my favorite moments!
    • Stretching and Position Drills  - We were split into 8 groups for the stetching and positioning drills.  We did some of the pregame stretches and warm-ups with the players.  Then we started with the position drills.  Mindy and I were with the defensive backs first.  Coach Parker walked us through some drills he uses with the players to teach them how to back peddle correctly and change direction quickly.  Our second station was tight ends.  Coach Johnson taught us some of the more common routes the tight ends at Iowa run.  The third station was Coach Campbell and the wide receivers.  This station was my favorite.  It didn't hurt that I was catching passes from Marvin McNutt and Mindy was catching passes from Keenan Davis.  And Marvin taught us the move the wide receivers do when they celebrate a good catch - they high five and then bump their hips.  Marvin and I did that 3 times.  What can I say, I had some good catches!  :-)  Then we moved on to the offensive line and Coach Morgan.  Adam Gettis, Woody Orne, Markus Zusevics, James Ferentz and Casey McMillan showed us how to properly line up and get off the line quickly.  Mindy played center.  If you know Mindy at all, you know she would never be the center.  She was quite good though!  Next up were the linebackers.  Coach Wilson may be my favorite coach.  He is funny and we laughed through most of this station.  But, we learned some important techniques too!  Our 6th station was Ken O'Keefe and quarterbacks.  He talked to us about the snap count (or cadence as some people call it).  Then he had A.J. Derby do a snap count to test us.  He wanted us to clap when it was time to get off the line.  This was much harder than it sounds, but Mindy and I caught on quickly.  As a group, we did not.  Lots of penalties for us!  Then we moved to running backs.  Coach Erb had us do a fun drill where we pulled on the player's jersey and tried to make them fumble while they ran.  Then on the way back they did the same to us.  Mindy had Marcus Coker and I had De'Andre Johnson.  We didn't make them fumble, but they didn't make us fumble either!  As De'Andre and I watched Mindy and Marcus, De'Andre was impressed with Mindy and called her "feisty"!  The last station was the defensive line and Coach Kaczenski.  Mike Daniels showed us how to get by opponents by slapping their arm down and then pushing them with your other hand or pushing them first and then pulling your arm up through theirs.  We had a lot of fun with this group! 
  • 8:30 - 9:00   Strength and Conditioning Instruction (Iowa Football Weight Room) - The last session was in the weight room with Coach Doyle.  He talked to us a little bit about the program and then had C.J. Fiedorowicz bench press.  He had C.J. up to about 250 pounds and some women were concerned he was going to get hurt, but Coach Doyle smiled and said this wasn't hard for C.J.!  Then he had Mike Daniels do some squats.  The weight room is HUGE!
  • 9:00 - 9:30   Closing Ceremony, Awards and Drawings (The Bubble Indoor Practice Facility) - We ended the evening in the indoor practice facility.  It was really cool to be in there, but I am not going to lie, it smelled like a sweaty boys' locker room!  They practice hard in there!  Mary Ferentz gave out awards for the top fundraisers and there was a drawing for additional prizes (one of which was a cardboard cutout of Coach Ferentz!).  Mindy didn't win anything, but I won my name tag back that I dropped at some point during the event!  As I mentioned above, we raised $150,000 for the Children's Hospital!  Wow! 
The players and coaches were very friendly and seemed to really enjoy teaching us (and I think the players enjoyed the attention!) and the volunteers put on an amazing event!  The University of Iowa has always been, and continues to be, a very special place and Coach Ferentz has an outstanding group of players and coaches! 
Getting ready to do the walk into the stadium

One area of the HUGE locker room

Mindy is excited to be on the field!

Just a few of our new friends
McNutt, Cotton, Herman and Davis

Mindy showing everyone how to tackle

Mindy with the running backs

Date with a Hawk - they were teasing us
with the title of this one!

Mindy and Marcus Coker


Me and Coach Ferentz

A few of the players getting ready for introductions

Mindy and Marvin McNutt just
hanging out before the swarm

Coach Doyle
 On our way to the weight room

Weight room

The Bubble Indoor Practice Facility

Coach Ferentz
Our swag - towel, name tag, notecards,
poncho, t-shirt, gymsack and poster

    1 comment:

    1. Love the pictures! I want to do this next year!