Summer is upon us, and so are voluntary workouts for the University of Iowa football team. Hawkeye student-athletes are spending some of their time at the Hayden Fry Football Complex, working on increasing speed and strength in preparation for fall camp.
After being sidelined for most of the 2011 offseason with a heart ailment, junior Brad Rogers is healthy and ready to go forward with a full season of training.
"The workouts have been going really well," said the 5-foot-10, 230-pound fullback. "It's different because I haven't done this since 2010, but I'm getting adjusted. The conditioning we're doing now is very important. Coach (Chris) Doyle is on us every day to work hard."
Rogers, who played nine games a year ago believes he will have an improved 2012 season because of a full year of offseason training.
"Last year I wasn't in the shape I needed to be in because I sat out so long," said Rogers. "This year I should be ready to go. I have my speed and strength back. I'm ready to get back at it, experience camp, and do things I wasn't able to do last season."
Greg Davis is Iowa's new offensive coordinator. Fans are eager to see how the Hawkeye offense will look this fall. Rogers, who has played both tailback and fullback during his career, said he's a team player and will do whatever the team needs to be successful.
"Once the season gets going, I'll have more of a sense of what's going to happen," said the Toledo, Ohio, native. "Nothing is going to change, just a different concept. I've had the pleasure to play both running back positions throughout my career, so it's not a big deal as far as going back and forth."
Davis talked about Rogers' potential role at a spring practice press conference.
"I think Brad's a guy that can play both running back and fullback," Davis said. "I've been very happy with him as a fullback. He's a very bright guy. With Brad in the game, he could be a tailback, and your regular tailback could be somewhere else.
"Brad is not only a good player, but a good leader, and a good guy in the locker room."
Now an upperclassman, Rogers will be looked upon as a leader. In April, he was one of 12 Hawkeyes selected to the team's Leadership Group. The purpose of the group is to help formulate policies and enter into team decision-making matters regarding the upcoming season. Rogers sees himself being both a vocal leader and one who leads by example.
"The last couple years I haven't been very vocal as I was watching and learning from guys like Brett Morse, Adrian Clayborn and Ricky Stanzi," said Rogers. "I learned so much from those guys. I'm ready to help lead this team."
Rogers said that the dynamic of the team is good right now, and the Hawkeyes are molding younger guys into the system.
"The atmosphere in all our workouts has been extremely positive," said Rogers. "Everyone is getting along and believing in themselves. The harder we work, the better we will play."