Even with a first-year offensive coordinator and new playbook, University of Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is as comfortable as he has ever been as a Hawkeye.
"I learned more this spring than I did my first year and a half," said Fiedorowicz, a 6-foot-7 junior. "I was still struggling with the (old) offense, but now I am more comfortable with what coach (Greg) Davis is trying to do.
"I wouldn't say I am 100 percent comfortable, but I feel good about it."
Fiedorowicz's newfound comfort level is the result of Davis' new playbook that lays out in detail what the tight end needs to do on every play.
"In the old offense it would tell the play, but it wouldn't tell us what the tight end was doing," he said. "I would have to remember what the tight end was supposed to do. Now it is telling me what I am doing, so it's a lot easier for us."
A comfortable Fiedorowicz is a good thing for the Hawkeyes. He began to produce after moving into the starting lineup against No. 13 Michigan on Nov. 5. Fiedorowicz made 13 catches for 126 yards with three touchdowns over the final five games; he had 16 receptions for 167 yards during the course of the season.
Senior quarterback James Vandenberg saw Fiedorowicz emergence in 2011. He knows the kind of weapon he gives the offense.
"He is a great pass-catcher and weapon out there," said Vandenberg. "He's one of those guys where even when you try to guard him, he's open because he is so big. He does a good job handling his body, and he's going to be a guy that makes a lot of catches for us."
Fiedorowicz knows the expectations are bigger for him now that he is an upperclassman, and he is eager to take on a bigger leadership role within the team.
"Everything changes a little bit," he said. "Everyone looks up to me a little bit more, and I have to take on a heavier role of being a leader.
"Whether it is in the weight room, being out on the field throwing it around or being in the front of the line showing the guys what to do is a big thing. Doing things right for the other guys is big."
While Fiedorowicz is atop the tight end depth chart, there will be a lot of talent and depth at the position in 2012. Senior Zach Derby, sophomore Ray Hamilton and redshirt freshmen Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger-Coble give the team a variety of options.
"We have a good group this year with Zach, Ray, Duzey and Henry... everyone is getting better and catching the ball," said Fiedorowicz. "Everyone is working hard this summer, so we'll see when the time comes.
"I am excited for the year. It's about two months away, and it's going to be a good year."
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