‘It’s probably as experienced as we’ve been’: Hawkeyes’ defense returns eight of 11 starters

‘It’s probably as experienced as we’ve been’: Hawkeyes’ defense returns eight of 11 starters

This will be the final year of COVID-related eligibility and plenty of Hawkeyes are taking advantage of it. The Iowa defense returns eight of its 11 starters from last season. The unit was fourth in scoring defense in 2023.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz says the team will lean on its veteran leadership, especially while the offense figures out a new playbook.

“I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing it’s probably about as experienced as we’ve been,” Ferentz said. “The first thing you start worrying about is if guys get a little complacent and thinking maybe they figured it out. One thing about sports and life is you never have things figured out totally.”

“It’s a real contrast on our team right now. We’ve got a new system offensively, the defense has got a system that’s really been pretty, pretty similar for 25 years. We’ll count on that to be a strength.”

“Obviously, we’ve been around each other for a long time,” Quinn Schulte said. “Just to be able to play again and have another opportunity with the same guys is something I think that we’re all truly going to be grateful for.”

“We’re all very familiar with each other,” Sebastian Castro said. “We know what we’re going to check into and we know how to play off each other. So that’s the really good thing to have as a defense. Cohesiveness and we played a whole season with each other, so it’s always a plus.”

“Any time you’ve got a guy who played ball and a good leader in each room, that’s always a good thing,” Jay Higgins said. “Every young guy has got at least two-to-three guys he can look up to. I’m more than comfortable if a young guy, you know, has a question or concern that those are the guys giving responses. Those are the guys setting the tempo at practice, those of you guys out in front of the pack, so it’s exciting to see.”

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