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Hawkeyes Hold Spring Practice in West Des Moines

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WEST DES MOINES There was palpable heat on the turf of Valley Stadium. Some of it was generated by the Hawkeyes. And some of that was on purpose.

Mostly, Saturday's open practice, Iowa's ninth this spring, before around 7,000 fans was unsatisfying for coach Kirk Ferentz. During the post-practice interview, you could see some of the things his team did during the two-plus hours already running in his head. Maybe running the wrong way, too.

"Practice today was just OK," Ferentz said. "There were some good things out there, there were some things that were encouraging. But there were a lot of things that would really get us beat in the fall. That's part of spring ball, but we had more negative-type plays today than we did in any five days combined, so we'll have some coaching to do."

The passing game, powered by some new faces, ran the right way.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Derrick Willies had a terrific practice. The 6-4, 210-pounder showed soft hands, found openings in the defense's coverage and burst after the catch. He had a 37-yard reception from quarterback Jake Rudock to set up a 3-yard TD run by running back Mark Weisman. He caught two TD passes from quarterback C.J. Beathard, a 10-yarder and a 51-yarder, when he ran wide open right down the heart of the secondary.

"He's doing some good things," Ferentz said. "He's flashing. He'll have some plays where it's 'What are you doing?' So, that's the challenge, to get the balance to go this way rather than one for one."

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