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Hawkeyes Hoping For Breakout Season From Young Receivers

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IOWA CITY -- Of course, Bobby Kennedy knows his players. He's seen them practice . . . for about a week . . . four months before it really, really matters.

So, yes, Iowa's wide receivers coach knows his group. What he doesn't know is how it will all turn out.

"Y'all get tired of me saying this, but I always say, we're a work in progress," Kennedy said Wednesday. "Every year you start over, and you have some guys who are a little more established, a little more game tested."

Kennedy and running backs/special teams coordinator Chris White met with the media Wednesday. Their position groups begin 2014 in much different places.

Kennedy has four redshirt freshmen jumping into action in Derrick Willies, Derrick Mitchell Jr., Andre Harris and A.J. Jones.

"I'm really pleased that we decided to redshirt some of those guys, because I think they've got the ability to really maybe change the, not necessarily the face of our program, but our ability outside to make plays."

Iowa's receivers also should get a boost from senior Damond Powell. He wowed with a few big plays last fall -- most notably the 74-yard tunnel screen when he went untouched to help Iowa pull away at Minnesota -- and now, he's more familiar with the offense and more physically developed.

"I just think his overall understanding of stems and attacking the DB [defensive back], getting in and out of his cuts, not thinking as much," Kennedy said. "Whether it be a freshman or a guy who comes in from a junior college, a lot of times their mind locks them up because they're thinking so much and so their athletic ability can't take over."

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