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Former Hawkeye linebacker Abdul Hodge takes over as Iowa tight ends coach

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 11:18 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Since being hired earlier this month as the Iowa tight ends coach, Abdul Hodge is still settling into his new role.

“Still got my clothes in a suitcase. I haven’t taken them out fully yet, but we’re getting there,” he explained.

Hodge returns to the Hawkeyes after serving as an outside linebackers coach at the University of South Dakota. Since his arrival, he expressed he feels like he never really left.

“When you really look at it, I feel like I’ve been part of this program since dating back to 2001 when I first stepped foot in Iowa City,” he said.

Hodge was a three-time all-Big Ten linebacker and Hawkeye captain who played for Iowa from 2002-2005. The Florida native went on to play in the NFL until 2010. After playing at a high level, he hopes to cross over his defensive knowledge to the other side of the ball.

“The great thing is that I’ve been on that side of the ball, so I can bring some of that experience over. Here’s how they’re going to attack us. Here’s what cover two is, here’s cover three, here’s what it means when these linebackers are lined in disposition. You can kind of play the game ahead.

Eleven tight ends have been drafted to the NFL under the Kirk Ferentz era. It’s helped Iowa earn the nickname ‘Tight End University’ from former Hawkeye tight ends. Hodge hopes he can continue the tradition of developing players in the position and preparing them to compete at the highest level.

“To me it’s about the standard. There’s a high standard of coaching tight ends and playing tight end at the University of Iowa, but there’s also a spirit of excellence,” said Hodge. “Not just in terms of the football perspective of it, but away from the game.”

He’ll take over this role having two experienced tight ends in senior Sam LaPorta and sophomore Luke Lachey.

“Obviously, those guys have got a tone of volume and a tone of reps, so they actually make my job easier. Any time you are a new coach coming in and taking over a new room, having that experience is also really, really good,” he said.

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