Sometimes you can get a good feel for a thing by what someone doesn’t say just as much as you can for the things they do say. That’s the impressive I was left with after speaking with Iowa tight end CJ Fiedorowicz at Iowa’s media day.
I was around him for around five minutes, asking him some of my own questions with some other media members asking theirs. The entire time he spoke about Iowa’s ‘new’ offense, he was smiling from ear to ear. I experienced the same thing when talking with Kevonte Martin-Manley, too.
Back in the spring, I had heard that the players, namely CJ, really loved Coach Davis’ offensive scheme. The terminology was easier to process and the players really liked it. I didn’t ask CJ or any of the players to compare Davis’ philosophy and scheme to that of Ken O’Keefe’s, but sometimes it’s not a matter of what someone says; you can see it in their eyes or in this instance, read it in their words. We’ll see if you have the same takeaway as I did after you read this Q&A.
Q: Did you have a ‘light turned on’ moment at some point last year where things seemed to click for you?
CJ Fiedorowicz: It’s a long season. To go through 25 practices with a game in camp; its hard. Your body is hurting and it becomes harder to get into the mindset to practice. It just clicked at the end of season for me. I was sick of being on sideline, like I was a lot as a freshman. It’s a physical and mental sport and can be hard to handle at times, but you have to push through it.
Q: Now that you know what it takes, do you feel like it will be different this year?
Fiedorowicz: Going through the camp, you have to just take things day by day. You work hard and focus on the details and you can’t take things for granted. I am enjoying it more now and hopefully that carries through to the season. A lot of players in this sport can go through the motions every day and only come out here because they have to. If you enjoy competing and having fun, which I do, and everyone else feels the same, that is when things get fun. It’s fun now.
Q: So you got comfortable at the end of last season and then during the winter you have a new coordinator and a new system. Do you like the new scheme, the nomenclature?
Fiedorowicz: Definitely. Coach Davis knows how to teach it. In the spring, I was very comfortable from day one. In every play, it tells the tight end where to go. I don’t want to say that it’s straightforward; It’s complex but simple. You don’t have to think as much as to what your assignment is. Coach Davis has been teaching for 39 years and knows what players want to see.
Q: Since you don’t have as many worries, or things to think about, do you think you will play faster and be the type of player you have always known you could be?
Fiedorowicz: Yes. When you are comfortable with an offense and know it, you don’t have to worry about thinking about your assignment. You can add head fakes in routes, things like that and that lets you play faster due to the confidence you have. The checks and sights and all of those things are very easy to understand. It gives us calls that we all know and are comfortable with.
Q: During this interview, you just have the biggest smile on your face, like you have a new toy that you want to try out.
Fiedorowicz: The offense is amazing. Coach Davis, I really enjoy him. You can laugh with him and have a good conversation. That is what you want. This is a lot of fun.