By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – David Porter has gone from being a part of one of the most heralded offensive lines in Iowa football history to now playing a key role in helping foster a more inclusive environment within the program.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Thursday that Porter would chair an advisory board of former players that is tasked with helping to promote positive change at Iowa.
Porter, who was named second-team All-Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, was a part of the 2002 Big Ten championship team that finished 11-2.
“Dave’s done a great job, we’ve had maybe four, maybe five, meetings now,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Dave’s done a wonderful job with that and a lot of good input. We currently sit at 10, I can share that with you. We have a wide range of experience, all former players going back to the 70s right around to fairly recently. I think our focus right now, is let’s just focus on issues and at some point, hopefully we can make a member or two available.”
In June, Iowa announced that former defensive lineman Mike Daniels would chair the committee, but other obligations have prevented Daniels from taking the position.
Daniels was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2011 and is entering his ninth season in the NFL.
The Stratford, N.J., native played last season with the Detroit Lions but is currently a free agent.
“Mike, during the process I believe, was just expecting their next child,” Ferentz said. “He’s got a big family to raise and he’s in between jobs. Last time I talked to him, he was actually driving, I believe, from Detroit back to Green Bay. So, he’s got a lot going on. He cannot participate, but his input has been very valuable and we’ll continue to tap into him. But just didn’t want the responsibility.”
The other members of the advisory board have yet to be announced, but Ferentz said that they are close to finalizing the members of the committee and that the meetings have been productive.
“It was just good to hear some guys who have been through the facility, through our program talk about their experiences and what their vision is for the program,” Ferentz said. “But again, a lot of good vantage points, a lot of good perspectives. There’s a wealth of experiences on the group, different experiences, which is really good too.”
No ISU/UNI: On July 9, the Big Ten announced that, if it is able to participate in fall sports, it will adopt a conference-only schedule.
That means Iowa will not play games against Iowa State and Northern Iowa.
It will be the first time since 1976 that Iowa and Iowa State have not played.
“Both of those games are important to our program and to their programs,” Ferentz said. “And I think, I don’t want to speak for them, but I think they’re important for our state. We’ve got great respect, I think certainly all of us do in our program, for those programs, the coaching staffs, the players, and what they’ve done. My personal opinion, I think Northern Iowa, playing them on a regular basis is good for the state.”
Ferentz also addressed the possibility of moving the college football season to the spring.
“First of all, I’m sure it’s a last resort I would imagine for anybody that’s making decisions,” Ferentz said. “The best scenario right now is for us to play this fall. But if that becomes a reality that that’s not going to take place, then you certainly have to shift your attention. As a football coach, I think it’s realistic. I don’t know in the big picture if it is because there are a lot of complications.
“There’s no question in my mind you would have to modify – you’d have to look at how many games you’re talking about playing – because we have weather challenges here. I think that’s the bottom of the list, quite frankly. But what’s realistic, what’s fair and all those kind of things. Just talking hypotheticals, if we do end up playing fall and spring that will certainly alter what you do in between. So, it would be another 12 months of making adjustments and considerations and all those types of things. Hopefully we don’t get there.”
To kneel or not to kneel: Since the allegations of the racial disparity broke out within the program, Ferentz, the coaching staff and players have been engaging in an ongoing discussion regarding whether to kneel or not to kneel for the national anthem before games.
Athletes around the world have taken a knee during the anthem in recent years in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ferentz has said in the past that whatever his team chooses to do, he would like it to be united one way or the other.
Ferentz said that the team held an hour long meeting last week dedicated strictly to discussion of the national anthem.
“I’ll tell you this right now, I think that’s the sense I walked away with from this meeting that our players are very much together on it,” Ferentz said. “And I’ll put it in different terms. Together, as I walked into that meeting, was 100% A or B, and I think right now there’s a clear division with our team. I don’t know percentages, I could speculate.
“We will probe on that when we get the whole team together, if that ever happens we’ll probe on that. But just as an illustration, there was a discussion on both sides of the topic. And the thing I took away from the meeting is I don’t think there is a right answer.”
Junior linebacker Djimon Colbert he enjoyed the opportunity to hear the opinions of his teammates, regardless of which side of the issue they stand on.
“It was a very good discussion getting to hear both sides and how guys feel about this,” Colbert said. “I agree with coach Ferentz, we’re not there with a decision yet but it is good to be able to have that talk and kind of see where everybody is able to gauge on it.
“There were some guys that were strongly with it, and some other guys that had their own personal feelings about, which is fine, personal preference. But just being able to come out and talk about that as a young man and be respectful and being able to hear each other, I think that was kind of the most important thing about it.”
COVID Update: Like many college football programs around the country, Iowa has had its issues with COVID-19.
However, Ferentz said none of the confirmed cases within his program have become troublesome.
“We have experienced some COVID in our program, certainly, probably like everybody,” Ferentz said. “And if there are any positives at this point, the symptoms have been relatively minor. Nobody has really been affected greatly. Certainly no hospitalizations, those types of things.”