May 24, 2012

Ward prepared for Iowa

Ryan Ward knows that it's unlikely that an offensive lineman plays as a true freshman. But, the four star prospect is preparing and working as if he will this spring with his arrival in Iowa City just a few days away. The Chicago area native talks about his training this spring, how he looks forward to working with Coach Doyle this summer, and if he expects to redshirt in his freshman year.

Q: What has your training been like this spring?

WARD: Coach Doyle sent me all the workout information and I have been doing that all the time. I've also been doing speed training at another place that I have gone to in the past. I feel like both workouts have really helped me and I feel very good about the progress that I've made.

Q: Do you get any motivation or inspiration when you saw two Iowa offensive linemen drafted by the NFL this year, including Riley Reiff in the 1st round?

WARD: It is the one of the reasons I was so interested in Iowa and signed with them. They have had great success and getting offensive lineman to the NFL. But, I'm really not thinking about the NFL right now. I'm just working hard and training to try and become a better football player and if the NFL happens down the road, then that would be great.

Q: Have you graduated yet?

WARD: No, I graduate on the 31st. I still have finals coming up.

Q: When do you plan on arriving in Iowa City?

WARD: I'll be there on June 3rd.

Q: Are you anxious to get started this summer?

WARD: Oh yeah, I am really excited. I can't wait to get started working with Coach Doyle and his staff and getting to know my teammates.

Q: What have they told you as far as a plan this summer?

WARD: Basically they have told me to expect a lot of lifting and running. I know we will be on a schedule. I'm really not too sure what else they have planned, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q: After doing a workout designed by Coach Doyle, how excited are you to finally get to work with him this summer?

WARD: I can't wait. I've been working really hard to get ready for it and I am very excited to get started. I know he will get me in great shape and ready to play football this fall.

Q: Brian Ferentz has taken over as the offensive line coach. Have you talked with him and what have those conversations been like?

WARD: I was out there for a few spring practices, so I've been able to spend a little bit of time with him and he seems like a great coach. I really look forward to learning from him when I am at Iowa. At first when Coach Morgan moved, I was kind of surprised, but once I got to know Brian Ferentz, I was really excited.

Q: Is his NFL background a big deal to you?

WARD: Oh yeah. Just look at the guys he worked with in the NFL and the level of success that they had the past few years. I mean, he coached two of the best tight ends in the NFL and made them better players. I think he will do the same thing at Iowa.

Q: Your older brother is a starter at Northwestern. Have your parents figured out a travel schedule this fall?

WARD: They are probably going to watch my older brother play because he is starting. I don't think they will be in Iowa City much this fall.

Q: Is the plan for you to redshirt this fall or are you coming in with the mentality that while there are plenty of experienced guys on the offensive line, I think I can crack the two deeps?

WARD: I am definitely going to go hard every day in practice, but I am probably going to redshirt this year. It is extremely hard for offensive lineman to play as a true freshman, so I doubt that I would play much. I'll probably just take the year, learn, and get stronger.

Q: What is your weight at right now?

WARD: I'm at 275.

Q: Is that where you want to be at coming into the summer workouts?

WARD: That's where they want me at coming in. I'm guessing they will add a few pounds to my frame this summer.

Q: Iowa has broken in a few tackles by initially giving them at opportunity at guard. Is the plan still tackle for you?

WARD: They are still thinking tackle, but we will see what happens.

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