Why Tristan Wirfs needed technique — not just size — to get to Iowa, the Jane Meyer verdict is just the start of the case, and more
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So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Friday, May 5.
Six-foot-5, 300-pound Tristan Wirfs needed to embrace his size in order to reach his potential.
But he needed to do more.
Perfecting his technique on the offensive line was just as important for the Vernon High standout and Iowa Class of 2017 signee who has a 4-star rating by 247Sports.
“That is probably one of the hardest things, one of the biggest obstacles for us to overcome,” Mount Vernon football coach Lance Pedersen said. “Physically, he can just dominate people without fundamentals whatsoever.”
It’s exactly what Wirfs did up until his sophomore season. Playing varsity football, he no longer moved the defensive line simply because he was the biggest kid on the field. It was the first time Wirfs took a hard look at his technique.
“My pass set was ugly sophomore year,” he said. “I would come out of my stance and jump back and stuff and try to get in their way and try to run block and drive them one way or the other.”
Pedersen preaches preparing for your toughest opponent. For Wirfs, it would be a potential matchup with a defensive lineman with his traits — big, strong, athletic and a Division I prospect.
In order to win that battle, the two went to Iowa practices. Watching the Hawkeyes’ footwork gave Wirfs a visual image to try to replicate.
Pedersen used a variety of drills to rebuild Wirfs’ fundamentals. One of the Wirfs’ favorites was the mirror dodge drill. A defender keeps running, side to side, between two cones and Wirfs must stay in front of him while maintaining his pass set. It helped Wirfs become a better pass blocker against speed rushers.
“If there is a quick guy coming around the edge you know what angle to take to get there,” Wirfs said. “You don’t want to lean in too quick. You don’t want to get overextended.”
Wirfs didn’t feel comfortable with his pass blocking until his senior year. And he’s not done trying to refine his technique. He used his U.S. Army All-American Bowl experience to learn from his fellow participants. He took plenty of notes watching Foster Sarell and Walker Little, both 5-star linemen headed to Stanford.
“They are so fundamentally sound,” Wirfs said. “It looks like they should be in college with their steps and stuff. I really picked up from their pass sets how quick their feet were and where their hand placement was.”
Both used fast, precise hand movements when protecting quarterbacks. Their elbows were always in. It’s not always the case for Wirfs. So, he’s thinking about hand placement now as he heads to college.
His days working with Pedersen are ending, but his days of going against D-I caliber defensive ends are just beginning. So the focus on fundamentals must continue.
“I’ve come a long way, but I’m going to always work on this,” Wirfs said of the fundamentals. “It’s the only way to improve.”
Meyer trial verdict
The jury delivered a verdict in the Jane Meyer discrimination trial, but it’s only the beginning.
After jurors awarded Meyer $1.43 million on Thursday, her lawyers announced at news conference that they will seek an additional $2 million in damages from the University of Iowa.
Meyer's attorneys aren't done with the UI. Planning to sue for $2M more and an investigation into the athletic department.
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) May 4, 2017
Because the jury determined Iowa’s actions were willful, her back pay of $374,000 can tripled.
Iowa declined to address if it will appeal the ruling in a statement to Land of 10.
“The university is disappointed by the jury’s decision,” Iowa assistant vice president for external relations Jeneane Beck said.
Iowa will also face a gender and sexual orientation lawsuit from former field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum later this year.
The Newkirk & Zwagerman law firm represents both Meyer and Griesbaum and is confident in its case against the university in the next trial.
Meyer attorney Tom Newkirk called this & upcoming Griesbaum suit "companion cases. … It mirrors the same issues that Jane faced."
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) May 4, 2017
Iowa men’s golf is heading to the postseason. The NCAA placed the Hawkeyes in the Baton Rouge Regional on Thursday morning.
— Iowa Hawkeye Golf (@IowaHawkeyeGolf) May 4, 2017
LSU is hosting the regional at the University Club in Baton Rouge, La. on May 15-17.
This is the ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the program. The Hawkeyes are seeded No. 10 in the regional and will need to play their best golf of the season to advance to the NCAA championship. Only the top 5 teams from the regional move on.
Wirfs re-wrote his name in the Iowa high school record books on Thursday, again delivering the second-longest shot put in state history with a toss of 67 feet. He previously held the second-best mark at 66-3 1/4
Just in from the boys shot … Tristan Wirfs (MtV) 67-0, William Blaser (WDbq) 66-2. Nos. 2 & 3 all-time in Iowa. Goodness.
— Jeff Linder (@jtlinder) May 5, 2017
It’s the third-longest throw in the nation this year. Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Doug Lane set the state record of 70-11 in 1968.