HOLES ON DEFENSE: The offensive side of the ball isn’t the only place where the Iowa football team is seeking solutions four days into fall camp.

There are defensive openings to be filled as well surrounding a core of senior linebackers Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey and James Morris.

From two starting spots on the line to a cornerback position in the secondary, the Hawkeyes are competing for playing time.

“It’s been competitive and I think it will stay that way,’’ said defensive end Drew Ott, who has added 20 pounds to the 245 he played at a year ago as a true freshman. “As a group, we’re stronger and we’re hungry. We didn’t like what happened last year any more than anybody else.’’

Dominic Alvis and Louis Trinca-Pasat are returning starters on the defensive line, where assistant coach Reese Morgan anticipates continuing a rotation of as many as eight players.

On the back end, Jordan Lomax is penciled in at right cornerback as Iowa looks for a replacement for Micah Hyde to go with returning starters Nico Law, B.J. Lowery and Tanner Miller.

“Things are coming together for us,’’ Lowery said. “Everybody has come ready to work every day and that’s big if we want to turn our record around. We need to take that approach.’’

FAST FORWARD: Stomaching a 4-8 record last season has left a lingering taste with Hawkeye coaches and players.

Most talked about the need to move forward, comments echoed by coach Kirk Ferentz during his media day news conference.

“I’m more interested in solutions than observations,’’ Ferentz said.

Toward that objective, Ferentz believes his 15th Hawkeye team is taking on its own identity through the way it has worked since the end of the 2012 season.

“Every team has got some personality, regardless of what the season the year before was because it’s a new team,’’ Ferentz said. “We graduated guys from last year and we’ve got new guys in the front of the room. Guys emerge. They change in the course of month, let alone 10 months.’’

PLENTY OF OPTIONS: Ferentz believes Iowa’s depth at tight end and running back can provide the team with options in the passing game as a relatively inexperienced group of wide receivers grows into its roles.

“We’re counting on that,’’ Ferentz said. “We need for our top playmakers to make plays, regardless of what position they are at.’’

 MEASURED WORDS: Morris has always shown a tendency to think before he speaks when responding to reporter’s questions, and the senior linebacker doesn’t expect that to change.

“If people are looking for bulletin board material, they’ll have to look for it from somebody else,’’ Morris said. “That’s not who I am.’’

 TICKETS AVAILABLE: Iowa announced Thursday it has sold roughly 59,000 season tickets, including the student allotment of 10,000 tickets. Tickets purchased by the general public will be mailed to fans and should be in their possession by Aug. 24.

KIDS DAY PLANNED: Iowa hosts its annual Kids at Kinnick event on Saturday, Aug. 17, with a 5 p.m. open practice followed by an autograph session at Kinnick Stadium. Gates will open at 4 p.m.

-- Steve Batterson

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