Photos: Remembering Hawkeye legend Hayden Fry on his birthday

Photos: Remembering Hawkeye legend Hayden Fry on his birthday

Legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry died on Dec. 17 at the age of 90. He would have turned 91 today, Feb. 28. Here's a look back at the man who turned around the Hawkeye football program.

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The lights are turned on for another Iowa football season in two days and today’s Hawkeye 10@10 is all about getting ready.

From players looking forward to facing somebody other than the teammates they’ve been beating on in practice for nearly a month to challenges that accompany the new season and a new way for fans to battle traffic in and around Kinnick Stadium, it’s all part of today’s daily dose of Hawkeye news and notes.

Delivered at 10 a.m. on weekdays at Hawkmania.com, your source for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:

1. Geno Stone, the lone returning safety with starting experience, believes sophomore Kaevon Merriweather is ready to step into an expanded role this season.

Merriweather is listed as the Hawkeyes’ starter at free safety for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. opener against Miami (Ohio), filling a spot where Jake Gervase played last season.

“He did a great job last year learning from Jake and he’s going to add a lot to it at safety,’’ Stone said. “He had a good fall camp and is ready for that next step.’’

2. Iowa players figure it’s time.

After three-plus weeks of pounding on each other in fall camp, the Hawkeyes are ready to see a different opponent.

“It seems like it takes so long to get to this point,’’ linebacker Nick Niemann said. “We know the guys on our team so well. I think we’re anxious to see how it plays out with a guy across the line who isn’t from Iowa.’’

3. Simply put, quarterback Nate Stanley wants to be better this season than he was a year ago.

“That’s really what it’s all about,’’ the senior said as he prepares for his third season as the Hawkeyes’ starter.

“If I can raise my completion percentage a little bit, it can make a difference. Those one, two plays a game where I would check into a play but could have checked into a better play, recognizing that and making the most of those types of things is what I’m working toward.’’

4. Coach Kirk Ferentz said the changes on Iowa’s depth chart from the start of fall camp to game week are mostly the result of injuries.

He said second-team tight end Shaun Beyer missed a week of camp, allowing Drew Cook to climb into a spot behind Nate Wieting and injuries have impacted where cornerback Julius Brents is listed heading into this week as well.

“But right now, as of probably Saturday or Friday last week, just about everybody was back working,’’ Ferentz said. “The next three weeks here we’ll just kind of see. We have a lot of really close competitions going on at a lot of different positions.’’

The only player listed as doubtful for the opener is guard Cole Banwart.

5. Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette will handle both kick and punt return duties at the onset of the season.

Smith-Marsette ranked among the nation’s top kick returners a year ago, and is adding punt returns to his assignments.

“It’s not the same as kick return and it is a different feel, different target, but he’s done really well with it,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Right now, we have a lot of confidence in Ihmir.’’

Ferentz said Nico Ragaini and Max Cooper are also working on returning punts.

“It’s a real critical position and we’ve had really good luck for the most part at that position,’’ Ferentz said. “I think right now those guys have demonstrated that we can draw some back there and hopefully they’ll continue to improve.’’

6. Chuck Martin knows what his team is getting into.

The Miami (Ohio) coach said his team’s preparations for the Hawkeyes began with gaining an understanding of the physical nature of Iowa’s line play.

“They are as strong and physical up front as anybody and you watch them, they don’t give up anything against people who try to rush the ball,’’ Martin said. “It seems like their guys are always in the right position, a good solid Big Ten team.’’

7. At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz acknowledged the death of former Hawkeye Dick Woodard, a Quad-Cities area native who lettered for the Hawkeyes in the late 1940s.

“Dick was just a tremendous guy, 93 years old and a four-year letterman,’’ Ferentz said. “Dick was at every I-Club breakfast from day one. He would leave the Quad-Cities around 4 or 4:30 in the morning to be here. We don’t have those breakfasts any more but he was always a positive, encouraging type person who always treated me so well. We’re so sorry about Dick’s passing.’’

8. The 11th annual FRYFest celebrating all things Hawkeye is scheduled for Friday at the Iowa River Landing in Coralville.

The event includes the world’s largest Hawkeye Trade Show at Coralville Marriott and Conference Center, where panel discussions involving Iowa’s Athletics Hall of Fame Class and the Hawkeyes’ 2004 Big Ten co-championship team are scheduled during the day.

Warren Holloway, Chad Greenway and Matt Roth are among members of the 2004 team scheduled to appear.

A High Porch Block Party that will include a kids zone, bags tournament, fireworks and a concert by The Spazmatics will be held in the evening in the Iowa River Landing area.

9. Fans will have a new way to receive live gameday traffic updates as they go to the Kinnick Stadium and leave the game.

Iowa has partnered with Waze to provide the information which can be downloaded for free at waze.com/get.

It is also available from the App Store and Google Play.

Game day messaging will also be available via hawkeyesports.com/footballgameday.

10. Iowa is offering fans a chance to purchase day of game parking in advance for designated lots with a credit card on hawkeyesports.com.

Parking scanners will be used for all private and public lots.

Season parking passes are being sold for $100, while single-game parking is $20 in advance and $25 on game day.

The pregame price is available only until noon on Friday prior to game day