UNI Game Week

It's here! After roughly 5 months of blogging without any real news (I'm not sure why I decided to start a football blog in the middle of April), it's finally game week, and there will finally be something to actually write about. I've been researching up on UNI and I'll have more analysis on the match up later in the week. For now, just a couple of quick items.

Game Day:
  • Opponent - The University of Northern Iowa
  • Time - Saturday, September 5 at 11:01 AM
  • Place - Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
  • TV - Big Ten Network HD (on main feed in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota...see coverage map for more info)
Quick Notes:
  • It's the Gold Bowl...so if you're headed to Kinnick remember to "Be bold, wear gold"
  • FryFest is the night before, which sounds like a lot of fun
  • Both teams will be very inexperienced and thin at running back. Iowa will be missing Jewel Hampton with his right knee injury, and UNI will be without Derrick Law and Taylor Brookins due to suspension
  • In case you missed it, here's the depth chart for week 1

Iowa Depth Chart - Obligatory Post

The Iowa Hawkeyes put out their depth chart for the game against UNI on Friday. Though there is nothing overly surprising on the 2-deeps, there were a few things worth commenting.
  • Probably the biggest "news" is that Jewel Hampton is not listed (as was expected). There is no definite news on whether or not he will redshirt this year, but he will be out for the opener.
  • Christian Ballard is definitely a defensive tackle. Again we already kind of new that.
  • DJK is still number 2. Ferentz has said it mostly due to DJK missing some time with a minor injury, but I think the whole "dog house"/motivational thing is still going on.
  • Murray and Mossbrucker are still listed with an "OR". There was a little talk going around of Mossbrucker redshirting, but it doesn't look like it at this point.
  • William Lowe and Greg Castillo are tied for the starting left corner spot. Most thought the job was Lowe's, but Castillo must be making some good strides in camp.
  • Amari Spievey is listed as the punt and kick returner. I think that's a great choice. He was an excellent returnman in JUCO averaging 41 yards on kick returns. He once also had a 94-yard inception return for a touchdown to end the first half, only to start the second half with a 96-yard kick off return for a second touchdown.
  • I also noticed no true freshman are listed anywhere, though Ferentz said we will probably see 3 to 4 play next Saturday. I have to think Ferentz did this on purpose. Micah Hyde is probably the next cornerback in line, but only 3 are listed. I also suspect that the other kick returner spot may be filled by Brandon Wegher instead of Paki (usually the starting running back isn't returning kicks for Iowa). Also, Keenan Davis may be good enough that he'd be on the 2-deeps over Paul Chaney, Jr.
Depth Chart:


SE- Marvin McNutt, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos
LT- Bryan Bulaga, Riley Reiff
LG- Adam Gettis, Kyle Haganman
C- Rafael Eubanks, Josh Koeppel
RG- Dan Doering, Andy Kuempel
RT- Dace Richardson, Markus Zusevics
TE- Tony Moeaki, Allen Reisner
QB- Ricky Stanzi , James Vandenberg/John Wiene
WR- Trey Stross, Paul Chaney, Jr.
RB- Paki O’Meara, Adam Robinson
FB- Brett Morse, Wade Leppert

DE- Adrian Clayborn, Lebron Daniel
DT- Karl Klug, Travis Meade
DT- Christian Ballard, Mike Daniels
DE- Broderick Binns, Cody Hundertmark
OLB-A.J. Edds, Tyler Nielsen
MLB- Pat Angerer, Troy Johnson
WLB- Jeremiha Hunter, Jeff Tarpinian
LC- Greg Castillo/William Lowe
SS- Tyler Sash, David Cato
FS- Brett Greenwood, Joe Conklin
RC- Amari Spievey, William Lowe/Greg Castillo

Special Teams
PK- Daniel Murray/Trent Mossbrucker
PT- Ryan Donahue, Eric Guthrie
Punt Returns- Amari Spievey
Kickoff Returns- Paki O’Meara & Amari Spievey
Deep Snaps- Andrew Schulze, Josh Koeppel
Holder- Ryan Donahue

Friday Night Recruit Roundup

There was a lot of high school football action last night as 12 of the 13 Iowa commits kicked off their 2009 seasons.

Andrew Donnal - Anthony Wayne 28 - Rogers 32
Anthony Wayne loses in a close one to Rogers.

Anthony Ferguson and Jim Poggi - Gilman 63 - Saint John's 16
Ferguson and Poggi are primarily defensive players, but it was Gilman's offense that dominated this game.

Austin Gray -Fitzgerald 21 - Lamphere 20
Fitzgerald wins in OT with the defense stopping a 2-point conversion to end the game.

Mike Hardy - Kimberly 41 vs. Kaukauna 0
Kimberly rolls over Kaukauna as Hardy and the Papermaker's put up a shut out.

Matt Hoch vs. Brandon Scherff - Harlan 56 - Denison 21
Hoch won the first battle between Hawkeye commits as Harlan defeats Denison. On offense, Hoch ran for a touchdown and the (unfortunately named) Cyclone defense forced 2 fumbles and blocked a punt.

Christian Kirksey and Don Shumpert -Hazelwood East 28 at CBC 38
Hazelwood East lost their first came to CBC. Kirksey did catch a pass in the end zone on a 2-point conversion.

James Morris -Solon 49 -Mt. Vernon 10
Morris ran for 152 yards on 13 carries, scoring 4 touchdowns of 4, 9, 23 and 34 yards as Solon destroyed rival Mt. Vernon.

Louis Trinca-Pasat - Lane Tech 7 - DeLaSalle 28
Lane Tech struggled in its opener against DeLaSalle.

Austin Vier -Ballard 35 - North Polk 0
Vier did not play due to a knee injury, but Ballard still won easily of North Polk.

Marcus Coker - not in action this week.

Iowa Season Primer: The Defense

I previewed the offense yesterday and now it's time for the defense. There are a lot fewer question marks on this side of the ball as 8 starters return and there are others with considerable experience that were waiting in the wings. So, here's a quick run down of each unit (this shouldn't be nearly as long as the offense primer).

Defensive Line:
The defensive line has been sort of a hot topic this off season due to the loss of 4 year starters Mitch King and Matt Kroul. People have pointed to this fact to claim that Iowa's defense won't be very good this year (how very wrong they are). At defensive tackle will be Karl Klug and Christian Ballard. Klug is most known for his Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Award that he earned for his 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumbled effort against Florida International (though he is kind of embarrassed about it) and his huge stops against Penn State last year. Ballard was a starting defensive end last year and has slid inside to tackle. He certainly has the size for it at 6'5" 285. Mike Daniels will the the first to come in off of the bench. He's got starting ability (he would be starting if Ballard hadn't made the move) and has been starting to make a name for himself. He is specifically known for his super human strength.

At defensive end will be Adrian Clayborn and Broderick Binns. Clayborn is a known commodity and though his stats may not be as flashy as some of the other start DEs in the Big Ten, he's just as good. Expect him to be even more disruptive this year. Binns has really impressed Kirk Ferentz and he is the main reason Ballard moved over. He is a pass rush specialist and has been "unblockable" in practice.

The linebacker corps will be more of the same this year. Pat Angerer, A.J. Edds, and Jeremiha Hunter all return and all indication point to the unit being even better this year. Angerer is one of the best linebackers in the nation and this year has really established himself as a team leader. He also appears on the Butkus Award Watch List. Edds also made the watch list and should continue his dominance at the SAM linebacker position. And finally, Hunter has continued to improve in the off season. He quietly was second on the team in tackles last year and could have an even bigger impact his year.

Defensive Backfield:
This unit is most unsettled of the defense due to an injury, a suspension, and a general lack of depth. Both starting safeties, Tyler Sash and Brent Greenwood, are back. Sash really started to come on strong towards the end of the year recording 4 interceptions in the last 4 games. Greenwood has been solid at free safety. He was tied for 3rd on the team with 68 tackles last year and has been a part of the Hawkeye Leadership Group for 3 seasons in a row.

At corner back are Amari Spievey and either William Lowe or Greg Castillo. Spievey has turned into the conference's best cover corner and is on the preseason Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. Opposing quarterbacks will not be throwing the call in his direction very often. Unfortunately, the other corner position is up in the air for at least the first 2 games. The spot looked like it was going to be Jordan Bernstine's until he suffered an ankle injury. Next in line is Shaun Prater, but he's suspended for 2 games for an OWI. So next in line are Lowe and Castillo. Lowe saw a little action last year as a true freshman but only have 2 tackles. Castillo is just a redshirt freshman so has not seen any time on the field (obviously). The two are tied right now on the depth chart so it will be interesting to see if somebody wins the job in the next week.

Commits #12 and 13 for 2010: Don Shumpert and Christian Kirksey

The Hawkeyes picked up 2 verbal commitments late last night with teammates Don Shumpert and Christian Kirksey. The pair come from Hazelwood East in St. Louis, MO and are both listed as Athletes on Rivals, though Scout has Shumpert as a receiver. Both are also listed at 3 starts on Rivals and Shumpert is 1 star on Scout and I can't find Kirksey on Scout for some reason (send me a link if you find it).

High School:
Shumpert and Kirksey attend Hazelwood East High School. In 2008 the Spartans were 11-3 in route to a Missouri Class 5 State Championship. They were able to beat their opponents with a very strong defense that gave up less than 14 points per game. Shumpert and Kirksey played a large part of the Spartans stifling D.

Shumpert in particular shined on defense as a free safety. He racked up 55 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 interceptions in his junior season. He also saw time on offense as a wide receiver. His play earn him a spot on the Class 5 All-State Second Team.

Kirksey's primary position was at linebacker, though he also played tight end and full back. On defense, Kirksey had 89 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 fumble recovery.

A Couple Thoughts:
Iowa keeps racking up the defensive recruits. Out of the 13 players to commit so far, 9 project to play on defense including Shumpert and Kirksey. I really like the commit from Shumpert. The class thus far has lacked skill position players, and the defensive backfield is certainly a need for the Hawkeyes. Iowa is currently are very thin at safety and Shumpert could immediately find himself on the 2-deeps next year. I'm not exactly sure how Kirksey fits in. He would be the 4th linebacker in the class if he stay at that position. He's a little smaller and faster than the other LB commits so far, so it'll be interesting to see how the coaches use him.

Quick Glance:
FS/WR/Ath Don Shumpert - St. Louis, MO
Other SchoolsMinnesota, Illinois
Size6'2", 180 lbs
40 Time4.45 sec
LB/Ath Christian Kirksey - St. Louis, MO
Other SchoolsWisconsin, Minnesota
Size6'2", 200 lbs
40 Time4.5 sec

Game Day for Hawkeye Commits

Football season is here, for high school at least and that's better than nothing. If you want to get an early start following the 2010 recruiting class, 12 of the 13 young men (2 new commits today, Don Shumpert and Christian Kirksey, check back later for more info on the teammates) and are playing tonight/tomorrow. Check back in a couple days for a report on how each commit played (or more likely just how their team looked...not too many skill players with lots of stats on the commit list yet).

The game of the week will be Harlan at Denison which features a match up of two Iowa commits, Matt Hoch and Brandon Scherff. What's even more excellent is that Hoch is a DE and Scherff an OT so the two should be lining up head to head. So, if you live in western Iowa near Denison, this might be a game you want to check out.

Andrew Donnal -
Anthony Wayne at Rogers (Fri 8/28 - 7:00)

Anthony Ferguson and Jim Poggi -
Gilman vs. Saint John's (Fri 8/28 - 7:00)

Austin Gray -
Fitzgerald vs. Lamphere (Fri 8/28 - 7:00)

Mike Hardy -
Kimberly vs. Kaukauna (Fri 8/28 - 7:00)

Matt Hoch -
Harlan at Denison (Fri 8/28 - 7:30)

Christian Kirksey and Don Shumpert -
Hazelwood East at CBC
(Fri 8/28 - 7:00)

James Morris -
Solon vs. Mt. Vernon (
Fri 8/28 - 7:30)

Brandon Scherff -
Denison vs Harlan (Fri 8/28 - 7:30)

Louis Trinca-Pasat -
Lane Tech vs. DeLasalle (Fri 8/28 2:30)

Austin Vier -
Ballard at North Polk
(Fri 8/28 - 7:30)

Marcus Coker - not in action this week

Iowa Season Primer: The Offense

I took the day off yesterday from the Season Primer series, but I'm picking it back up today with a preview of the Hawkeye offense. The offense has many more question marks right now than the defense. Six starters return, but there are numerous injuries, incoming freshman, position changes, kids coming back from injuries, all affecting how the offense will come together. I don't want to go too in depth here and the we'll have a lot of our questions answered 9 days from now, but here's some general ideas of how the offense will look this year.

Let's start off with the easiest position to diagnose. There is no QB controversy this year, Ricky Stanzi is the starting quarterback. He's back with a year of experience, a couple of big wins, increased leadership ability, about 20 extra pounds of muscle, and a killer beard. I expect Stazni to have a good year in 2009 and so does the Manning Award committee. He definitely showed that he has the ability to perform when the pressure is on and if he can limit the turnovers that he had problems with last year at times, then there should be nothing stopping him.

There is one question at quarterback…who's number 2? From the sound of things James Vandenberg has started to emerge into that backup position over John Wienke. Hopefully the game against UNI will give us a chance to see both in action.

Tight Ends:
I'm sticking with the easy position. The tight end position has traditionally been a strength of the Iowa Hawkeyes and this year will be no different. Tony Moeaki is back and he's healthy (and we're hoping it stays that way). Moeaki is an amazing blocker and an excellent receiver and will likely big a significant part of the Hawkeye offense this year.

Backing up Moeaki, but still practically a starter with the number of 2-TE sets O'Keefe runs, is Allen Reisner. With Moeaki's injuries, Reisner saw a lot of playing time last year as a true sophomore. He averaged an amazing 18.2 yards per catch and had 1 touchdown.

I don't even know where to start with the receivers. At this point, there are about 5 or 6 different guys that could be the starters week 1, which is probably a good thing, but it still leads to a lot of unknowns.

If I had to guess today, I would say Trey Stross and Marvin McNutt. I think the closest thing to a lock to start at this point is Trey Stross. He's the only senior in the mix and he's finally healthy. And, in the past when Stross has been healthy, though it been pretty rare, he has shown up big on the field. McNutt is a much more interesting story. It's incredible that he has only been playing at receiver for a short time now and was listed as a starter to start the fall camp. At this time last year he was the 3rd string quarterback. He's been impressing everyone who's seen him play this fall, so I'm excited for my chance.

If you had asked me a few weeks ago I might have said Colin Sandeman and DJK. Sandeman has been rather quite with just 10 catches in his time at Iowa, but he has good hands and I think his junior year could be his break out year. It's more likely he'll stay second team, but still come off the bench and make plays. DJK…I don't have too much to say about that situation. I think he'll eventually win back the starting job and have another good year.

Paul Chaney Jr. and Keenan Davis are the other 2 in the mix. Chaney is ridiculously fast (he's a track guy) and has apparently stepped up his game. He was seen running with the first team on Tuesday. He really has big play potential. There have been multiple times in the past couple of years that he burned right by the defense and then he doesn't haul in the catch for whatever reason. Hopefully this year, those plays will lead to touchdowns. Keenan Davis will be a true freshman this year, but is already expected to be a big contributor. He's gotten some reps with the first teams, but I think he'll be a 2nd string guy this year but move up the depth chart quickly in his time at Iowa.

Offensive Line:
Much like the receivers, there are a lot of questions around who will play on the offensive line this year. There are injuries and suspension that muddle the situation, but more experience than just about any other team in the country.

One spots that is 100% locked down is left tackle with Bryan Bulaga. In case you hadn't heard, he's really good. He's on multiple watch lists, SI's Preseason All-American Team, and is being talked about positively everywhere.

Moving over a spot, who will play left guard? At the beginning of spring it looked like Julian Vandervelde would retain his position. Then, Dace Richardson shocked the world (okay, maybe just those following Hawkeye Football) by coming back from a devastating knee injury and looked to be the starter with Vandervelde moving over to right guard. However, Richardson has slid over to right tackle for the time being (I'll get to that below) and Riley Reiff (best known for his undressing related arrest last year) was the first to step up. The practice videos from Tuesday on the BTN, however, now shows Adam Gettis getting a shot at left guard. After everything gets straightened out, probably by week 3 or so, Ric hardson will probably be the guy and it will be a great story.

The center position is starting to iron itself out, but I would not be surprised if we see 3 different starters by the time the year is over. First in line is Rafael Eubanks. Eubanks was the starting center in 2007. He is known for his struggles that year, but he's 2 year's wiser now and as a senior I think he can have a successful year.

The other 2 in the picture are Josh Koeppel and James Ferentz. Koeppel has seen very little action, but per Coach Ferentz he has "elevated his game quietly." He has been switching with Eubanks running with the first team in practice, so if Eubanks struggles at all, expect Koeppel to come in. James Ferentz may be the most skilled center on the team, but he really shot himself in the foot when he got arrested for his second alcohol related offense in the spring. He sat out half of spring ball and is suspended for the first 2 games. Still, if he continues to progress he could take over the starting job sometime in the middle of the season.

On to right guard. This spot seems to be Dan Doering's to lose right now. Once Julian Vandervelde recovers from his injury, there might be some competition here. I could also see the loser of the left guard position and Andy Kuemple all in the competition too. Doering, however, will finally have his chance to shine. He came to Iowa highly recruited and has had some injury issue preventing him from really performing at his highest.

Right tackle would be another locked up spot, but projected started Kyle Calloway has been battling an IT band injury (he's practicing again though) and is serving a 1 game suspension. Once he's served his time he'll come back as the starter. So for the first game Dace Richardson is the likely guy to fill in.

Running backs:
Figuring out the running back position has been a roller coaster. Not only has the story on Jewel Hampton's knee been amazingly turbulent trying to figure out how bad he's hurt, if he needs surgery, if he'll be ready for the season, if he's going to red shirt (latest rumor is that he does need surgery but is trying to decide if he wants to do it now and miss the season or try to tough it out and do it after the season)…but behind Jewel we have no clue who's going to be the step up. The coaches keep saying it'll be a "committee" but somebody has to be the starter. We all know Jewel will be #1 if he's ready, but I'm going to assume for this post at least that he will not be playing (I'm still optimistic though!).

In the spring and even late last year some, we kept hearing about how Jeff Brinson was the next big thing. Now, in the fall, we haven't really heard much of anything. It sounds like he's fallen to around #3 behind Paki O'Meara and Adam Robinson.

O'Meara actually has quite a bit of experience. He was the first to come in during mop-up time and he played a lot on special teams. I actually think he's going to surprise some people this year. He has looked good in practices (at least the open practice and the one on the BTN) and he's been playing in the system for longer than the other options we have at running back.

Adam Robinson is a red-shirt freshman and was not even in the discussion at running back earlier this year (probably about the 5th name brought up). Well, he's worked his way into the #2 spot for now. From what I've heard he has a good burst through the whole.

There is not a lot of say about the fullback, so I guess I left an easy one for last. Both Brett Morse and Wade Leppert are back. Both will play, both are excellent blockers, both are okay catching the ball out of the backfield, and both will probably never carry the ball in their Iowa career.

Quick Thoughts on Overall Outlook:
  • With major questions at running back, a talented returning quarterback, and a lot of gifted (though largely unproven) receivers, I expect this offense to be much more balanced than last year when it was 60% run - 40% pass...it will probably be closer to 50-50% this year.
  • No matter who is playing on the offensive line, it will be very good. There are about 8 or 9 guys who legitimately could start on this team. The unit is very deep and very talented.
  • I think somebody will come out and establish himself as a go-to running back. Whether it is Paki, Robinson, Brinson, or even Wegher, somebody will step up and make us forget about Shonn Greene and Hampton (I'm not saying they'll be as good though, just good enough).
  • This is probably one of the more athletic groups of receivers in recent years. I think they have the potential to make a lot of big plays this year.

Wow, that was longer than planned. Tune back tomorrow (hopefully) for a look at the defense and special teams.

Commit #11 for 2010 - Marcus Coker

(I hopefully am not jumping the gun on this one like the last supposed commit #11. This one has been reported by The Washington Post and ESPN, so I think it's legit.)

The Iowa Hawkeyes picked up the 11th verbal commitment for the 2010 recruiting class yesterday. Marcus Coker of Hyattsville, MD became just the 4th offensive player and first running back to commit. Coker is rated 3 stars by both Rivals and Scout.

High School:
Marcus Coker attends DeMatha Catholic High School, a boys school outside of Washington D.C. DeMatha is known for its outstanding athletic program and has won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship 6 straight years in football. Last year, the Stags compiled a 9-2 record in route to the championship. In the WCAC title game, Coker ran for 168 and had 2 touchdowns leading his team to a 34-7 victory. Over the course of his entire Junior year, Coker ran for 1,174 yards and 19 touchdown on just 108 carries. His accomplishments on the field earned him 1st team all county and 2nd team all state awards.

Quick Glance:
RB Marcus Coker - Hyattville, MD
Other SchoolsWake Forest, Minnesota, Kansas
Size6'1", 225 lbs
40 Time4.5 sec

Big Ten Football Tour: Iowa Hawkeyes

I just watched the Big Ten Football Tour's stop in Iowa City on my BTN HD. It's late, so I'm just going to throw out a couple quick thoughts and then go to bed.

  • The defense overall looked solid and healthy
  • Ballard is a great fit at DT, had a sack today
  • I saw Willie Lowe make a good play on a ball, so that was encouraging
  • Micah Hyde is skinny, but looked okay in coverage
  • Angerer showed some nice coverage skill breaking up a pass
  • Jewel still out, and now DJK is out too
  • Bulaga was practicing and looked fine
  • Keenan Davis had a great catch
  • Moeaki is very, very good. Blocking, running routes, catching the ball, everything
  • Running backs looked okay. Paki made a couple of good runs and saw Robinson running pretty hard
  • Wegher got destroyed in a blocking drill...he might be sticking to special teams this year
  • Gettis looked strong and was running with the 1s at guard
Overall it was really fun to watch and nice to see the team practicing. I'm very excited about the upcoming season and today's show just got me more amped up. If DiNardo is right implying that Iowa may be one of the top 2 teams in the conference, then we're in for a treat this year.

If you didn't get to watch it tonight, here's a video for you of the quick interview with Kirk Ferentz. You can see more on the BTN's website here.

Iowa Season Primer: New Faces

The Iowa Hawkeyes have a substantial amount of returning players on both offense and defense (6 and 8 starters respectively), but there are still some new faces that you will want to keep an eye on this fall. In case you don't following recruiting, there are a few incoming freshman that have the potential to have an impact right away. There are also some older guys who haven't seen the field a great deal yet but have moved up on the depth chart.

Incoming Freshman to Watch:

Keenan Davis - WR - #6
Keenan Davis has created quite the buzz during fall practice. I have heard things like he's was the best receiver the day he started camp, he's the best athlete Iowa has had in years, he catches everything thrown in his direction, etc… Now, I'm sure most of the is just hyperbole, but it is certain that he's making a good impression. Look for him to see plenty of playing time at receiver this year and don't be surprised if he's back returning kick offs or punts either.

Brandon Wegher - RB - #3
Brandon Wegher has received ridiculous amounts of hype coming out of high school and is probably the most anticipated incoming freshman in this year's class. (Watch his highlights on YouTube to see why.) He put up gigantic numbers for Heelan High School last year and led the team to a State Title. In 2009 Wegher will likely be playing on special teams as a return specialist and may see a little time at running back.

Micah Hyde - CB - #18
In high school, Micah Hyde earned many accolades as a quarterback. At Iowa, though, he'll play cornerback and with Jordan Bernstine's season ending injury and Shaun Prater's 2 game suspension, Hyde will probably been throw right into the thick of things week 1. Even when Prater comes off suspension, I imagine Hyde will be a special teams contributor.

Jordan Cotton - WR - #23
It's probably a little less likely that Jordan Cotton will see time as a true freshman than the first 3 mentioned. He was primarily a running back for Mount Pleasant High School, but will play wide receiver for the Hawkeyes. I think it will be hard for him to earn playing time at his new position, but there is definitely the possibility that he will play on special teams. He's been one of the few taking reps at punt returner.

JoJo Pregont - WR - #9
Josh Brown - RB - #7
Marty Hopkins - DL - #35
Shane Dibona- LB - #37
Brad Rogers - RB - #38
Jacob Reisen - LB - #41
Drew Clark - OL - #50
Terrance Pryor - LB - #51
Connor Boffeli - OL - #59
Charlie Knipper - LS - #69
Brett Van Sloten - OL - #70
Matt Murphy - OL - #72
Scott Covert - DL - #75
Nolan MacMillan - OL - #76
Dominic Alvis - DL - #79
Dakota Getz - TE - #80
Tyler Harrell - DL - #96

Older Guys to Watch:

Broderick Binns - DE - #91
Broderick Binns did see quite a bit of time last year as the second string defensive end. This year, however, he will be a starter as Christian Ballard is moving inside to tackle. Binns has recently been heavily praised by Coach Ferentz and has been referred to as "unblockable."

Riley Rieff - OL - #77
Riley Rieff was expected to be the heir to Bryan Bulaga, but with an injury to Julian Vandervelde and Kyle Calloway's 1 game suspension, Rieff has been seeing practice time with the first team at left guard as a red shirt freshman. He could be a starter against UNI and will likely see playing time through out the year.

Marvin McNutt - WR - #7
Marvin McNutt was Iowa's third string quarterback last year. He's completed his transition to wide receiver and is now listed as a starter. He's tall, has great hands, and understand the offense. Look for McNutt to have a big impact on this year's team.

Mike Daniels - DT - #93
Mike Daniels is probably the number 3 defensive tackle now that Christian Ballard has moved over, but expect him to rotate in early and often. He's made a name for himself for being incredibly strong and was one of the players that shined during the open practice a couple weeks ago.

Adam Robinson - RB - #32
Josh Koeppel - C - #67
William Lowe - CB - #10
David Cato - SS - #31
Greg Castillo - CB - #2

I Love My BTN HD

Around this time a year ago I was checking the news daily for any hope that Mediacom and the Big Ten Network would strike a deal. Thankfully they did, just in time for the football season (though I did have to watch a game or two on the Mediacom Connection Channel). Well, this year there is even better news: Big Ten Network HD! For all you stuck with Mediacom out there, in case you hadn't noticed, you will find BTN HD on channel 834.

I've had my HDTV for a little while now, but never bothered to get an HD box from Mediacom as they are generally a hassle to deal with and their HD lineup is just okay. But, once I heard that the BTN was coming in HD I called up Mediacom and got my old digital box traded in for the HD box. And let me say this, it was totally worth it. The BTN looks fantastic in HD and I can't wait for the season to start to watch some real football.

Also, the programming on the BTN has gotten noticeably better I think. The Big Ten Football Tour has been excellent and they are coming to Iowa City today! The actual show will be on at 9:00 tonight. I also thought that they had good coverage of the Big Ten Media Days and I am excited about their 4 new football shows premiering this fall. One last note, I think they have embraced social media exceptionally well. They have an active and informative twitter accounts (@BTN_IOWA for Hawkeye updates), decent blogs and podcast, and have a fairly nice website that features lots of videos. Now, if they'd just get rid of that Friday Night Tailgate show...(that's actually okay too, and I read that they are tweaking things to make it better).

Iowa Season Primer: The Off Season

Not everyone can follow Iowa Football all year long, especially during the long, long off season. But, since the Hawkeyes last played a game on January 1st, a lot has happened. So, just in case you are now just getting back into the swing of things (or know somebody who is...be sure to share!), here's a recap of everything important that I can remember that's happened since Iowa dismantled the Gamecocks. (Warning…long post ahead.)

Okay, we're starting off with the bad new right away because it's probably the biggest news. One of the most talked about stories of the summer and into fall has been Jewel Hampton's knee. When it first happened there was mass hysteria and there were rumors flying around that he would miss the entire season. A report eventually surfaced that Jewel jogged up the stairs to answer a knock on his front door. Then Coach Ferentz came out and laid the rumors to rest, saying that Hampton was generally fine. Well, unfortunately that is not the end of the story. In fall practice, Hampton re-aggravated his knee and has sat out since. Ferentz did mention on the radio last Friday that Hampton is "hopeful" for this week. So now, we sit and wait watching the pictures on hawkeyesports.com to see if he's practicing.

The other big injury news is Jordan Bernsine's ankle. During practice 2 weeks ago Bernstine broke his ankle during a punt coverage drill. Unfortunately his injury will require him to sit out the entire season. The good news is that he does still have a red shirt year to burn, but the bad news (besides being hurt) is that he was the projected starter at corner across from Amari Spievey.

Injury List:
  • Jewel Hampton - Knee - Unknown
  • Jordan Bernstine - Ankle - Season
  • Julian Vandervelde - Bicep - A few weeks
  • Chad Geary - ACL - Season
  • Joe Gaglione - Shoulder - Season

The most notable player to transfer is Jake Christensen. We all saw this coming after he lost his starting spot to Stanzi last year. In the upcoming season, Christensen will play for Eastern Illinois. The other transfer worth mentioning is Jacody Coleman. A year ago he was the starting middle linebacker, but was ultimately surpassed by Pat Angerer. The coaches offered Coleman a red shirt year so he could come back as the starter once Angerer graduates, but he decided it was best to transfer to Lamar University.

Transfer List:
  • Jake Christensen - Eastern Illinois
  • Jacody Coleman - Lamar
  • Shane Prater - Iowa Western
  • Anthony Schiavone - back east?
  • Stephane N'goumou - juco or prep school? (clearing house issue)

Okay, this should be the end of all the bad news. There are only a couple of suspension to report, and surprise, surprise, they are all the result of alcohol related incidents. While the Calloway's drunken moped ride and Prater's "the bartender spiked my Coke" OWI are somewhat comical, the suspensions are not.

Suspension List:
  • Kyle Calloway - OWI - 1 game
  • Shaun Prater - OWI - 2 games
  • James Ferentz - Public Intox - 1 game

Award Watch Lists:
Better news now! The preseason award watch lists have been kind to the Hawkeyes, particularly for Pat Angerer and Bryan Bulaga who are both on 2 lists. In all, 7 players have made the watch lists of 9 different awards.

Watch List List:
  • Bryan Bulaga - Bednarik and Outland
  • Pat Angerer - Lombardi and Butkus
  • Ricky Stanzi - Manning
  • Amari Spievey - Jim Thorpe
  • Ryan Donahue - Ray Guy
  • Tony Moeaki - Mackey
  • A.J. Edds - Butkus

The Iowa coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard over the summer and there have already been 10 players to commit for 2010. The Hawkeyes have done especially well recruiting the state of Iowa with 4 of the top Iowa preps already onboard.

Commit List:
  • Andrew Donnal - OT - Whitehouse, OH
  • Brandon Scherff - OT - Denison, IA
  • Matt Hoch - DE - Harlan, IA
  • Mike Hardy - DE - Kimberly, WI
  • Austin Vier - QB/TE/Ath - Huxley, IA
  • Louis Trinca-Pasat - DE - Chicago, IL
  • Anthony Ferguson - DT - Baltimore, MD
  • Jim Poggi - LB - Baltimore, MD
  • Austin Gray - LB - Warren, MI
  • James Morris - LB - Solon, IA

Quick Hits:

Kinnick Stadium Installs FieldTurf - Kinnick Stadium will look a little different this fall was Iowa kicks off against UNI. Over the summer the grass was ripped out and FieldTurf was installed. The end-zones look great with gold lettering on a black background, and the field should be easy to maintain (see the ISU game from last year for maintenance problems).

Kirk Ferentz Signs Through 2015 - Kirk Ferentz signed a 7 year extension in July. His salary will be the same, though he will have the use of a private jet for 35 hours each year.

Iowa Ranked in the Preseason Polls - The 2009 Preason AP Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll have both been released and the Hawkeyes are ranked #22 and #21 respectively.

McNutt to Wide Receiver - Marvin McNutt, last year's 3rd string quarterback switched positions and is now listed as one of the starting receivers.

Dace Richardson is Back - Against all odds, Dace Richardson has come back from injury is a likely starter along the offensive line. After basically missing the last 2 years, Richardson has been running with the first team in practice at right tackle, filling in for suspended Kyle Calloway. Once Calloway is back, Richardson will probably slide inside to guard.

I condensed those 7 or 8 months worth of news as much as I could, but it's still pretty long. I probably forgot some things a long the way, so if you think of anything throw it in the comments. Anyway, check back later in the week for more Season Primers.

Angerer and Edds on Butkus Award Watch List

Hawkeye seniors Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds are both named on the 2009 Butkus Award watch list. The Butkus Award is annually given to the best linebacker in the nation. The watch list only includes 35 players, so for Iowa to have 2 players make the list is quite impressive. The Big Ten is well represented as well. Penn State also has 2 on the list (Lee and Bowman) and Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois all have one.

The preseason award watch lists have been kind to the Hawkeyes. With the 2 from the Butkus Award it brings the total number up to 9.
  • Bryan Bulaga - Bednarik and Outland
  • Pat Angerer - Lombardi and Butkus
  • Ricky Stanzi - Manning
  • Amari Spievey - Jim Thorpe
  • Ryan Donahue - Ray Guy
  • Tony Moeaki - Mackey
  • A.J. Edds - Butkus

AP Poll: Hawkeyes #22

The Preseason AP Top 25 was announced and the Iowa Hawkeyes come in at #22. In the Coaches Poll the Hawks were ranked #21.

There is nothing too surprising here. Obviously Florida came in at #1 with all but 2 of the first place votes. The Gators are followed by Texas, Oklahaoma, USC, and Alabama to round out the top 5 (exactly the same top 5, actually top 7, as the coaches poll). Ole Miss may be a little high at 8 and like the coaches poll, I don't think Notre Dame should be included. I also think Georgia and California are both a little high, but it's hard for me to think of an argument for who else I'd put in their places. All in all, #22 or #21 for the Hawkeyes sounds about right to me.

Black & Gold Haterade

Juice Williams, you're not alone. There has been a lot of hatred towards the Hawkeyes lately. The good news is that most of it is the result of national-title-dream crushing and embarrassing beat-downs. So, maybe their just jealous.

Penn State is not too fond of Iowa:
I linked to a post from Zombie Nation the other day that says that Penn State fans absolutely hate Iowa the most. Well, yesterday, Nittany Whiteout has a post entitled "24-23 Never Forget". PSU is trying to get their revenge on and at least the fans are looking ahead to September 26. They even have a cute little video.

Wow, Minnesota REALLY hates Iowa:
This Jeff guy from the Golden Gophers Football blog really hates the Hawkeyes (but loves comment censorship). He later apologized from some of the harsher comments. But hey, it's a rivalry, so a little hatred is a good thing.

Suspended Wisconsin Player's Dad hates Iowa too:
This is kind of old news, but two Wisconsin senior safeties, Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant, were suspended by Coach Bielema last week. The players went crying to mommy and daddy and the whole thing is a big mess. Well, this doesn't seem to have anything to do with Iowa (it doesn't), but for some reason Pleasant's father threw out this quote:
I hate to say this, but you just can't treat people any old way. I think that is what he [Bielema] is used to doing. Maybe this is how they do things at Iowa.
I don't know why he had to throw in that last line about Iowa. Yeah, Bielema has a Tigerhawk tattoo, but honestly I think it's time for Badger fans to get over that.

Jewel Hampton will "hopefully" be ready next week

Kirk Ferentz was interviewed on 97.1 The Fan, a sports radio station in Columbus, OH, today. You can listen to the interview here. It's about 7 minutes starting around minute 27.

Ferentz talked a little about injuries particularly along the offensive line, Stanzi's development, Moeaki's health, and the defense tackle position. The big new, however, is that Ferentz is hopeful that Jewel Hampton will be back on the field next week. He uses his typical coach speak, but the situation sounds much better than it did last weekend after the open practice. If Hampton has a shot at practicing next week, then the odds that he'll be ready for UNI are more in his favor. If he's not going to be 100% though, I'd be comfortable holding him out until the ISU game.

Bulaga update:
Like Hampton, OT Bryan Bulaga has also been sitting out from practice with a knee "tweak" but if you look at the scrimmage pictures from today, the last pic clearly show #79 in full pads ready to go. There's no pictures of him in action, but he probably wouldn't be in pads if he wasn't feeling better.

Upcoming Plans

Can you believe college football is only 2 weeks away?! Sure our Hawkeyes don't play for another 16 days, but if you are dying to see some football you will have some options on Thursday, September 3rd (Indiana vs. Eastern Kentucky, Iowa State vs. North Dakota State, Boise State vs. Oregon, and a couple less interesting games). Anyway, with the season so close I'm starting to form a plan about what I'll be posting the next 2 weeks and then into the season.

First off, next week I plan on doing some kind of season primer. Realizing that not everybody has followed Iowa Football during the long off season, I'll try to recap the big news from over the spring/summer, look at the new names on the roster (freshman, new impact players, etc...), break down the offense and defense and probably special teams, and finally examine the 2009 schedule. That's a lot of writing I've got to do! So, hopefully by the end of next week we'll all be primed and ready to get into game week.

Alright, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do for game weeks. The first week will be a little bit different, but my main plan is to spend a couple days recapping the previous game, then a couple days looking ahead to the upcoming game, which makes sense, right? I also plan on doing my best to follow how our 2010 commits are doing in their high school games and generally keep up on any other news. This will be the first season for this blog, so bear with my while I get it all figured out. It should be a fun few months.

Freshmen sing the Iowa Fight Song


The Hawkeye Marching Band maybe playing the fight song.
In case you hadn't noticed, this blog's title is inspired by the Iowa Fight Song. So naturally, whenever there is a fight song related happening I get excited and post about it. That said, the following is nothing to really get that excited about.

Today, in Camp Central hawkeyesports.com posted a brief (and I mean brief) video of the freshman singing the Iowa Fight Song. They're singing a little too fast if you ask me. I'll let it slide this time, since they are only freshmen.

In other fight song news...if you've been following the Big Ten Football Tour on BTN, and I suggest that you do as they are doing a pretty fantastic job of going around to all the fall camps and giving a good preview of each Big Ten team, then you may know that at each stop along they way they are giving out free tickets to the season opener (that's UNI for us Hawkeyes) for the first fan to spot the BTN Bus and sing the fight song (example here). So you better brush up on your lyrics (see the bottom right of this page) as the BTN is coming to town August 25th.

Links For Iowa - August 18, 2009

If you couldn't tell from the picture, I received my tickets today. So, that was an exciting surprise when I got the mail. I've heard of other getting their season tickets as well. It's just another reminder that football is almost here. On to the link!

Watch List Mania!

Stanzi on the Manning Award Watch List
Ricky Stanzi has made his way on the Archie Manning Award watch list. The award goes to the collegiate quarterback that played the best throughout the year, including the bowl game. I highly, highly doubt Stanzi (or anyone else) cannot dethrone the 3-headed beast McTeboford. But you never know.

Bulaga on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List
Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga has made his way on the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award which is given to the best lineman (offense or defense) annually. While the watch list contains a ridiculous 153 names, I'm fairly certain Bulaga is one of the names that will be sticking around on the list throughout the season.

Pat Angerer on the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
The Chuck Bednarik Award is given to the best defensive player, so it is quite an honor for Pat Angerer to make the list of 57 of the most outstanding collegiate athletes.

Other Stuff!

Zombie Nation Hates Iowa
Yesterday, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg ran down the top "villains" for each team in the Big Ten. For Penn State the current villain was Terrelle Pryor. Zombie Nation says other wise however.
I would bet that if you asked any Penn State fan, right now, which player or team they absolutely hate the most, it would be the Iowa Hawkeyes by a landslide.

Not only did they directly cost the Nittany Lions a shot at the national title in 2008, the Hawkeyes have been the second-worst (Michigan, of course) thorn in Penn State's side for most of this decade.
It feels kind of nice that Iowa has pained the Nittany Lions so. I'd say the hatred is pretty well deserved as well. Kirk Ferentz has absolutely owned Penn State in his tenure (6-1, including last year's amazing 24-23 upset, 2 OT wins, and the infamous 6-4 game). If Iowa wins this year against the sea of white under the lights, I can only imagine the absolute abhorrence that will be directed towards the Hawkeyes.

Dr. Saturday Picks the Big Ten

Why anyone would rank Michigan State ahead of Iowa, for example, which was statistically better than the Spartans last year at literally everything, finished with the same record, won its last four where MSU dropped its last two, and returns the same number of starters plus a solid starting quarterback, is unfathomable.
My thoughts:

Iowa Schedule Poster


Bad picture of schedule poster.

I got my Iowa Football Schedule poster at the Iowa State Fair yesterday. It will be making its way up in my cubicle today. It should match the cube decor next to a row of empty pop cans, artwork by my 1 year old son, and a couple of family photos. I'm sure my co-workers will be jealous. (Actually, about 95% of my co-workers will either have the Iowa or Iowa State schedule up by the end of the state fair.)

Kids at Kinnick - Videos and Links


Let's start off with a video sent to me by the only reader who ever emails me, keo. In his words the video is "very short & very crappy quality" but if you watch very carefully you can see Ryan Donahue punt the ball from the end zone to around the opposite 40 yard line (that's 60 yards if you're counting). Long punts are nothing new to Donahue who booted an 82-yarder against Michigan State in 2007 (second longest in school history) and averages just over 41 yards during his career as a Hawkeye. Donahue is currently on the Ray Guy watch list, an award that goes to the best collegiate punter.

Other Videos:
Gazette sports writer and On Iowa blogger Marc Morehouse (yeah, I'm sure he doesn't need any introduction) posted a quick video interview with Ricky Stanzi.

Another Gazette guy, Scott Dochterman, posted 3 videos on his blog. The most exciting is probably the run off a bootleg by Stanzi. He looks pretty fast and gained a good chunk of yards. Given that the bootleg off of play-action is run by Iowa about 400 times a game (okay maybe more like 10), it's good to see Stanzi run off of it effectively.

Camp Central on hawkeyesports.com has multiple videos including one with some highlights from the scrimmage that ended practice.

Links on the Open Practice:
Hawkeyes' Scrimmage Breaks Monotony
This is a good writeup of yesterday's practice by thehawkeye.com. The basic message: Iowa looked pretty good, but still has some work to do.

"Tweaks" keep Hampton, Bulaga out of scrimmage
From HawkMania.com, Don Doxie gives his take on the open practice focusing on those who didn't play yesterday.

Lots of Practice Pictures
LifeInIA.com posted a bunch of pictures from yesterday's practice. It's worth checking out.

Iowa's Open Practice - Regurgitation

Okay, I'm not at "Kids at Kinnick", so I'm just going to regurgitate some things I read on Twitter and the message boards. Biggest credit goes to @marcmorehouse for keeping me up to date (credit is also due to @HawkeyeNation). Check Marc's blog On Iowa later for more a probably more accurate and thorough update.

Not Dressed:
  • Jewel Hampton (knee)
  • Bryan Bulaga (knee)
  • Colin Sandeman
  • Chris Rowell
  • Conor Boffeli
  • Brandon Wegher
Position News:
  • Christian Ballard - Defensive tackle (that means Binns is in at DE)
  • Josh Brown - Running back
  • Matt Murphy - Tight end
  • Keenan Davis, Jordan Cotton, Amari Spievey, Paul Chaney Jr., Josh Brown - Punt returners
  • Shane DiBona - Defense (linebacker probably)
  • Cody Hundertmark - Defensive end
Depth Chart:
  • Keenan Davis - 1st team
  • Shaun Prater - 1st team
  • Micah Hyde/William Lowe - 2nd team
  • Jeremiha Hunter- 1st team
  • Jeff Tarpinian - 2nd team
  • Rafael Eubanks - 1st team
  • Josh Koeppel - 2nd team
Other Notes:
  • Daniel Murray 12/13 on field goals including 4/4 from 50 yards out.
  • Trent Mossbrucker 11/13 on field goals.
  • Mike Daniels and Karl Klug look good at DT.
  • Ricky Stanzi looks good and much bigger. He also connected with Marvin McNutt for a 50 yard touchdown.
That's all for now. If you were at the open practice today, please share your thoughts on how the team looked. I'm still open to having someone write a guest post on the subject, so if you're interested email me at fight4iowa@gmail.com.

Google Gadget - Iowa Hawkeyes Football Starters


I have another gadget ready for your iGoogle page: the Iowa Hawkeyes Football Starters. It's basically the same as the starters gadget on the side of this page, but in iGoogle form. You just mouse over the positions on the field and the player's information will appear on the top. (Note: These are just my guesses as to who will start against UNI. I will update it when a more official depth chart is released.)

Here's the link to add the gadget: Iowa Hawkeyes Football Starters Gadget

In addition, there are a couple other Fight For Iowa gadgets you should check out-

Roster: Iowa Hawkeyes Football Roster Gadget
Schedule: Iowa Hawkeyes Football Schedule Gadget
KOK Bot: KOK Bot - Iowa Play Calling Gadget
Big Ten Schedule: Big Ten Football Schedule Gadget
Fight For Iowa: Fight For Iowa RSS Feed Gadget

Kids at Kinnick is tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first chance for the general public to see the 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes in action. It's also the first chance to see the new FieldTurf up close and personal. "Kids at Kinnick" is an open practice that really focuses on the younger fans. However, "big kids" are welcome too.

All eyes will be on the cornerbacks as fans look to see who will replace Bernstine while Prater is suspended the first 2 games. Fans will also get a chance to evaluate the incoming freshman. I assume Wegher and Davis will get plenty of attention.

I won't be in attendance on Saturday, so I'm looking for any updates on how the team is looking. If you are going and want to do a write up on the practice, please contact me at fight4iowa@gmail.com. I'd like to have someone write a guest post so I can throw it up on this site.

2008 Hawkeyes vs. 2009 Hawkeyes - Defense

I compared the 2008 team against the 2009 team on offense a few days ago and promised that I'd do the same for the defense. It hardly seems worth doing this for the defense since it returns 8 starters and I anticipate each returnee will be better than last year. So, to speed it up a bit, instead of doing the comparison position by position, I'm just going to do it at a unit level. I'll also throw in special teams for the heck of it.


Defensive Ends - '08 Clayborn & Ballard vs '09 Clayborn & Ballard
There's absolutely no reason to believe these guys won't be better this year. And, with the emergence of the "unblockable" Broderick Binns, the defensive ends in 2009 look to be one of the best units on the team. Point for 2009.

Defensive Tackles - '08 King & Kroul vs '09 Klug & Daniels
This is probably the most obvious pick on the defense. King and Kroul were one of the best tackle tandems in Iowa history. If Klug and Daniels can be half as disruptive their predecessors, I'd call that a success. Clearly 2008 gets this one.

Linebackers: - '08 Edds, Angerer, & Hunter vs '09 Edds, Angerer, & Hunter
This group of young men should continue to improve and as seniors Edds and Angerer will be leaders of the defense. Hunter has faced healthy competition by Jeff Tarpinian that should only make both players better. Another win for 2009.

Cornerbacks: - '08 Spievey & Fletcher vs '09 Spievey vs Prater/Lowe/Castillo
Spievey emerged last year as a locked down corner, and Fletcher was good enough to get drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Spievey is expected to be better in '09, but the other corner position is completely up in the air right now. Project starter Jordan Bertine suffered a broken ankle in practice yesterday and will be out for the season. Shaun Prater is suspended the first two games for drinking and driving. And, that leave 2 guys, William Lowe and Greg Castillo that have very little experience. With the uncertainty at the second corner position for the upcoming season, this will be a point for 2008.

Safeties - '08 Sash & Greenwood vs '09 Sash & Greenwood
A year older and wiser, I expect Sash and Greenwood to build of their success from last year and have an excellent 2009 season. Safeties go to 2009.

Final Defense Standings: 2008 - 2, 2009 - 3

Special Teams:

Place Kicker - '08 Murray/Mossbrucker vs '09 Murray/Mossbrucker
I'm hoping one of these guys really steps up, wins the job, and stays consistent all year long. I haven't heard much of their progress over the summer so I'll call it a tie between 2008 and 2009.

Punter - '08 Donahue vs '09 Donahue
Donahue has noticeably improved during his time at Iowa. I expect that trend to continue and think he'll have a better year this year than last. Point to 2009.

Kick Returners '08 Brodell/Hampton/O'Meara/... '09 Sandeman/Hampton/Wegher?
The return game was solid in 2008, but other than Brodell's punt return for a TD against ISU, it was not spectacular. In fact, it looked kind of bad at sometimes with fumbles and short returns. I think this year has the potential to be much better last. The coaches have mentioned that incoming freshman Brandon Wegher will have a shot at returning kicks and he has been seen fielding punt in practice. From all reports, this kid is explosive. 2009 gets the point again

Final Special Teams Standings: 2008 - 0, 2009 - 2, Push - 1

Iowa's Receivers - Questions

I asked questions of Iowa's offensive line a few days ago and today's focus is on the receivers. Iowa has a very young receiving corps this year made up largely of juniors and freshman. Only one starter from 2008 returns (DJK), but guys like Trey Stross, Colin Sandeman, and Paul Chaney Jr. bring some experience to the table. Converted QB Marvin McNutt will also be in the mix as well as incoming freshmen Keenan Davis and Jordan Cotton. That said, the group is on the whole unproven and many questions are yet to be answered.

What's up with DJK?
I'm sure most of you, like me, are just as tired of hearing about DJK "demotion" as DJK himself. However, we still do not have any real answers and the question was met with equivocal responses at media day. Here's what we know:
  1. DJK was the leading receiver on the team the past 2 years, is the most experience receiver on the roster, and is on track to break numerous Iowa receiving records.
  2. DJK insists he is working hard and that he hasn't had a conversation with coaches about his work ethic.
  3. Kirk Ferentz said that DJK has "played a lot and played well," and has played the we're evaluating every one every practice card.
  4. DJK is listed co-second string on the depth chart coming into fall practice behind McNutt who has 1 career catch (not to knock McNutt because I think he'll be good).
So, it does seem pretty strange that DJK is not the listed starter. The most popular answer to the question, and the one I agree with, is that this is a motivational technique…just a little reminder to let him know he needs to step up his game a bit. It sounds like the message has been received and I'm guessing he'll be the starter come September 5th. And, hopefully this will be the last we hear of it.

Will Stross, Sandeman, or Chaney step up?
All three have been the program for a while now, but none have made a substantial impact. Stross has been injured intermittently, Sandeman has played some without many balls thrown his way, and Chaney started off strong his freshman year then faded away.

Trey Stross - Stross is the most likely of the bunch to step up his game this year. He is finally healthy for his senior season and is listed as the first team wide receiver. He's been in the position before. After spring ball in both 2007 and 2008 Stross found himself at the top of the depth chart only to miss large chunks of those seasons due to injury. When we was healthy, thought, he certainly played well on the field. He had 6 catches against Indiana in 2006, had 91 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern in 2007, and score the first touchdown on 2009 (not just for Iowa, but the first touchdown in the nation).

Colin Sandeman - Sandeman has been rather quite thus far in his Hawkeye career. He only has 10 career catches, but did have a 2 touchdown game versus Florida International last year. He's also been okay as a punt returner. Currently he's listed tied with DJK as second team split end. I haven't really heard too much on his progress and it sounds like he may have tweaked something in practice over the weekend (not too sure about this though), so I'm assuming he'll stay second team.

Paul Chaney Jr. - Chaney is one of the fastest guys on the team. He runs track for Iowa at some of the shorter distances (100m, 200m, etc...). His freshman year he came in a showed that his speed was an asset to the team. He catch 19 catches and returned some kickoffs and punts. However, in 2008 something happened (nobody really knows) and he fell into disliking with the coaches. He ended up barely seeing the field, not even traveling to all the away games, and only hauled in 2 passes for a measly 19 yards. However, recently Kirk Ferentz has been talking about Chaney more and more. In the spring he mentioned that Chaney "has been getting better" and at media day Ferentz said, "I was really encouraged to see Paul Chaney’s improvement in track, the success he had there this year. He’s always been a good track athlete but he stepped it up a level there. I think we saw a little of that on the football field." So, I for one am encouraged about the possiblity of Chaney playing well this year. We’ve already seen he can run by defenders, now it's time to just adjust to the ball in flight and catch it. I don't see him moving up the depth chart, but I think he'll have an impact this year.

Will any true freshmen see playing time?
The answer is definitely "yes" so that's probably not the right question. Keenan Davis will definitely play this year. Maybe it's a better to ask how many freshmen will see playing time. My thought, is that it will only be Davis. Jordan Cotton looked pretty good to me in the Shrine Bowl, but I don't think he'll be ready this year. I don't know a whole lot about Josh Brown or JoJo Pregont (he's sharing a number with Sash) and haven't heard the coaches mention them recently, so I don't think they have much of a shot for playing time either.

Davis on the other hand, has been getting rave reviews. Early this year I had heard he was a little undersized, but it sounds like Coach Doyle got a hold of him in summer conditioning (he's now somewhere between 200 and 205). In just a couple days of practice players and coaches are taking notice. Jon Miller reported on KXNO yesterday that Davis is making a real impression and may be the best receiver on the team. I also heard he was already second string wide receiver, so he's moving up quickly. I can't imagine that he has memorized all the plays and has picked up all the blocking already, but it sounds like he will be good.

Just how good is Marvin McNutt?
It is incredible to me that a player can transfer from quarterback to wide receiver and move all the way to the top of the depth chart in a matter of months. Yes, it has something to do with the DJK issue as discussed above, but still it's impressive what McNutt has accomplished. Just looking at pictures from practices, he look very athletic and tall. While I don't think he'll ultimately be a starter, look for him to contribute often.

Jordan Bernstine Injured?

1 comment
Rumors have been flying around the internet that Jordan Bernstine has sustained an ankle injury. The word is a broken ankle (like a real one, not just from a ridiculous juke move...sorry bad joke) and likely he's out for the season. Berstine was projected to start as the cornerback opposite Amari Spievey. No official word has come out yet, other than a DJK FaceBook update stating, "hurt'n for my boy jb, he worked too hard!"

First thought: I hope he's alright and that he has a speedy recovery. This could turn into another Jewel Hampton situation and he may be back before we know it. If not, then he still has a red-shirt to burn and we'll see him back for the next 2 years.

Second thought: Oh Crap! Who'll play while Prater suspended? The popular answer right now is William Lowe. Lowe saw some action last year as a true freshman and accumulated 2 tackles. He will certainly have to step up big this year as he's probably the guy against UNI and ISU. While I'm still confident in our defense and think the secondary will be good without Bernstine, just one missed coverage can really change a game. That's enough to add a little more worrying for the ISU game.

Third and final thought: The depth in the secondary looks pretty slim right now, especially for the first two games. While there are 16 DBs on the roster, once you take out Bernsine and Prater, there are 3 guys that have seen a good amount of playing time (the starters: Spievey, Sash, and Greenwood) and 4 guys who has seen very minimal time (Lowe, Conklin, Cato, and Rowell). I think this may slightly limit the ability to play nickle and dime looks, at least the first couple of games, not that Norm throws out too many 6 DB sets in the first place. Even with Prater back that's only 8 guys with experience. I expect the 3-4 to be a more popular look than a nickle or dime against obvious passing downs simply because of the difference in depth at linebacker versus defensive back.

Anyway, like I saidearly , I think the secondary will be good with or without Bernstine (or Prater) and like the Iowa coaches say, "next man in."

Links For Bulaga

Throughout the off-season, Bryan Bulaga has been receiving attention as one of the best offensive tackles in the country. In the past few days the Bulagattention has been raised up a notch.

Outland Trophy Watch List
Yesterday, the 40-player Outland Trophy Watch List was announced. The Outland Trophy is annually awards to the nations best "interior" lineman. (I guess offensive tackles are considered interior here.) Iowa's Bryan Bulaga was one of 8 offensive tackles to make the cut and one of 4 players from the Big Ten.

CFN - Preseason All-Americans Offensive Tackle
College Football News went through and ranked the top 25 players at each position including its picks to be All-Americans. At offensive tackle, CFN listed Bulaga as the 4th best and 2nd Team All-American. Iowa's other OT Kyle Calloway was also at the list at #14. (Side note: no other Hawkeye made the list as a top 25 player at their respective position...kind of surprising with Spievey, Angerer, Donahue, etc.) Bulaga also landed on CFN's list of the overall top 200 players coming in at #80.

Bulaga says consistency will bring success
Another Camp Central story from hawkeyesports.com and there is an accompanying video. Bulaga talks a little about the honor of the preseason personal attention he's received and some of the goals for the year. He's pretty well spoken and it's worth the watch/read.

Hlog - Bulaga Polished, Powerful, and Proud
Here's a story from the Hlog back from media day. (Quick note...you should follow Hlas on Twitter and tell him FightForIowa sent you!) Anyway, Bulaga talks about Robert Gallery, the NFL, and his new tat.

Commit #11 for 2010 - Kedrick Rhodes

So I was wamboozled...Kedrick Rhodes has NOT committed to Iowa yet. From the sounds of things, Rhodes has pretty much made up his mind and he told some local press that he was going to commit to Iowa. But, he had not officially committed yet.

I left up my original story in case you want to check out some info on Rhodes in hope that he still will commit in the future.

After a very slow month on the recruiting trail, the Iowa Hawkeyes picked up its eleventh member of the class of 2010. Kedrick Rhodes gave his verbal commitment($) to Iowa becoming just the fourth offensive commit, first running back, and first from south of the Mason-Dixon line. The Ocala, Florida native is rated 1 star by Scout and 3 stars by Rivals.

High School:
Kedrick Rhodes attends Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida. Rhodes led the Celtics to an exceptional 12-2 record in 2008 taking the team all the way to the FHSAA Class 2B Championship game well the team ultimately fell to the Pahokee Blue Devils. In the championship game Rhodes rushed for 83 yards on 16 carries, had 2 catches for an additional 18 yards, and returned two kickoffs for 54 yards. In the path to the championship game, Rhodes rushed for 578 yards in 4 playoff games breaking a 29 year old record for most post-season rushing yards in Marion County Florida. On the season, he ran for 1,659 yards and 17 touchdowns. His accomplishments earned him a spot on the Class 2B All-State Second Team. He has been called by his coach as the team's "secret weapon" and has been praised for both his running and blocking ability.


Sorry, no sound.

Rhodes looks pretty good in his junior highlight video. He is obviously very quick and pretty shifty. He makes his cuts quickly and is very effective at evading defenders (seriously he was juking kids out of their shoes in that video), then has the speed to out run them to the end zone. He probably does a little more dancing around than necessary and Iowa's zone-blocking scheme is really looking for a 1-cut back, but I think he could certainly fit that mold with some coaching. I also liked the fact that the video showed his ability to pick up blocks (something the Hawkeye coaches probably liked too).

Quick Glance:
RB Kedrick Rhodes - Ocala, Florida
Other SchoolsFIU, Kansas State, Northwestern
Size5'10", 175 lbs
40 Time4.53 sec

Links For Iowa - August 10, 2009

First of all, if you are not checking out Camp Central everyday on hawekeyesports.com, you should. They post practice pictures everyday, have stories highlighting different players, and even post some videos. Apparently audio and podcasts are coming soon as well. Anyway, today's article is an excellent look at defensive end Broderick Binns.

Hlas Twitter recruiting challenge
Mike Hlas of the CR Gazette has put of a challenge to see who can recruit the most followers for him. I'm not sure how he plans on tracking the source of his new recruits, but be sure to tell him FightForIowa sent you.

Cotton and Wegher field punts
Speaking of Twitter, today's football practice was open to the media to take pictures during the first 15 minutes. The 15 minutes was just enough time for HawkeyeNation to fire off this tweet:
Both Cotton and Wegher working on fielding punts.
Kirk Ferentz has mentioned numerous times that the return game is something he wants to be better this year and the return game is one area where it looks like incoming freshman could really have an impact. In 2008 Andy Brodell did an excellent job fielding punts, but he's since graduated...and kick off returns were not spectacular. There has already been a lot of talk about the possibility of Wegher returning kickoffs and I'm sure the idea of Wegher taking punts as well has some fans salivating.

Miller and Deace on Iowa Media Day
Take a listen to the "Iowa Media Day Discussion" podcast. It starts off kind of slow with a lot of stuff we've all heard before. And then they start talking about calves on o-linemen. But it finally get betters about 14:30 in when Jon starts talking about incoming freshman Davis, Wegher, and Cotton. Apparently Davis is the legit and possibly the best receiver on the team already. Wegher is also expected to factor in, especially on the return game (as mentioned above). Anyway, give it a listen.
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