More 3-4?I will play a base 4-3 this year, just like every other year under Ferentz and Parker. However, we may start seeing a little more 3-4 thrown in there largely to combat the ever expanding presence of ultra-quick slot receivers that scurry around the field in so many spread offenses.
Iowa has long used linebackers to cover receivers and it has, for the most part, worked. However, there have been plenty of occasions where it didn't work and those occasions were becoming more common last year. Iowa's linebackers really struggled in coverage against the more experienced quarterbacks running a spread offense. And never was it as apparent as against Missouri in the first half of the Insight Bowl.
Against the pass, expect Iowa to work in some 3-4 on passing downs, especially if that passer is Gabbert’s caliber. Iowa will continue to rush four or more (but mostly four) probably 90 percent of the time, so we’re not talking wholesale philosophy change, just a tweak that would put more speed on the field.
I think the "more speed on the field" is really the key part of this statement though. Instead of shifting defensive formations, Iowa will get more speed on the field with personnel changes. Look at the WLB on the depth chart. The two listed co-starters are Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens. Both guys are only around 215 lbs and built more like safeties than linebackers. Hitchens was actually brought in as a defensive back and played some nickel back last year. Compare that to last year where Iowa had Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson as the primary WLB both at 235.
To me this says that Iowa may be looking at this position as more of a hybrid linebacker/safety who is able to stop the run on first down but is able to mutate into more of a nickel back on third down. This would allow the Hawkeyes to show different defensively, but stay in their base 4-3 package.
Stanzi is dropping some free advice"If it caused you to change your mind from Iowa to someplace else . . .it could ruin your life." - Ricky Stanzi.
That's right, picking a college other than Iowa could ruin your life. Stanzi was referring to the likely negative recruiting that will occur with coaches using the Rhabdo outbreak as fuel to convince kids not to go to Iowa. Stanzi tells future Iowa recruits to ignore the negative sales pitches.
Stanzi dropped another free nugget: Throw the ball to McNutt. I don't think there was any doubt that McNutt would be Vandenberg's primary target this fall, but a reminder never hurts. McNutt was the team leader at receiver last year. Behind him, the next 4 leaders in receptions and receiving yards--DJK, Reisner, Robinson, and Sandeman--plus Paul Chaney and Don Nordmann were all seniors and are now gone. The only receiver on Iowa's roster with a collegiate reception is Keenan Davis, who had just 11 catches for 131 yard in 2010. So yeah, throw it to McNutt.
Also in the world of Stanzi, there has been quite a bit of talk on where he'll likely end up in the upcoming NFL draft. After Iowa's first Pro Day, Stanzi has worked out with the New England Patriots and is now receiving a lot of interest from San Fransisco who will be sending a rep to Iowa's second Pro Day (on April 4). There have been lots of references to Stanzi being the next Tom Brady, and he has actually worked with one of Brady's mentors, Tom Martinez. Plus there's the whole patriotic thing that would work out well in New England.
Brad Banks gets his first win as a BarnstormerMoving from one former quarterback to another: Banks started in his first home game as an Iowa Barnstormer and led the team to a thrilling 43-32 victory. Banks was back to his old Hawkeyes ways throwing for 5 TDs and rushing for 2 more. Hlas has a story about how Banks ended up in Iowa and in the AFL that includes a video of a post-game interview with Banks. And finally, Grant from theHawkGuys.com shares his experience at the Barnstormers game.
- In case you haven't seen it...this kid is 12 years, from Clinton, a Hawkeye fan, and a trick shot quarterback.
- The head coach of DeMatha High School (the school attended by Marcus Coker, Darian Cooper, and Jordan Lomax) has resigned. Hopefully that doesn't dry up the pipeline of recruits. (H/T @RossWB)
- Jeff Tarpinian didn't get an invite to the NFL Combine, but did shine at Iowa's Pro Day. HawkeyeDrive has a breakdown of how his performance compares to other linebackers.
- PlannedSickDays gives us the rundown of who the fullback could be in Brad Rogers can't play.