Secondary shakeupSpring practice is always a time when the depth chart is malleable. The coaches are throwing in different bodies and seeing what sticks. The big shakeup right now is happening in the defensive backfield with Micah Hyde. Hyde was one of the starting corners last year, but is now being tried at free safety. Ferentz mentioned this as a possibility when he addressed the media to start spring practice.
The move makes sense. Both safety spots were wide open at the start of spring with Tyler Sash leaving early for the NFL and Brett Greenwood who graduated. Hyde is built a little bit more like a safety than at corner and is likely the position he will be looked at if he makes it to the NFL. His move also frees up a corner spot, where there is a little bit more depth at than safety. The man stepping up to take that spot right now is B.J. Lowery who played some last year as a true freshman. Greg Castillo may also be in the mix.
At strong safety, the front runner right now looks like it is Jordan Bernstine. Like Hyde, Bernstine is a converted corner. His career has been a little bit rough, stuck behind some really good players (like Amari Spievey) and then dealing with injury. But this is his senior year and based on his performance in the bowl game, is playing his best ball. The other likely competitor is Tanner Miller who is out for spring after having shoulder surgery.
So right now, I'd put the depth chart like this:
CB | B.J. Lowery, Willie Lowe
SS | Jordan Bernstine, Tanner Miller
FS | Micah Hyde, Jack Swanson
CB | Shaun Prater, Greg Castillo
Practice Pictures!It's hard to read too much into the photos, but...
March 26 - Practice #3
- Pic 13 - Kyle Steinbrecher (#12) looks like the safety alongside Shaun Prater. Assuming Prater is still with the ones, maybe Steibrecher is pushing for a spot his senior year. (He is a walk-on safety, Iowa's favorite, right?)
- Pic 16 - The first team defensive line here is: Lebron Daniel, Mike Daniels, Louis Trinca-Pasat, and Broderick Binns. Trinca-Pasat is the surprise. He was not listed at all on the depth chart and is just a red-shirt freshman. He has been on campus a whole year, however, after graduating high school early to attend Iowa last spring.
- Pic 18 - I assume this is the second team offensive line: Brett Van Sloten, Andrew Donnal?? (I can't tell the one who's blocking), Conor Boffeli, Drew Clark, and Matt Tobin.
- Pic 21 - Yeah, our punter is bigger than your linebackers.
March 27 - Practice #4
- Pic 7 - Darell Wilson looks like he's going to kill someone.
- Pic 24 - B.J. Lowery and Micah Hyde on the field at the same time. Yes, Hyde is playing free safety.
- Pic 29 - Ryan Donahue was such a good punter you kind of forget he was a pretty good holder too. Looks like Wienke has taken over those duties.
- Pic 35 - Our (3rd string) quarterback is bigger than your linebackers too.
More pictures and video to check out: