Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Starter: Ricky Stanzi
Junior starter Ricky Stanzi is back after a successful 2008 campaign. The incumbent starter threw for 1956 yards and 14 touchdowns, good enough for a 134.8 QB rating. After replacing starter Jake Christensen early in the season, Stanzi provided an accurate arm (59.1% completion percentage), mobility in the pocket, and a reliable deep arm that stretched the field; three qualities that had been previously lacking under Christensen. He led the Hawks to key wins over Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and South Carolina in the Outback bowl.
This season, Stanzi needs to learn to limit his turnovers. He threw 9 interceptions and fumbled numerous center exchanges. If Stanzi can cut down on the turnovers, he’s likely an All-Big 10 performer.
Backups: James Vandenberg, John Wienke
Vandenberg, a redshirt freshman from Keokuk, is the most prolific passer in Iowa high school history. Vandenberg holds 12 different Iowa high school passing records, including career passing yards (7,709), touchdown passes (93), single season passing yards (3,729 as a senior) and single season touchdown passes (49 as a senior). He ranks sixth all-time nationally in single-season completion percentage (70%) and 10th nationally in career completion percentage (64.6%).
Wienke, a redshirt freshman out of Michigan, is the other back-up. He owns conference record for single season touchdown passes (34 as a junior and senior) and finished his career with 6,070 passing yards and 68 touchdowns. The southpaw threw just nine interceptions in 620 attempts. He also had 102 rushes for 441 yards and four touchdowns.
The common theme in all the statistics is they were accomplished in high school. With the transfer of Christensen and Marvin McNutt’s move to wide receiver, Stanzi’s backup is lacking any experience at all. This could be trouble if Stanzi were to get injured
Big 10 Rankings: 4/11
1. Daryll Clark – Penn State – 192/321, 59.8%, 2,592 yards, 143.4 Rating, 19 TD, 6 INT
2. Terrelle Pryor – Ohio State - 100/165, 60.6%, 1,311 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT
3. Juice Williams - Illinois – 219/381, 57.5%, 3,173 yards, 138.1 Rating, 22 TD, 16 INT
4. Ricky Stanzi – Iowa – 150/254, 59.1%, 1,956 yards, 134.8 Rating, 14 TD, 9 INT
5. Adam Weber – Minnesota – 255/410, 62.2%, 2,761 yards, 126.9 Rating, 15 TD, 8 INT
6. Mike Kafka – Northwestern – 32/46, 69.6%, 330 yards, 131.1 Rating, 2 TD, 3 INT
7. Tate Forcier – Michigan - none
8. Dustin Scherer – Wisconsin – 104/191, 54.5%, 1,389 yards, 120.7 rating, 6 TD, 5 INT
9. Ben Chappell – Indiana – 80/153, 52.3%, 1,001 yards, 112.0 rating, 4 TD, 3 INT
10. Kirk Cousins – Michigan State – 32/43, 74.4%, 310 yards, 145.7 rating, 2 TD, 1 INT
11. Joey Elliott – Purdue – 8/15, 53.3%, 81 yards, 98.7 rating
This year, it’s Stanzi’s team. Gone are the spring position battle, the back-up role, and the switching of starters. However, also gone are the best Iowa offensive line since 2002 and the best running back in the nation, Shonn Greene. Stanzi’s receivers are talented, his running backs capable, and his offensive line should be dominant once again. This team will go as far as Ricky Stanzi can lead them.
Starter: Brett Morse
Statistics are few and far between for fullbacks, so Morse’s ability is hard to quantify. He’s a solid blocker and displays good hands as a receiver in those rare opportunities. Morse’s major downfall is that he was often injured last year. Morse is a good fullback and should clear the way for whoever is running the ball for the Hawkeyes.
Backups: Wade Leppert
Due to Morse’s often injured status, Leppert got plenty of experience last season. A decent replacement, Leppert possesses many of the same characteristics of Morse; the two are almost interchangeable skill-wise. Positions like fullback are often only noticed for the wrong reasons. Leppert’s time came during a crucial 4th down play at Michigan State where it appeared he went the wrong way.
Newcomers: Shane DiBona
DiBona massed 2,958 yards on 426 carries with 32 rushing touchdowns as a prep. He also had 29 catches for 415 yards and four touchdowns.
Starter: Jewel Hampton
There’s an 1850-yard, 20 touchdown, gaping hole in the Hawkeye backfield. Greene was drafted with the first pick in the third round by the New York Jets. His back up last season, Jewel Hampton, now steps into the starting role. Hampton rushed for 463 yards on 91 carries, good enough for a 5.1 yard per rush average. He also punched in 7 touchdowns. Impressive for a back up, but even more impressive considering Greene was a short-yardage, bruiser style back. Hampton’s long of 22 isn’t great, but he’s shown tremendous quickness and good top-end speed. Hawkeye fans haven’t seen him in a starting role yet, so his durability remains a question. Hopefully he learned a little bit from his predecessor and starts to make his own mark this season.
Backups: Jeff Brinson, Paki O’Meara
The coaches have been buzzing about Brinson since he arrived last season. It’s possible he may have reversed roles with Hampton last season if not for an injury during fall camp. Coach Ferentz has said he considered pulling the redshirt of Brinson last season. Apparently this kid has some talent. He finally gets to display it this season.
Paki O’Meara is not your typical walk-on running back. Sam Brownlee he is not. The Cedar Rapids native rushed for 2 touchdowns on 3 yards per carry. Used most effectively as a special teams player, Paki could be a talented replacement if Hampton and Brinson were to go down for any reason.
Newcomers: Brad Rogers, Brandon Wegher
Rogers is a compact, bruiser style running back from Ohio. He could possibly play fullback, but has stated his intent is to play running back. Rogers rushed for 1,226 yards on 246 attempts with 18 touchdowns as a senior.
Brandon Wegher rewrote the Iowa high school record books. Rushed for 6,825 yards on 792 carries with 105 touchdowns, including 3,238 yards on 362 carries with 54 touchdowns as a senior. Added 50 catches for 837 yards and four touchdowns... also had 87 tackles, nine interceptions, 18 passes defended and three sacks. The Sioux City native is the most highly sought after recruit since Jordan Bernstine. He’ll likely start this season returning kick-offs, but look for him to eventually have an impact in the running game as well.
Big 10 Rank: 6/11
1. Evan Royster – Penn State – 191 rushes, 1,236 yards, 6.5 avg, 12 TD
2. John Clay – Wisconsin – 155 rushes, 884 yards, 5.7 avg, 9 TD
3. Daniel Dufrene – Illinois – 117 rushes, 663 yards, 5.7 avg, 0 TD
4. Brandon Minor – Michigan – 103 rushes, 533 yards, 5.2 avg, 9 TD
5. Dan Herron – Ohio State – 89 rushes, 439 yards, 4.9 avg, 6 TD
6. Jewel Hampton – Iowa – 91 rushes, 463 yards, 5.1 avg, 7 TD
7. DeLeon Eskridge – Minnesota – 184 rushes, 678 yards, 3.7 avg, 7 TD
8. Ralph Bolden/Jaycen Taylor (torn ACL) – Purdue – 170 rushes, 560 yards, 5.2 avg, 4 TD
9. Bryan Payton – Indiana – 79 rushes, 339 yards, 4.3 avg, 2 TD
10. Stephen Simmons – Northwestern – 62 rushes, 178 yards, 2.9 avg, 2 TD
11. Andre Anderson – Michigan State – 26 rushes, 97 yards, 3.7 avg, 0 TD
Starters: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Trey Stross, Colin Sandeman
Iowa had two receivers with 100 yard games last season: Andy Brodell had one, DJK has the other. The leading returning receiver, DJK caught 44 balls for 639 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. He really improved over the course of last season and should be Stanzi’s most dangerous weapon. He is a legitimate deep threat, though he possesses a skill set that allows him to also work underneath routes. DJK absolutely abused Minnesota. Here’s to hoping that abuse of the Big 10 continues. Prediction: 2nd Team All-Big 10 performer.
Trey Stross is as talented a receiver as the Hawks have, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Big play Trey is the Hawk’s best deep threat. He’s athletic (high jumps for the track team), tall (6’3), and most importantly, a natural receiver. It seems he’s put his temper issues behind him (head butting against Northwestern in 2007, arguing and pushing a coach the same season) and could be headed toward big things. If he can stay healthy, and that’s a big IF, many skeptical Hawks will be pleasantly surprised.
Colin Sandeman is the unknown of the group. Last season he caught only 6 passes for 76 yards. However, 2 of those 6 passes were touchdowns. He’s lightning quick and extremely agile. Sandeman will probably replace Andy Brodell as the primary punt returner. If Sandeman can emerge has a reliable target, this group is as talented, though very inexperienced, as any wide receiving core since 2002 (C.J. Jones, Mo Brown, Ed Hinkel).
Backups: Paul Chaney, Marvin McNutt
This group of back-ups is not particularly strong or experienced. Paul Chaney might be the fastest player on the team, but he’s been in the coaches’ proverbial dog house for awhile now. He’s not big and doesn’t go get the ball well, that being said, he’s probably the 4th receiver right now.
Marvin McNutt is an interesting prospect. He moved to receiver in the middle of last season and has been practicing there ever since. At 6’4 and 210 pounds, McNutt could potentially fill a void as a red-zone receiver. He was a highly touted basketball recruit, so chances are he has a good vertical. Perhaps will see an end zone, fade route for the first time in Iowa history with McNutt.
Newcomers: Jordan Cotton, Keenan Davis, Stephane N’goumou, Josh Brown
Of the three, Keenan Davis is the most likely to play right away. Davis is often compared to former Michigan player and Cedar Rapids native, Adrian Arrington. Wide receiver coach Erik “Soup” Campbell tutored Arrington at Michigan and will be mentoring Davis. He’s long, rangy, and athletic. Look for Davis to contribute right away. He totaled 169 receptions for 2,602 yards and 26 touchdowns his senior season of high school.
Jordan Cotton, Josh Brown, Stephane N’goumou could possibly contribute as there is little experience throughout the receiving corp. Cotton is moving from a stellar high school career at Mount Pleasant as a running back and the transition will take some time. Brown is listed as an athlete, so there’s a possibility he could play multiple positions. N’goumou has good size (6’4, 195), but other than that, is relatively unknown.
Big 10 Rankings: 4/12
1. Erik Decker – Minnesota – 84 receptions, 1,074 yards, 89.5 ypg, 7 TD
2. Arrelious Benn – Illinois – 67 receptions, 1,055 yards, 87.9 ypg, 3 TD
3. Mark Dell – Michigan State – 36 receptions, 679 yards, 67.9 ypg, 3 TD
4. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos – Iowa – 44 receptions, 639 yards, 49.2 ypg, 3 TD
5. David Gilreath – Wisconsin – 31 receptions, 520 yards, 40 ypg, 3 TD
6. Keith Smith – Purdue – 49 receptions, 486 yards, 2 TD
7. Martavious Odoms – Michigan – 49 receptions, 443 yards, 0 TD
8. Dan Sanzenbacher – Ohio State – 21 receptions, 272 yards, 1 TD
9. Terrance Turner – Indiana – 29 receptions, 289 yards, 0 TD
10. Graham Zug – Penn State – 11 receptions, 174 yards, 2 TD
11. Andrew Brewer – Northwestern – 18 receptions, 145 yards, 0 TD
Starter: Tony Moeaki, Allen Reisner
Though he’s one of the most talented players on the entire roster, don’t count on Tony Moeaki being a consistent contributor for the Hawkeyes. He’s talented, a great receiver and blocker, but has never played even close to a full season for Iowa. He was pictured in a walking boot earlier this year, so don’t expect anything to change. When he’s healthy, he has All-American potential. The problem is that the snake-bitten tight end never actually is.
Allen Reisner got a lot of experience last season behind First Team All-Big 10 performer Brandon Myers. Reisner actually had the highest yards per reception average of all receivers at 18.2. He caught 11 passes for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. The junior tight end from Marion has displayed good hands (Wisconsin 2008 one-handed grab), but so far is only an average blocking tight end.
Backups: Brad Herman? J.D. Griggs? Kyle Spading? Ross Peterson?
Who? Exactly. There aren’t many recognizable names behind Moeaki and Reisner. Luckily, tight end is a position that can be filled from a variety of other positions (fullback, linebacker, and receiver) and is one that the Hawkeyes have developed well over the years i.e. Tony Jackson, Dallas Clark, Scott Chandler, Brandon Myers, etc.
Newcomers: Anthony Schiavone, Dakota Getz
Schiavone, a 6’6 tight end from New London, Connecticut enrolled early at Iowa in order to practice with the team for spring. Hopefully at his height, he’s a Scott Chandler clone.
In his prep career, Getz totaled five receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. He rushed for 3,195 yards on 429 carries with 40 touchdowns. At quarterback, Getz completed 288-457 passes for 4,011 yards and 40 touchdowns. He played primarily quarterback as an upperclassman. The Hawkeyes have had recent success with moving high school quarterbacks to other positions, i.e. Chad Greenway, Adam Shada, Marvin McNutt, etc.
Big Ten Rank: 5/10
1. Garrett Graham – Wisconsin – 40 receptions, 540 yards, 5 touchdowns
2. Michael Hoomanawanui – Illinois – 25 receptions, 312 yards, 2 touchdowns
3. Charlie Gantt – Michigan State - 19 receptions, 302 yards, 4 touchdowns
4. Nick Tow-Arnett – Minnesota – 10 receptions, 211 yards, 1 touchdown
5. Tony Moeaki – Iowa – 13 receptions, 144 yards, 1 touchdown
6. Andrew Quarless – Penn State – 11 receptions, 117 yards, 1 touchdown
7. Kyle Adams – Purdue – 8 receptions, 109 yards, 2 touchdowns
8. Jake Ballard – Ohio State – 5 catches, 73 yards, 0 touchdowns
9. Josh Rooks – Northwestern – 7 receptions, 46 yards, 2 touchdowns
10. Max Dedmond – Indiana – 6 receptions, 51 yards, 0 touchdowns
11. Martell Webb – Michigan - none
Starter: Bryan Bulaga
In my opinion, the most talented player on the roster, Bulaga spent last season paving defensive ends into the ground. A Second Team All Big-Ten selection, Bulaga has been projected to go in the top 10 of next years draft by the Walter Camp Football website. Only a junior, he’s the most dominant offensive lineman since Robert Gallery, even potentially more dominant. Iowa fans will be thanking their chosen deity if he comes back to school after this season.
Backups: Riley Reiff
Riley Reiff could do a variety of things this fall. Perhaps backup Bulaga, perhaps move into a starting spot at guard, perhaps watch the Hawks play from the sidelines. After making the move from defensive end, it seems Reiff has found a spot on the offensive line. In high school, he was the South Dakota Gatorade player of the year as a senior. Though his status as starter or backup is uncertain, there’s no arguing that we both thoroughly enjoy Pita Pit. Philly Steak with mushrooms and Swiss cheese melted on please.
Newcomers: Brett Van Sloten
6’7, 270, Van Sloten was a First team elite all-state selection as a senior, second team all-state selection as a junior, three-time all-district pick, including first team honors as a junior and senior. He led team to state championship in 2008.
Starter: Dace Richardson
Undoubtedly the story of the spring. The extremely unlikely return of Dace Richardson could help bolster an offensive line that needs some stability after the departure of seniors Rob Bruggeman and Seth Olsen. Although Dace was a left tackle before the injuries started, Bulaga has that spot on lock down. Not many people come back to football after what Dace went through, so any production, especially starting, is simply amazing.
Backups: Kyle Haganman
6’5, 285, Haganman played in eight games last year. The guard from Osage, IA may be the next walk-on success story for the Hawkeyes. Look for him to make a splash in the next couple years. (Self-promoting, glory day’s side note: Haganman and I played on separate teams at a post-season basketball game held at NIACC. Late in the game, I blocked/climbedonhisbackandfouledhimbutitwasn’tcalled off the backboard. Ultimately, he has the upper hand. He’s playing for the Hawkeyes and I’m writing on my blog about him. The score: Haganman – Infinity, Heyer – 1.)
Newcomers: Conor Bofelli
Bofelli comes from one of the most successful high school programs in the state of Iowa, West Des Moines Valley. His high school team went 43-1 over his four years as a prep. As a tight end, Bofelli totaled 31 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns.
Starter: Julian Vandervelde
The only returning starter on the interior of the offensive line, Julian Vandervelde may have to adapt to a new position. If Dace his healthy and effective at guard, Vandervelde may slide to center. Iowa uses a ‘best five’ approach to the offensive line. Vandervelde is definitely in one of those five, the only question is where.
Backups: James Ferentz, Rafael Eubanks
James Ferentz absolutely destroyed any chance of him starting, and maybe even playing, this year when he was arrested for public intoxication earlier this spring. My guess is we don’t hear from him until next year.
I feel genuinely bad for Rafael Eubanks. He was named first team Freshman All-American by scout.com in 2006. Before 2007, he was named to the pre-season Rimington Trophy Watch List. Last season, Bruggeman took his spot at center and Eubanks spent the year backing-up Bruggs and the other two guards. As a senior, it’s Raf’s last chance to make an impact.
Starter: Andy Kuempel
Right guard is the position that is most up for grabs for the 2009 Hawkeyes. There are 4-7 people legitimately competing for this position. I listed Andy Kuempel as the starter because of his performance in Seth Olsen’s absence last season, especially against Wisconsin. Many of Shonn Greene’s runs were right behind the Linn-Mar native.
Backups: Dan Doering, Adam Gettis
First team all-American by USA Today, Parade Magazine and EA Sports as a senior in high school. Gatorade State Player of the year for Illinois. Like many others from the heralded class of 2005, high school success hasn’t transferred to college. To be fair, Doering has been injury prone thus far into his career. A senior, Doering must have a sense of urgency to grab the position. Otherwise, he’s just another class of 2005 casualty. (Quick note: It could be a year of resurgence for the class of 05. Dace is back, Tony is poised to have the type of year everyone expected him to. If Doering grabs the right guard position, this could be a huge storyline for the season.)
Adam Gettis is relatively unknown to Hawkeye fans, especially those of the casual variety. Remember his name. Offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe said Gettis was one of the guys who really stood out during spring ball.
Newcomers: Matt Murphy
Murphy is a bit undersized and possibly an offensive line project. He was a Quad City Times first team all-Metro selection as a senior and three-time all-conference selection, including first team offensive and defensive line honors as a senior.
Starter: Kyle Calloway
After a dismal sophomore season, the humongous (6’7, 315. Cripes) right tackle turned around his play and garnered 2nd Team All-Big Ten Honors. If he makes even similar strides this offseason, Iowa will have the best set of offensive tackles in the Big 10.
Backups: Markus Zusevics
There’s not much information out there on the Russian import. (Kidding, he’s from Illinois). He was first team all-state and all-area as a senior. I’d be very surprised if he saw any action this season.
Newcomers: Nolan MacMillan
MacMillan is listed at 6’6, 288, which is very, very large for a true freshman. He was named first team all-MAP as a senior and led his team to state championships in 2006 and 2007. He’s also Canadian. I’d bet the NCAA Clearinghouse does an investigation after reading this.
Big 10 Offensive Line Ranks: 1/11
1. Bryan Bulaga – Iowa
2. Stefen Wisniewski – Penn State
3. Zach Reckman – Purdue
4. Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin
5. Al Netter – Northwestern
6. Joel Nitchman – Michigan State
7. Michael Brewster – Ohio State
8. Jon Asamoah– Illinois
9. Matt Stommes – Minnesota
10. Rodger Saffold- Indiana
11. Mark Ortmann– Michigan
Starters: Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard
Adrian Clayborn is one of the more interesting players on this year’s roster. As dominant and talented as anyone on the defense, his stats don’t always reflect this. Clayborn had 50 total tackles, eight of those for loss, and two sacks. Clayborn was recently named to the football team’s leadership committee. This comes only months after he was involved in an altercation with a taxi driver. The fact that he’s was allowed to be named to the committee, and that Kirk Ferentz hasn’t suspended him immediately, tells us that there is probably more to the story than Clayborn simply beating the hell out of a cab operator. Gazette sportswriter Mike Hlas reported in a chat that while speaking at an I-Club event, offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe said there was no one on offense like Adrian Clayborn. In terms of talent level, that’s extraordinarily interesting. Mainly because Clayborn goes head-to-head with Bryan Bulaga. Quite a compliment.
To be completely honest, Christian Ballard was one of the biggest disappointments of 2008. Not that he played poorly, or without effort, but he wasn’t the explosive defensive end I thought he could be. Both his tackles for loss and sacks dropped from his freshman year; a year where he got significantly less playing time. Playing along Kroul, King, and Clayborn, Ballard certainly wasn’t getting double-teamed often. Hopefully it was only a sophomore slump and he’ll rebound this season.
Backups: Broderick Binns, Chad Geary
Broderick Binns’ play is the major reason Ballard seemed to be subpar. As a freshman, Binns collected 20 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass break ups, and one recovered fumble. Binns will probably play the same role as he did last year, 3rd down pass rusher. Look for him to start earning some more minutes, especially if one of the starters slides in to defensive tackle.
Chad Geary tore his ACL earlier in the Spring. Geary is a decent player who has really bulked up since his freshmen year. This is unfortunate due to the lack of depth of the defensive line. He’s one of those back-ups where you know exactly what you’re going to get every game and every down.
Newcomers: Tyler Harrell
Harrell made 90 tackles, including 69 as a senior. He finished with seven tackles for loss, eight pass deflections, three sacks and one interception
Starters: Karl Klug, Mike Daniels
6'4, 255 pounds, Klug is the front runner to start. He played so well in spot duty against Florida International last season that he earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Klug is more slender than King and Kroul, but tough as nails. He also played well in the upset victory against Penn St.; namely when he broke through the line to stuff Evan Royster as the Nittany Lions were driving.
Mike Daniels (6’1, 267) is the other probable starter. Career stats: Six tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack. That’s it. Scary. This is not to say the type of player he is or is capable of being, only that there’s very little production returning at defensive tackle.
Backups: Cody Hundertmark, Steve Bigach, Travis Meade
Both Cody Hundertmark (6'4, 276) and Steven Bigach (6’3, 270) redshirted last year. Former offensive lineman Travis Meade (6'2, 285) has made the switch to defensive tackle.
Likely to be a position “by committee”, Hawkeye fans have to, and should be, concerned about the depth and inexperience here.
Newcomers: Martin Hopkins, Scott Covert
Martin Hopkins has an impressive list of awards: Prep Football Report Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, Chicago Tribune, Champaign News-Gazette and Illinois High School Football Coaches Association first team all-state as a senior, Chicago Sun-Times all-area as a senior, named first team all-conference and conference defensive MVP as a senior. Only 6’3, 230 right now, Hopkins may be a future starter at defensive tackle.
Scott Covert collected 65 tackles, 20 sacks and 13 tackles for loss over his last two seasons.
Big 10 Defensive Line Rank: 5/11
1. Brandon Graham – Michigan
2. Jared Odrick – Penn State
3. Jammie Kirlew – Indiana
4. Corey Wooton – Northwestern
5. Adrian Clayborn – Iowa
6. Trevor Anderson – Michigan State
7. Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue
8. Thaddeus Gibson – Ohio State
9. O’Brien Schofield - Wisconsin
10. Garrett Brown - Minnesota
11. Corey Liuget – Illinois
Starter: Pat Angerer
I love Pat Angerer. Everything about him I love. His last name, no excuses attitude, play, swagger, demeanor, etc. Everything. Not only that, he has the one thing a true MLB needs: a part of his brain that’s not just quite right. A crazy edge. Bill Romanowski-ness. Angerer is the type of the guy that you love having on your team, if only so he’s not on the other one. Though he’s not the biggest guy in the world, Angerer finds a way to get it done. #43 led the team in tackles last season (107) and tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions (5) with strong safety Tyler Sash. He was a second team All Big Ten selection last season and is one of 42 players named to the pre-season Lott Trophy Watch List for 2009.
Backups: Jacody Coleman, Bruce Davis
There were serious transfer rumors surrounding Jacody Coleman this season. Word is that he’s decided to stay and will redshirt this season. Presumably, that redshirt will be taken off faster than Clark Kent’s suit if Angerer goes down. Coleman is great in the running game, but still struggles with his pass coverage. It was essential that the Hawkeyes keep Coleman, as he will probably step into the starting role in 2010.
Bruce Davis is a high-school teammate of current Hawkeyes DE Lebron Daniel and DB Derrick Smith and former Hawkeye QB Arvell Nelson. The Glenville connection (Ted Ginn) has not paid dividends. Yet.
Starters: A.J. Edds, Jeremiha Hunter
As good as Pat Angerer, Adrian Clayborn, and Amari Spievey are, A.J. Edds is the player that makes the defense work as well as it does. He debunked the myth that a linebacker can’t cover a receiver. He does, and he does it very well. Although the Hawkeye defense is frequently in zone coverage, Edds has the ability to shut down the slot receiver or tight end he is covering. This is the polar opposite of years past. Specifically, the Iowa State game of 2007 (Klink) and the Ohio State of 2006 (Humpal, Klink, Everyone). He allows the Hawks to play the style they do. Without him, it would not work nearly as well.
Jeremiha Hunter was one of the pleasant surprises of 2008. Hunter was neck-and-neck with linebacker Jeff Tarpinian in fall ball when Tarp went down with an injury. Hunter grabbed the spot and never let go. Different season, same story. Hunter and Tarpinian are locked in a position battle again. Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker said, “It’s closer than Hunter thinks it is.”
Backups: Jeff Tarpinian, Tyler Nielsen
Jeff Tarpinian **see above
Tyler Nielsen was the best player on kickoff coverage in 2008. He was routinely in on tackles, looked very fast, and improved a unit that had been dreadful in 2007. (Note: Huge exception: Minnesota. But it was 55-0. So no one cared.)
Big 10 Rank: 4/11
1. Sean Lee – Penn State
2. Greg Jones – Michigan State
3. Martez Wilson – Illinois
4. A.J. Edds – Iowa
5. Jaevery McFadden – Wisconsin
6. Obi Ezeh – Michigan
7. Bryan Rolle – Ohio State
8. Matt Mayberry – Indiana
9. Joe Holland – Purdue
10. Simoni Lawrence - Minnesota
11. Quentin Davie – Northwestern
Starters: Amari Spievey, Jordan Bernstine
How many superlatives and adjectives can you give to Amari Spievey? ‘Superman’ for ICCC. Best corner ever at Iowa. Best defensive player. Best player on the team? No one was throwing these terms around for Jovon Johnson, Antwann Allen, Adam Shada, etc. Here’s his line: Four interceptions, 127 return yards on said picks (only bested by Sash), one touchdown (the second quarter dagger he stabbed the Golden Gophers with). If Bradley Fletcher was a 3rd round draft pick, just think of the possibilities for Spievey. Limitless.
Jordan Bernstine is a bit of an enigma. Highly recruited by many high-caliber programs across the nation. He’s only really played as the nickel back and on special teams. This is his year to establish himself. The starting spot has been gift-wrapped and delivered to him by Shaun Prater. Career stats thus far: one pass break-up, one interception, and 21 tackles.
Backups: Shaun Prater, William Lowe, Greg Castillo
That tricky bartender, who is employed by a bar, devilishly put alcohol in Prater’s drinks all night. This resulted in an arrest on the drive home. Regardless, his suspension is going to hurt.
Behind Prater are Lowe and Castillo, two players with very little game experience. They are going to be asked to step in right away. There will be growing pains. Those pains will likely result in huge gains and/or touchdowns. The secondary will be scary good when he comes back.
Newcomers: Micah Hyde
Hyde totaled 165 tackles, eight interceptions and seven passes defended at cornerback, also had 549 carries for 3,443 yards and 46 touchdowns.
Starter: Brett Greenwood
Brett Greenwood is the most undervalued member of the swarming Hawkeye defense. 68 tackles, two interceptions, six passes broken up. Although he’s not a physical ‘presence,’ he isn’t afraid to hit and often lays opposing receivers out. Fans often bag on him, but he’s smart, tough, and rarely out of position. He certainly isn’t a weak link.
Backup: Jack Swanson
Iowa lost both of their back up safety’s after Lance Tillison and Diauantae Morrow decided to transfer. Jack Swanson steps into the reserve free safety spot. As a high schooler, Swanson was first team all-state and News-Press Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. This all coming in one of the top three football states in the country: Florida.
Starter: Tyler Sash
The playmaking strong safety led the Big 10 in interceptions (5) and return yards (147). Not only did Sash make plays, he made them in the most dire times (4th quarter vs. Penn State, 2 in Outback Bowl, in the end zone vs. Iowa State). Don’t forget, Sash wasn’t even starting to begin the year. He beat out incumbent starter Harold Dalton. Only a sophomore, Sash could turn out to be one of Iowa’s best safety’s. An impressive list that includes Bob Sanders, Sean Considine, Derek Pagel, Marcus Paschal and many more. Sash may never reach Bob Sanders’ type impact, but Considine is definitely within reach.
Backup: David Cato
Cato also moves into a back up role after the transfers. A special teams player as a freshman, Cato was tabbed with 13 tackles, one pass break up, and one forced fumble. He is a fierce hitter and should learn well behind Sash. Look for #31 destroying returners on kickoffs next year.
Big 10 Secondary Rank: 2/11
1. Kurt Coleman – SS - Ohio State
2. Amari Spievey – CB – Iowa
3. Ray Fisher – CB – Indiana
4. Drew Astorino – S – Penn State
5. Traye Simmons - CB – Minnesota
6. Danny Fortener – S – Michigan State
7. Aaron Henry – CB - Wisconsin
8. Donovan Warren – CB – Michigan
9. Torri Williams – S - Purdue
10. Brad Phillips – S - Northwestern
11. Tavon Wilson – CB – Illinois
Starter: Ryan Donahue
Donahue punted 50 times for 2078 yards, an average 41.6 yards per punt. His long was 64 yards.
Backup: Eric Guthrie
Starter: Daniel Murray
After hitting the kick to seal the biggest win of the season, Murray seems to have a hold on the starting role. Murray knocked in 6/9 field goals and a perfect 14/14 extra points.
Backup: Trent Mossbrucker
Murray’s Penn State kick seems to have had the opposite effect on Mossbrucker, the kicker who is on scholarship. Mossbrucker was an impressive 13/15 of field goals; however his long was only 39 yards. He was 31/33 on PATs.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
*As Charlie pointed out, James is the Ferentz getting into trouble. Not Brian as we said. His youngest son is Steven, who is 14.
** Jim Leavitt is the coach of USF, not UFC like I said.