Don’t worry, it’s just practice
Before any Hawkeye fan gets too excited about what they did or didn’t see last Saturday at Kinnick Stadium they have to remember one thing… it’s still practice.
The Hawks were scheduled to have their spring scrimmage this Saturday, April 21, but the Olympic Wrestling Trials are this weekend at Carver-Hawkeye Arena so they moved it up one week.
That means they have three or four more practices and with a new offensive and defensive coordinator, each practice is so important.
Another thing to remember is when the first team offense is going against the first team defense, the defense usually wins.
They know the plays and have been practicing against the offense all spring even though it’s a new system.
There were some good moments though, and a few bad ones.
Starting with the offense, I think the strengths will be with the offensive line, tight ends and quarterback.
New offensive coordinator Greg Davis said there are seven or eight offensive linemen that could start for the Hawks.
That will be a key during the season, since Iowa could be running more no-huddle offense this fall.
You have James Ferentz at center, Matt Tobin, Austin Blythe and Conor Boffeli at guard. Brandon Scherff, Brett Van Sloten, Nolan MacMillan and Andrew Donnal at tackle.
C.J. Fiedorowicz is ready to be the next great tight end for Iowa.
At 6-7, 260, he has always been a big target, but now he’s learning how to make catches even when he is covered.
Zach Derby has always been a great blocker and when Iowa uses a two-tight end formation, he will step in and make plays.
Ray Hamilton, Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger-Coble all have good size and should help on the special teams.
James Vandenberg not only has one of the best arms in the Big Ten, but he is a really good leader.
James threw some good passes at the scrimmage and will get better as he learns the new system.
Jake Rudock and Cody Sokol both showed strong arms and had good accuracy.
Damon Bullock has great speed, breaking free for an 84-yard touchdown run and catching a couple of passes out of the backfield.
De’Andre Johnson is only 5-8 but weighs 200 pounds, has quick feet and bounced off a couple of tackles.
The wide receivers had too many drops, but that happened last spring also.
It didn’t help that Keenan Davis didn’t scrimmage because of an injury.
On defense, the back seven are faster and should have more picks next fall.
James Morris, Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens can keep up with tight ends and running backs, and did a good job blitzing in the scrimmage.
Throw in Quinton Alston, Marcus Collins and Cole Fisher and you have some depth, plus Shane DiBona and Dakota Getz are being held out because of injury.
B.J. Lowery, Micah Hyde, Nico Law, Tanner Miller, Jordan Lomax, Tom Donatell and Greg Castillo all showed good cover skills at the scrimmage with B.J. picking off a pass.
The front four will be a work in progress and might be a front seven or eight by next fall.
I’ll talk more about the d-line in August.
Mike Meyer is still the top field goal kicker, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Marshall Koehn kicked off next fall.
John Wienke made a couple of nice high, hanging punts, as did backup Jonny Mullings.
Like I said before, the Hawks have three or four more practices this spring, Chris Doyle all summer and two-a-days in August.
Good coaches plus good young talent equals a good team.
Does that mean a better record than 7-6?
I’m going to say yes.