Spring football scrimmage
Last Saturday the Hawkeyes held their final practice of the spring with a scrimmage.
I’ll try to break down the offense, defense and special teams.
The offense won the game 46-31 on a couple of touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown and three field goals by Marshall Koehn.
They also received points for plays over 20 yards.
Jake Rudock is a solid number-one quarterback. Going against the defensive starters, Jake was 11-22 for 165 yards and a touchdown pass.
Jake’s lone bad pass was a 35-yard throw against the wind that Desmond King picked off.
The defense usually has the advantage in these scrimmages because they have seen the plays over and over plus they know the formations.
C.J. Beathard is ready to step up if Jake is hurt. C.J. played in five games last season and helped Iowa beat Nebraska when Jake went out with an injury.
Last Saturday, C.J., playing mostly against the second team, went 21-39, 349 yards and a touchdown pass.
The Iowa coaches are talking about having C.J. play a couple of series every game.
The Hawks did that in 2001 with Kyle McCann and Brad Banks.
Kyle was the starter and Brad usually played in the second quarter.
There are only good things that can come out of that.
One is that it sometimes gives the offense a spark or change of pace.
The second thing it does is make the opposing team prepare for two quarterbacks.
“After watching this spring, I think this is something that is realistic because they both do some things well,” said Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz about playing both quarterbacks. “When you have two players that you have a lot of confidence in, it makes sense to play them in a game.”
Going into spring football, I thought Iowa had four solid running backs. I might have to amend that as the Hawks showed at least five backs that can carry the load.
Mark Weisman is number one followed by Damon Bullock. Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels, Jr. showed they can play, plus Barkley Hill is healthy and will add great depth.
LeShun had a couple of good runs including one where he knocked over a defensive back on an end sweep.
Jordan scored on a 16-yard touchdown run in the second half when the second team defense was playing.
Derrick Willies had another good spring scrimmage with five catches for 165 yards including a 42-yard touchdown catch from C.J.
At 6-4, 210 Derrick can stretch the field and he has a great burst of speed to go the distance. He’s not afraid to catch the ball in traffic.
Ray Hamilton is a solid number one at tight end. The 6-5, 252-pound senior caught a 15-yard pass, ran over Jordan Lomax and carried Maurice Fleming across the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown catch and run.
The tight ends caught 11 passes in the scrimmage, led by Henry Krieger Coble with five catches for 57 yards.
C.J. Fiedorowicz might have been a little bit better blocker, but one on the things that bothered me about him is that he didn’t do a great job of breaking tackles.
The offensive line looked solid, led by All-American left tackle Brandon Scherff.
“We want to be the most physical unit on the field and want to be able to run the ball against people’s wills,” said Brandon. “That is what we are going to work for in the summer.”
Everyone that follows the Hawkeyes are concerned about the three new linebackers.
I believe the Hawks will be okay, especially if Quinton Alston is leading the way at middle linebacker.
“We played with energy today and did a good job of stopping the run,” said Quinton. “We’re not ready by any means, but I like the effort and willingness to get better today.”
The defense came up with nine sacks, although they only had to touch the quarterback to get a sack.
Reggie Spearman and Josey Jewell were the other starters. Josey was in for Travis Perry who was held out because of injury.
The defensive line should be another strong point, with big boys Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat anchoring the middle.
Those two are considered the best tackle duo in the Big Ten.
“It’s nice to hear that, but at the same time we have to go out and do our job,” said Louis. “People love to talk but we need to go out and prove ourselves. That’s the important thing.”
The defensive backfield has some good depth with Maurice Fleming, Greg Mabin and Sean Draper fighting for one corner spot.
Desmond King will be the other corner and he looks like he is getting better.
“I think we have good competition at the corner position with three guys competing for that one spot and it’s a dead heat,” said Ferentz. “I think a lot of our positions right now won’t get decided until well into August camp.”
That’s not a bad thing.
Jordan Lomax switched to safety and is learning every day.
“I think Jordan will be just fine,” said coach Ferentz. “I think he is more comfortable now after 15 days of being the quarterback over there.”
Marshall Koehn looked sharp in the field goal department, hitting all three of his kicks.
Connor Kornbrath will be battling Dillon Kidd for the punting job and Dillon did a better job of turning the ball over. He also had a little better hang time.
Connor punted 10 times, averaging 37.7 with three inside the 20. Dillon had seven punts for a 41.3 average.
Overall it was a solid spring practice.
The secondary needs some work, but Phil Parker usually always takes care of business.
Four more months... I can’t wait.