by HawkeyeGameFilm, a former Division I football player who has done football scouting work at several levels.
The public practice had an upbeat atmosphere out there this week and also featured an endless stream of artificial crowd noise paired with music. First we’ll take a look at how the offense looked..
James Vandenberg looked like the Senior leader that he is out there running the offense this week. Despite not having his top two WRs he was able to sling the ball effectively in the limited reps he had. He did miss an open target during his first series but it wasn’t anything I’d worry about.
Jake Rudock bounced back from a rough practice last week with a pretty sound effort this week. He took a lot of reps with the 2s early on and later stepped into work with the 1s. He did a pretty good job working through progressions and hitting targets on the run. Looked a lot better on downfield throws as well, his touch was very good a number of times on deeper throws. He looked more sure of himself this week as far as making his reads.
Cody Sokol had a rough day and looked off most of the time. Several little things did him in: squeezing the ball too tightly and losing velocity, mis-reading coverages, and forcing the ball into small windows. He just looked flustered in general.
Got a great look at the young RBs out there this time. Barkley Hill, Greg Garmon and Michael Malloy all saw their fair share of carries out there this time. Hill wasn’t overwhelming and looked like he was running fairly carefully out there. He loosened up some as time went on and his best run of the day was his last one, an 8-yard TD burst to the outside. However on that carry, Hill went down with an apparent left knee injury that did not look good. Really hoping for the best for Hill’s injury but from what I saw I would guess a major sprain or ligament damage.
Garmon flashed some speed and burst out there but didn’t break any huge plays. He stood out the most in terms of potential and raw athletic tools, to me. He showed some functional strength and will likely get better with time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him really emerge from the pack as the season wears on. He’ll need to improve his pass protection though, as I saw a few times he looked confused on who he was supposed to pick up.
Malloy was often either too quick to the hole or very hesitant. He looked pretty green trying to make reads and didn’t appear to be a guy who will be relied on early. He looks like he needs a RS year to get bigger and stronger but given the depth of the RB position, he may not get it.
Bullock was solid but unspectacular and was getting the most work with 1s. He looked good in the screen game and was a good target when split out as well. He’s not able to break first contact very often currently and will need to improve in that respect.
Andre Dawson had some bright moments out there and was solid as both a runner and receiver. If Hill’s injury is indeed serious, Dawson could be called on to absorb some of that load down the line.
Reece Fleming was seeing a ton of reps out there in this practice with the 1s, 2s and 3s. With Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley out for the day it was Shumpert, Hillyer and Fleming running with the 1s to start the day with Shumpert at the Z, Hillyer the X & Fleming the slot mostly. Fleming looked pretty raw but has the short area burst to create run after catch opportunities. He got popped pretty good on an alert slant and fumbled it away. He looked to have gotten a stinger on the hit, but continued to take reps afterward.
Tevaun Smith was again working with 2s at the Z WR spot quite a bit. He looked his best on vertical routes again this week and seems to create separation at will on vertical routes. He wasn’t able to connect with Rudock or Sokol on the deeper routes but it looked to me like arm strength was an issue for both. On the plus side JVB definitely has the arm strength to stretch the field with Smith and others and it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on early in the season.
I was really impressed by Andrew Donnal during the open practice. Last week he had a bit of rough go and I spotted some technique issues in pass protection. He wasn’t perfect out there this week but he had clearly raised his game a couple of notches. He was getting his head across consistently on reach blocks and was keeping his pad level down as well. It doesn’t sound like Van Sloten has a serious injury but Donnal looks like he’d be ready to step in if needed.
Another guy who raised his level of play was Freshman OL Jalen Chambers. He was getting manhandled and looked out of sync last week but has really improved his pad level and was working his hips around this week. Dramatic improvement for the freshman who running with the 3s OL.
Tight Ends saw a lot of work again this week. TEs were getting vertical routes in both the scrimmage portion and 7 on 7 drills. I think some of the success was a result of more man coverage from the defense and when you get a athletic TE on a LB in space you’re going to have run after catch opportunities if the QB can deliver it in stride. CJF made some plays in the short passing game and seems to be fitting in with catch and run philosophy of Davis’s scheme.
A big TD to Jake Duzey in the scrimmage was set up off of TE motion and was a pretty simple play forcing a smaller CB to cover Duzey vertically. I think we’re already starting to see Davis fine tune some of his schemes to put Iowa’s TE depth to work. Ray Hamilton & Henry Kreiger-Coble saw their share of looks as well and made some runs after the catch. TE is going to be a strong point for this offense and it appears Davis is not hesitant about using them in multiple ways.
Coming up by noon Monday: The Defense
For a look at HawkeyeGameFilm’s in practice comments from Saturday, click here.