The Iowa basketball season is winding down and spring football is under way. Here are a few bits and pieces in advance of the open practice opportunities we’ll have this spring:
A user on the message boards put together a weight gain list from last year to this year. Give it a look.
Some of the weights that jumped out to me:
Jordan Canzeri at 192 pounds. I’ve been high on Canzeri since seeing his high school highlight reel. We had a chance to see his toughness against Oklahoma a few years back and then last year he suffered a torn ACL during the spring. Kirk Ferentz said he could have played late in the year last year so he will be ready to roll come fall. He and Jordan Cotton could team up and form a dynamic pair in the return game.
Louis Trinca-Pasat is up to 290 pounds, a 20-pound gain. That’s a great weight for battling inside in Iowa’s system and he really came on last year to perform well.
Freshmen Jaleel Johnson and Faith Ekakitie also put on some weight; Ekakitie added 12 pounds to get to 287 while Johnson added 10 pounds to get to 310. Carl Davis is at 310 so the Hawkeyes have a chance for some beef on the inside. Darian Cooper is at 280 and he will likely be one of the starters. I think Cooper and LTP start on the inside, with Davis, Ekakitie and Johnson getting reps. Iowa will have some good depth at tackle, just a lot of it unproven and Davis really needs to step up for this his junior season. Drew Ott is listed as a started at one defensie end position and he weighs in at 245. I suspect he’ll be closer to 260 by the time camp starts in August, but he will still be a bit undersized and his motor is going to have to carry him there.
When you look at Iowa’s offensive line, this has the chance to be a pretty deep group:
Brandon Scherff: 310
Conor Boffeli: 290
Austin Blythe: 275
Andrew Donnal: 305
Brett Van Sloten: 292
Eric Simmons could factor into the mix and he is listed at 300 and Ryan Ward is at 290
The tight ends are bunched up pretty good; Ray Hamilton is 248, Jake Duzey is 245 and Henry Krieger Coble is 245. 245 is the sweet spot for an Iowa tight end, but most of them are not 6-7 like CJ Fiedorowicz, who is 265. Iowa listed a Y-Back on their depth chart and they have two tight ends there…Iowa will still be able to present heavy looks with the tights, but it may also give them more options in the passing game.
Then again, I don’t really want to get too far into passing game options until I believe Iowa will throw the ball vertically beyond 10 yards more than they did a year ago.
OFFENSIVE TWO DEEP
DEFENSIVE TWO DEEP
2013 Outlook as written by Iowa’s Sports Information department. It is interesting to see what those guys cook up as it relates to the spring prospectus, then look back on it in a year or so. Granted, you don’t expect biting criticism from something like this; just stow it away.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will open spring practice with 14 returning starters from the final game of the 2012 season, including their two leading rushers and four of the five leading receivers on offense and their top three tacklers on defense. Still, there are a number of spots to fill on the depth chart for the 2013 season. The added experience of last season could play a major role in Iowa’s quest to reverse the 2012 fortunes of five losses by an average of 3.2 points per loss.
Iowa’s spring roster includes 39 lettermen, including six returning starters on offense, eight on defense and senior placekicker Mike Meyer and sophomore punter Connor Kornbrath. There are 18 seniors and eight of the 39 lettermen have earned three letters. Experienced players return at each position, with the exception of quarterback, where none of the candidates have taken a snap for the Hawkeyes, and fullback.
Iowa was the only team in the nation to play six games during the 2012 regular season that were decided by three points or less. While posting a 4-8 overall record (2-6 in Big Ten play), five of Iowa’s losses came by a combined total of 19 points. In two games, Iowa’s opponent scored the winning points on a field goal on the final play of the game.
The 2012 schedule proved to be a strong one. Nine of Iowa’s 12 opponents played in bowl games, while Penn State, ineligible for postseason play, also won eight games. Iowa’s victories included a win over Orange Bowl participant Northern Illinois and bowl participants Minnesota and Michigan State. With the opening win over Northern Illinois, Iowa defeated a BCS bowl team for the fifth time in six years.
Coach Kirk Ferentz heads into his 15th spring session as Iowa’s head coach. Ferentz is tied for fourth among all FBS coaches in longevity. Ferentz has posted a 100-74 record with the Hawkeyes, including a 98-56 record over the past 12 seasons. Iowa has played in 10 bowl games under Ferentz, posting a 6-4 record that includes four January bowl victories and a 1-1 mark in BCS bowl games. Ferentz’ six bowl victories tie for third most ever among Big Ten coaches.
The Iowa coaching staff also has a number of changes. Bobby Kennedy takes over as wide receivers coach, while Chris White is now coaching Iowa’s running backs and coordinating special teams. Jim Reid is in his first year working with the Iowa defense, where he will coach linebackers, and DJ Hernandez will coach tight ends after joining the program as a graduate assistant.
Off the field, Hawkeye players continued to be recognized for their efforts in the classroom. Fifteen Hawkeyes earned academic all- Big Ten recognition, while DL Steve Bigach, LB James Morris and QB James Vandenberg were named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District Six team. Bigach and Vandenberg, both seniors, were named to the district team for the second straight year. Under Kirk Ferentz, 20 Iowa players have been named academic all-America 38 times.
The returning offensive starters include leading rusher Mark Weisman (159-815-8 TDs) and leading receiver Kevonte Martin- Manley (52-571-2 TDs). Damon Bullock was second in rushing (135- 513-3 TDs), while tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz was third on the team in receptions (45-433-1 TD).
The offensive line returns seven lettermen, and all seven have started games during their Iowa careers. Right tackle Brett Van Sloten started all 12 games in 2012, while left tackle Brandon Scherff started seven games before a season-ending injury. Austin Blythe started nine games as a redshirt freshman, earning Freshman All- America honors, and Conor Boffeli started the final three games of the season. Others who have started games include Andrew Donnal, Nolan MacMillan and Jordan Walsh.
The defense returns its three leading tacklers from 2012 in linebackers Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey, a trio of seniors. A number of Iowa’s defensive linemen gained the most experience of their careers in 2012, as the group returns all but DE Joe Gaglione and Steve Bigach, who played both end and tackle.
Iowa’s secondary returns three starters in cornerback B.J. Lowery and safeties Nico Law and Tanner Miller. The Hawkeyes will be without cornerback Micah Hyde, who earned first team All-Big Ten honors and was named the winner of the 2012 Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year Award. Hyde also handled punt returns the past two seasons.
The Hawkeye special teams return PK Mike Meyer and punter Connor Kornbrath. Wide receiver Jordan Cotton ranked as one of the top kick return specialists in 2012, leading the Big Ten and ranking 13th in the nation with an average of over 28 yards per return.