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Steele Names Preseason All B1G

Phil Steele has released his All Big Ten selections in advance of his magazine hitting the newsstands and there are some Iowa names mentioned…and one not mentioned which is the biggest head scratcher.

Here is a link to see the list for yourself.

The biggest shocker is that Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg did not make it on any of Steele’s FOUR sets of All Big Ten teams…the quarterbacks who made it:

1st Denard Robinson, Michigan
2nd Braxton Miller, Ohio State
3rd Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
4th Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois

Vandenberg is the leading returning passer in the Big Ten and arguably the best pro prospect in the league right now. Braxton Miller at #2 is 100% about potential and the hope he flourishes under Urban Meyer’s system…but that’s a huge, huge leap from where he was last year to this year. Martinez is a dangerous runner but a poor passer and Robinson is only a little bit better passer than is Martinez. Scheelhaase is a tough kid, but I just don’t see it.

It’s not like a magazine or a column means anything on the field, but this is an incredible sleight or oversight. I am guessing the former as Steele is pretty thorough.

Steele has WR Keenan Davis and DB Micah Hyde on his first team, James Morris on his second team, CJ Fiedorowicz & James Ferentz on this third team with Brandon Scherff and Christian Kirksey on his fourth team.

It’s the first time I can recall looking at a Steele magazine and not seeing at least one Iowa defensive lineman on his first four teams. We know this is Iowa’s biggest weakness heading into this year and its arguably the most important position to not be weak at in college football.

  • Gabe

    Put that above JVBs locker somebody.

  • Larry Flint

    I don’t think that it is quite as surprising as many seem to think.  You have to remember that many factors are kind of counting against Vandenberg as well.  Given that Steele is pretty thorough, he probably picked up on those factors as well.  Anyhow, here are the factors:

    1. Vandenberg clearly had issues handling pressure last year.  And, he had those issue in spite having a pretty veteran OL in front of him … AND an experienced RB at blitz pick-up too!  Given that it was his 4th year at Iowa last year and he had those issues … is he going to overcome them now?  I don’t know.

    2. Iowa has to replace some serious veteran talent on the OL.  What’s more … Reiff, Zusevics, and Gettis were also pretty darn good when it came to pass-blocking.  I definitely concede that Iowa won’t be lacking in talent on the OL in ’12 … however, it will still take a while before the group will be great, particularly with regard to pass-pro.

    3. McNutt was clearly a “crutch” WR last year.  Given all the drops that Iowa’s pass-catchers had last year … is that problem going to go away overnight?  Iowa’s TEs have the ball skills to be more consistent for Vandenberg … however, I’m not sold on Iowa’s WRs yet.

    4. Iowa’s RBs have very little experience … particularly when it comes to blocking/blitz pick-up.  When you combine that with the “issues” that the Iowa OL will likely have … Vandenberg will likely get harassed far more in ’12 than he was in ’11.

    5. If all of the above issues weren’t enough … Vandenberg needs to pick up a new system to boot. 

    6. A young DL will likely imply that all the more pressue will be on the O.  That’s a lot of weight to be placed on Vandenberg’s shoulders.

    Altogether, the above seems to be a rather combustible mix.  While I still think that Vandenberg has great upside and is quite a talented guy … I keep on thinking that ’12 is primarily going to be a building year.  The Hawks need to build towards the ’13 season.  The ’12 season will be a success if we can even manage to just go bowling.  However, the stars are aligning for the possibility of a very special ’13 season.

    • IowaHusker79

      I agree with you on all your points except how you look at the 2012 season and the 2013 season. I think the Hawks could very well be 9-1 heading into their road game at Michigan with the only loss coming to Michigan State. Iowa’s schedule is very manageable this fall. I do believe that the Hawks will lose their last two games but being 9-3 is very good and how I predict they will end up. I don’t think 2013 will be special because Iowa’s schedule gets much tougher and Vandenburg will be gone. I’m thinking Iowa will be 7-5 at best and 6-6 at worst. Just my thoughts 

      • Larry Flint

        I think that “schedule” is a concept that sometimes gets overplayed by fans.  We’re not talking about a schedule exclusively littered with the likes of Tennessee Tech … we’re talking about schedules where we’re either facing formidable foes OR we’re facing off against decent foes who view us as “beatable.”  As much as I’d ever love to just laugh off Indiana … they have been irritatingly competitive with us through the years … not because we weren’t “better” than they were … they just thought that they could beat us.  Then, when you don’t put away a team like that … then that belief grows … and they can then actualize it.

        I think that Iowa is VERY mortal in 2012 … particularly early in the season.  We’re going to need a talented OL to gel early as the VERY young DL is going to need as much “wiggle room” as it can get.  Given that vulnerable state of squad … I view the Iowa State game as nearly being a 50-50 affair.  The Cyclones return enough high quality guys on their D that I’m inclined to believe that that group could be pretty good.  On top of that, their O returns enough to be a challenge too.

        As much as Iowa fans would like to laugh off the Gophers … Kill is a good coach.  Furthermore, just as I was indicating about Indiana … Kill clearly has communicated to his guys that the Hawks are very beatable.  They’re going to come out and try to take the game away from the Hawks.  Iowa traditionally has struggled when the target has been on our backs … we don’t always match that same level of intensity.  And, FWIW, I think that is a psychology thing with the players on the team … I don’t think that is a reflection of the Iowa coaches.

        I don’t believe that Iowa ends up falling below 6-6 this season … however, I also think that Iowa is very capable of losing EVERY Big 10 conference game during the season.  A lot will end up falling on the leadership of the Iowa juniors and seniors.

        As for the ’13 season, here are my reasons for optimism:

        – The OL will transition from very good to dominant
        – The WRs will have had more chance to “emerge”
        – The TEs will continue to be operating in “beast-mode”
        – At least 1 RB will emerge by then
        – The DL will be much more experienced and they’ll have that much needed extra time working with Doyle (I anticipate that they’ll be somewhere between the level of the ’08 and ’09 DLs)
        – The LBs will be operating in “beast-mode”
        – Lowery will likely be Spievey-good
        – The Law/Miller duo at safety have the tangibles and intangibles to approach the level of Sanders/Considine.

        If the trend isn’t already obvious … my view is that Iowa’s best teams invariably lean heavily upon an exceptional D.  I believe that the ’13 D will be Iowa’s best D since the ’09 season.  And, the reason why the season could even be special is because the O has the ingredients to be good (albeit not necessarily great).  The primary weakness the Iowa O will have is that we’ll be featuring a first year starter at QB.  However, given OC’s track record at teaching and developing QBs … and given the nice level of competition that we should have at QB between Rudock, Sokol, Beathard, and Simonek … I expect the QB play to be well above serviceable.

        • Hawkeye4ever

          wow that is a book take up being an author bro….

          • Larry Flint

            Hey brah … surely you know that Larry Flint is involved with a whole different kind of ‘literature.’

      • http://twitter.com/jrunde10 John

        50 shades of troll

  • IowaHusker79

    I kind of wonder if maybe Steele doesn’t have Vandenburg mentioned in his top 4 quarterbacks because Vandenburg has just one regular season win in a road game. I could be wrong but isn’t the 31-21 win over Purdue in West Lafayette last November the only road win for Vandenburg? I’m not sure just what criteria Steele uses but a starting quarterback who is practically unable to win on the road might figure into his decision. 

  • Jeffbuck7

    Jon’s right. It’s simply an amazing slight (not “sleight,” by the way). Our running backs will be functional, VDB has more than adequate targets, the O-line will be good, and we have a new OC who can’t possibly be as bad as KOK. Put it this way: There’s nothing in those areas so grim as to make VDB come out like the 5th best QB in the league. It’s just baloney. What’s Phil Steele been smoking? 

  • Jromen_4

    I wonder what big 10 analyst think of this. I mean hawkeye fans are obviously offended, but I think this means Vandenberg still has to prove himself. Maybe with Davis at OC vandenberg won’t be such a sitting duck for opposing teams blitzs. Hes got the stats thats for sure.

  • gues

    If keenan puts up first team numbers receiving it is hard to fathom that Vandy wouldn’t be at least in the top 4. If he has a go to receiver like that in keenan next year….look out!

  • MagBill

    “I kind of wonder if maybe Steele doesn’t have Vandenburg mentioned in
    his top 4 quarterbacks because Vandenburg has just one regular season
    win in a road game.”

    So how do you explain Braxton Miller? Also just one road win – 1 for 4 for 17 yards vs. Illinois (and no other QB played). Toni Braxton could beat that.

    I understand the concerns on JVB, I watched the same games y’all did… but he’s the leading_returning_passer_in_the_league. That is not a minor thing, and to be left out of the top 4 (below Miller???) is a gob-smacker.

    • IowaHusker79

      Miller was just a freshman, I believe. Vandenburg was a junior with 4 years in the system. Maybe Steele gave Miller the pass because he’s so young whereas he might be thinking Vandenburg should be winning road games on a regular basis, being a junior. I don’t know. I’m just guessing here. 

  • Hawkeye4ever

    Yes but Steele is right big games JV chokes… maybe that is why he has no respect- And K Davis 1st WR really what has he done, nothing I remember but not catch the football!! Sorry just being real still love the hawks!!

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