Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Dog Days of Summer are arriving soon in Iowa ...

The heat will soon arrive, with the coming of the Summer of 2015 ...

Iowa Football has been out of sync, since the Big Ten added divisions with Nebraska, then Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference.

Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes were 0-3 in the Legends/Leaders ...

Year one of the B1G West was a disappointing #4 finish last season, with a completely void trophy case.

The 2015 season is clearly one where opportunity knocks for Iowa. 

The Hawkeyes will depend on a strong group of seniors and key players stepping into new roles as starters on both offense and defense ...

Quarterback play is always important for a Big Ten offense ...
Junior QB C.J. Beathard will lead the Iowa offense in 2015,
 with the transfer of Jake Rudock to Michigan.

  • WR 4 Tevaun Smith is one of the senior leaders for Iowa in 2015. A player to watch!
  • LT 52 Boone Myers replaces Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff at left tackle
  • LG 56 Eric Simmons, one of three seniors who could anchor the Iowa interior line?
  • C 63 Austin Blythe is the senior anchor in the Iowa offensive line in 2015
  • RG 65 Adam Walsh is a senior returning for his final season as a starter in the offensive line
  • RT 75 Ike Boettger, like Myers, is a sophomore tackle who will flank the outside in '15!
  • TE 80 Henry Kreiger Coble is a senior TE, who showed skills early as a frosh vs. Michigan
  • QB 16 C.J. Beathard replaces two-year starter Jake Rudock. Higher risk-reward factor in '15!
  • WR 89 Matt VandeBerg is a junior, who has hit the field running, since Day 1 in Iowa City ...
  • FB 42 Macon Plewa or 38 Adam Cox should provide a solid 1-2 blocking punch at fullback!
  • RB 33 Jordan Canzeri, senior, and 29 LeShan Daniels, junior, are back, and now healthy at RB

Iowa has some other factors on offense in 2015.
  • Senior TE 87 Jake Duzey is expected back mid-season from off-season knee surgery. Duzey is the top returning TE in the Big Ten for '15! As a sophomore, scored an 85 yard TD at Ohio State ...
  • Junior TE 46 George Kittle is another of the Iowa TEs to keep your eye on in 2015!
  • Returning starter LG 79 Sean Welsh, a sophomore, is back, after a spring leave of absence
  • 78 James Daniels, a true freshman lineman from Ohio, could emerge among the top Big Ten offensive line freshmen class Kirk Ferentz assembled in the off season for the Hawkeyes
  • Two sophomore running backs may make noise in the 2015 running game, with 25 Akrum Wadley, only RB to run for 100 yards during the regular season; along with converted WR 32 Derrick Mitchell, Jr., looking to be in the mix in the ground game!
  • Sophomore 10 Jonathan Parker was used in the slot last season. He has been moved from RB to WR, as fourth year OC Greg Davis does need others to step up at wide receiver in '15!
  • Senior WR 17 Jacob Hillyer is the third most experienced wide-out back for the Hawkeyes

The Defense for the Hawkeyes ...

Junior DT Jaleel Johnson will be counted on to lead the new
interior defense for the Hawkeyes, with two vacancies from 2014.

  • DE 34 Nate Meier, senior, heads into second season as a full-time starter, after arriving as LB
  • DT 67 Jaleel Johnson, junior, was top backup at DT last season, as he steps up full-time in '15
  • DT 98 Nathan Bazata, sophomore, he saw more action late in '14 as a redshirt freshman
  • DE 95 Drew Ott is the anchor of the Iowa defensive line, now as a senior. 10.5 career sacks
  • Iowa has five players to watch at starting linebacker, including two seniors with 39 Travis Perry and 38 Cole Fisher ... this unit dropped in 2014, after the departure of three strong seniors in 2013, with James Morris, Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey departed ...
  • WLB 41 Bo Bower, sophomore, who will move inside, after starting outside last year.
  • MLB 43 Josey Jewell, sophomore, will move into the middle, after Quinton Alston's departure
  • OLB 44 Ben Niemann, sophomore, solid special teams as a true freshman last year steps up
  • CB 14 Desmond King, junior, is entering his third season as a full-time starter for the Hawks! 
  • CB 13 Greg Mabin and 28 Maurice Fleming, both juniors, are King's two sidekicks for 2015!
  • SS 19 Miles Taylor, sophomore, like Niemann, played special teams as a true frosh in '14
  • FS 27 Jordan Lomax, senior, is back lead the secondary in his senior season, after making the move to safety from CB in 2014. Junior 12 Anthony Gair is a very capable back up for Lomax.
Other defensive players to watch in 2015 for Iowa:
  • Senior DT 97 Darian Cooper is seeking a come back from a major knee injury that cost him the 2014 season. The jury is still out, but he one of 13 seniors on the Football Leadership Group for 2015. Iowa has tweaked the leadership group, heading into Ferentz's 17th season as dean the Big Ten football coaches.
  • Two juniors 55 Faith Ekakitie and 61 Kyle Terlowe look to provide depth inside for Iowa
  • Two youngsters 98 Matt Nelson and 40 Parker Hesse, both redshirt freshmen, will back up at DE for the Hawkeyes. Nelson is a bright young player, while Hesse is a converted LB.
  • Two young linebackers 31 Aaron Mends and 20 Jameer Outsey, both redshirt freshmen, are expected to help in special teams.
  • Redshirt freshman 37 Brandon Snyder will push newcomer Miles Taylor at strong safety. Sophomore 26 Kevin Ward looks to gain some time at safety, as well.
  • Iowa will like have some young players step up to help in special teams, as well as on the defensive side of the football in 2015.

Special teams are supposed to be special, if Iowa is going to raise bar ...

Senior placekicker Marshall Koehn returns for the Hawkeyes,
after a 2014 unit that was young compared to this season.
  • PK 1 Marshall Koehn, senior, could be among the strong placekickers back in '15 in Big Ten
  • PT 16 Dillon Kidd, senior, became the new punter during the second half of the Big Ten season, last year. His father was a good one at Northwestern and Kidd needs to step up in '15!
  • KR 10 Jonathan Parker, sophomore, was benched in 2014, but showed some good stats, before the mental lapses.
  • PR 89 Matt VandeBerg, junior, role is the snag, catch and field the kick; then move forward for 10+ ... he is very capable and a player to watch in special teams, and as a wide receiver in '15!
The Big Ten West is far more open, unlike the East, where
Ohio State and Michigan State should dominate for #1.

The Big Ten West is open in 2015, with no real clear cut favorite? 

Senior C Austin Blythe will lead the Iowa offensive line in 2015

Unlike the 2015 Big Ten East race or the Big 12, any of the seven Big Ten West teams could come up and surprise in 2015. 

McIllece Sports gives every team in the Big Ten West a shot for the division title. Only Wisconsin and Nebraska have won a division, among the seven West teams. The Badgers and Cornhuskers each welcome a new head coach and new staff members in 2015, so neither coach has won a division either in the Big Ten. It is clearly fair to say "opportunity knocks" for the Hawkeyes and everyone in the B1G West in 2015 ...

Senior DE Drew Ott is the leader of the Iowa defense in '15.

Phil Steele sees six strong players leading Iowa, as they head into 2015. The annual Phil Steele preview magazine hits news stands on June 27th.

Fish or cut bait for Hawkeye fans in 2015?

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz won his first Big Ten title in his fourth season.
Iowa DC Phil Parker and OC Greg Davis, enter their fourth seasons,
as coordinators in 2015 for Ferentz, his 17th as head coach.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have a very favorable schedule, like the 2007 edition. Over the years, Iowa Football has stepped up and has fallen flat on their face, as well.

This appears to be a season, where opportunity knocks apply, given the many questions with the other six Big Ten West programs.

Last year was the 125th season of Iowa Football. They finished a disappointing 7-6. 

Back in 1989, Iowa's 100th season of college football, the Hawkeyes finished 5-6 under coach Hayden Fry, after eight straight bowl seasons, under the legendary coach at Iowa.

The following season, Iowa rebounded and won the Big Ten, after a five year drought. It was the last of three Big Ten titles under Coach Fry.

Could this be another rebound season for Iowa? The Hawkeyes have not won a division title before. This is season number five.

Welcome to the dog days of summer here in Iowa ...