Our beloved winter sports have barely receded from our memory (and, yes, I'm working on some wrestling posts), but football is back in the news -- and not for anything bad (no rhabdo!) or for any coaching hires. It's back in the news because spring football is about to get underway. Which means we get the first pre-spring depth chart to pore over. Depth charts at Iowa aren't worth a whole lot in the best of circumstances; they're even less useful when there's been no game or organized practice in almost three months. Just remember that there's a good chance Ferentz wrote this up on a napkin while he was waiting for his Starbucks order to get filled this morning. But we need something to talk about, so...
QB: James Vandenberg, Jake Rudock
RB: Jordan Canzeri, Damon Bullock, De'Andre Johnson
FB: Brad Rogers, Jonathan Gimm
WR: Keenan Davis, Don Shumpert
WR: Kevonte Martin-Manley, Jacob Hillyer OR Steven Staggs
TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Zach Derby
LT: Brandon Scherff OR Andrew Donnal
LG: Matt Tobin, Drew Clark
C: James Ferentz, Conor Boffeli, Eric Simmons
RG: Conor Boffeli OR Austin Blythe, Jordan Walsh
RT: Brett Van Sloten, Nolan MacMillan
DE: Dean Tsopanides, Melvin Spears
DT: Steve Bigach, Louis Trinca-Pasat
DT: Darian Cooper, Joe Gaglione
DE: Riley McMinn, Mike Hardy
OLB: Christian Kirksey, Shane DiBona
MLB: James Morris, Quinton Alston
WLB: Anthony Hitchens, Marcus Collins OR Cole Fisher
CB: B.J. Lowery, Jordan Lomax
SS: Nico Law, Tom Donatell OR Collin Sleeper
FS: Tanner Miller, John Lowdermilk OR Jack Swanson
CB: Micah Hyde, Greg Castillo
Thoughts after the jump...
* As expected/hoped, Rudock is indeed QB2, meaning he is now officially everyone's favorite player. Good luck, son.
* Damon Bullock is still (for now) a RB, while Jason White gets a scholarship but loses his usual spot on the depth chart. Not a bad trade-off if you're him, I suppose. De'Andre Johnson continues to languish in Floridaback obscurity.
* Zero surprise at WR, since Davis and KMM are our only experienced pass-catchers of note. The depth chart doesn't really tell us anything at all about who will be emerging as WR3 in the offense.
* No "Cobra Kai" Ray Hamilton in the TE depth chart, but that just means we retain the most hat-friendly depth chart in the Big Ten.
* James Ferentz is the only bolted-in starter along the offensive line, although Van Sloten, Tobin, and Scherff probably have an edge on their competitors for now having seen actual playing time last year. It's interesting to see Boffeli listed twice (possibly suggesting he's one of the 5-7 best linemen and they want to get him on the field somewhere) and to see Blythe already listed as a quasi-starter (he's an "OR" at RG with Boffeli) as a redshirt freshman.
* And from a meaningless trivia standpoint... as currently listed, Iowa would roll out a starting offensive line comprised entirely of Iowans. Which is neither good nor bad, but kind of amusing.
* Try not to weep when you look at DE. Or at least pretend it's dusty. Because, ohmygod, 75% of the names listed at defensive end are redshirt freshmen and ohmygod that is terrifying. At least McMinn and Tsopanides are no longer listed at 220-ish. But... yeesh. Talk about the soft underbelly of the 2012 Iowa squad. Reese Morgan has his work cut out for him here.
* Meanwhile, former depth chart darlings LTP and Mike Hardy make return appearances and "SuperCoopa" Darian Cooper makes the first of (hopefully) many appearances on the starter line at DT. Carl Davis is curiously MIA; perhaps he's dealing with (another) injury.
* Zero surprise at the LB spots, but that's no shock: Kirksey, Morris, and Hitchens are by far our most experienced options there (well, DiBona might have as much experience as Hitchens, I guess).
* In a rather pleasant surprise, Lowery is listed as the starting corner opposite Hyde rather than Castillo, which is what we expected (even if we also expected Lowery would be the one actually playing opposite Hyde come September).
* In another pleasant surprise, Nico Law is already listed as the starter at strong safety, leaping ahead of a pair of fifth-year seniors in Donatell and Sleeper. Hopefully that speaks well of how Law looked in practice last year.
* For the moment, John Wienke is listed as the starting punter, which means WOO WE HAVE AN ELITE-11 QB PROSPECT AS OUR STARTING PUNTER; SUCK ON THAT, BIG TEN!
* Meanwhile, the PK depth chart looks ominous for Mr. Mossbrucker.