In case you missed it, spring football practice opens today. Kirk Ferentz talks to the media this afternoon, and the staff released a spring practice two-deep. There is no more uninformed depth chart than a pre-spring depth chart; there have been exactly zero practices since the end of the season, and any changes are largely conjecture based on workouts. But hey, it's late March, so here's the news.
- As expected, Jake Rudock is the starting quarterback. While everyone loves Sex Cannon, it's going to take a lot more than a good half to knock Rudock off his pedestal.
- Similarly, Weisman and Canzeri at running back is largely a function of last season, and Kevonte Martin-Manley and Tevaun Smith at wideout are similarly carryovers. No surprises there. Ferentz did mention that they'll consider using Weisman at fullback to get multiple ballcarriers on the field, but we've been talking about that for three years now.
- Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal bookend the line, with presumptive contender Ryan Ward actually listed at guard. Redshirt freshman Sean Welsh is the top right guard; he's a former three-star recruit out of Ohio. Blythe is at center, with Jordan Walsh at guard. Yes, that means Walsh and Welsh are in the same position on opposite sides. Because our interior line play isn't confusing enough.
- Boone Myers, a former walk-on out of Webster City, is the backup left tackle. We cannot overestimate the importance of Brandon Scherff returning for his senior season. Sophomore Cole Croston, another walk-on, is the backup at right tackle.
- No surprises on the defensive line: It's Drew Ott, LTP, Big Carl Davis, and Matt Hardy. If there's anything unusual, it's that Hardy beat out Riley McMinn this early; that obviously could change. Faith Ekakitie, who was reportedly moving to defensive end last year, is back at tackle.
- As expected, Quinton Alston moves into the middle linebacker position vacated by James Morris and Reggie Spearman takes the weakside spot. Travis Perry, who the staff has used frequently in the last two seasons, is now the starting outside linebacker. None of these are surprises or, frankly, areas of that much concern. Perry has shown more than enough skill in coverage, Alston has been patiently waiting his turn for three years while drawing rave reviews, and Spearman is a freak athlete who got on the field in passing situations last year despite being just 17 years old. Fellow youngsters John Kenny and Cole Fisher are floating around the two-deep, as well.
- The big switch is in the defensive backfield, where presumptive starting cornerback Jordan Lomax has moved to free safety. Sophomore Desmond King will start at one corner, obviously. Maurice Fleming, Sean Draper, and Greg Mabin are all in the mix for the other cornerback position. Ferentz said that the competition at that position was enough to force Lomax's move. John Lowdermilk is listed as the starter at strong safety. So much for Nico Law.
- When Iowa signed a last-minute JUCO punter recruit to a class already short of scholarships, we thought Connor Kornbrath's days were numbered. Yet both Kornbrath and Dillon Kidd are listed on the depth chart, a staggering and inexplicable state of affairs. Marshall Koehn looks like the presumptive favorite at placekicker, but we all know how tenuous that can be.
- No word on returners at the moment, though Ferentz indicated that some freshmen could be in the mix to contribute there.
We'll update with additional information from Wednesday afternoon's press events.