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INPIYLTI: Iowa Football Holding Annual Kid's Day This Evening At Kinnick

The Hawkeyes open the gates at Kinnick for a peek at this year's team. If you're planning to attend you'll need to know some details.

Joe Robbins

IF YOU'RE HEADING TO KINNICK LATER TODAY. Here's the details from Hawkeye Sports. Kinnick gates open at 4:00 PM (CST) and the practice scrimmage starts at 5:00. There's also an autograph session for kids following the session. No tailgating. Here's a roster if you need it.

I'll be heading over and sending out misspelled/auto corrected confusing tweets. If Twitter is your thing, here's a Twitter list to follow that consists of Hawkeye media members. Hopefully, one of you super-duper members will keep folks updated by embedded tweets here later. If you feel so compelled there will be lots of good karma headed your way.

WHAT TO WATCH? Marc Morehouse has a list of what to watch including position battles. I'll include my own here right quick and a little of what I've heard from the rumor circuit so take it with a grain of salt. We'll certainly find out if there's truth to some of this tonight.

The quarterback battle may be figured out. Jake Rudock appears to be the guy this season with red-shirt freshman C.J. Beathard moving ahead of Cody Sokol for number two. Still, Iowa may have a package or two for Sokol so we'll see if he gets any interesting formations or looks tonight at practice. I don't expect to see much difference in the kind of reps these three get but maybe Sokol runs a little more read-option than the rest. I doubt it but something to consider down the road.

Like previous scrimmages, don't expect Weisman and Bullock to get a lot of work. In the spring scrimmage it was Canzeri and Malloy that got a bulk of the carries. Malloy had a hamstring issue earlier in camp and tonight we may see a lot of LeShun Daniels. The true frosh is turning heads in practice and might be working his way ahead of Malloy and Barkley Hill on the depth chart. There's still the usual caveats with Daniels being a frosh and running in a zone scheme takes time to develop vision and timing. I think there's a good chance he plays this year and they stagger the red-shirts to Akrum Wadley and Jonathan Parker.

Kevonte Martin-Manley is the only wide receiver set in stone as a starter. Iowa will substitute frequently at receiver so the depth chart really goes five to six players deep. There's talk that the light has gone on for Tevaun Smith and he may be the second best or even best receiver on the roster. Newcomer Damond Powell will attract a lot of attention as he's brought speed to the receiving corps. Jordan Cotton, Don Shumpert and Jacob Hillyer are also in the mix but they have to prove they can catch the ball consistently. Of the freshmen, Derek Willies may be the one to get some playing time this season. Still, A.J. Jones, Derrick Mitchell Jr., Andre Harris and Matt VanDeberg will be new faces to watch too.

Ray Hamilton has improved this offseason and he may be as good as C.J. Fiedorowicz. Those are your top two TEs and expect the rest to get a lot of work in scrimmage. There was something interesting from the spring scrimmage at Valley Stadium that I'll watch to see if repeats today; the tight end split out wide. We know there will be TEs in the slot this year but a TE out wide brings a hefty blocker for the wide receiver bubble screen. And we know how Greg Davis loves bubble screens.

The offensive line should be the strength of the offense. There's the bookends: Bret Van Sloten and Brandon Scherff. The latest practice pics show Andrew Donnal at left guard in place of Connor Boffeli. If that holds that means Donnal climbed back up the depth chart after losing the last half of last season to injury. There's been plenty of pics of Nolan Macmillan too. He appears healthy and you have to figure he's one of Iowa's top seven linemen. Also, how close to playing time is Ryan Ward? He stated at media day that he has worked exclusively at tackle so it's likely he's looking at mop-up time this year. That leaves Cole Croston and Mitch Keppy, along with Boffeli and MacMillan to push Jordan Walsh at right guard. I feel the interior line needs to prove themselves as both Austin Blythe and Walsh looked bad at times last year.

Dominic Alvis probably has one of the end positions locked down. The battle on the other end is between Riley McMinn and Drew Ott. McMinn came to Iowa two years ago with a 6'7" frame but 240ish pounds. He's added the weight and maybe now he'll know how to play while carrying it. Faith Ekakitie moved to DE in spring practice but he may still need time to figure out the position.

At defensive tackle, there's a top three of Louis Trinca-Pasat (who sat out spring ball with an injury), Carl Davis and Darian Cooper. Those three will rotate but it will be interesting to see if Cooper moves ahead of LTP on the depth chart. Davis looked like a beast in the spring drills and we'll see if he continues to show improvement or returns to the old Carl. Jaleel Johnson is making some noise in fall camp and will push for playing time. Mike Hardy is another that figures into playing time. Of the true freshmen, Nate Bazata has the body to play at this level right now. He's coming from eight-man football so there's the learning curve.

I won't talk about the linebackers much because we know what's there. In the secondary, rumors have Nico Law reclaiming the starting strong safety spot. He and John Lowdermilk are in a heated battle for starter there. Kevin Draper had the nickle DB nailed down but he's being pushed by true freshman Desmond King. There's a lot of new faces to watch back there for the future: Solomon Warfield, Malik Rucker, Maurice Fleming, Ruben Lile and Anthony Gair will provide depth for the season. Of the true freshmen (Warfield, Rucker and King), King is my pick to play this year.

There's special teams too. We'll see Fleming, Canzeri, Powell and a few others field punts and kickoffs but we really won't know who earns the job until game day. Punter, kicker, etc. are already determined so there's not much to worry about here.

Finally, tempo. With all the talk of the no-huddle there may be some confusion. Chip Kelly changed the game at Oregon with his red light, yellow light and green light method of controlling the game tempo. Iowa will huddle less but that doesn't mean they'll hurry more. If Iowa uses Kelly's method they'll probably be more at orange speed. While not huddling there will be a "look at me" to the sideline for play calls. Will they do that tonight? I assume so since Greg Davis said at media day the team doesn't huddle.

There'll be a recap of some type tomorrow. If you plan on attending, please feel free to share your opinions. Real football is only 12 days away. Iowa football only 14. Yay, football!


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