Two weeks from now we'll be dissecting Iowa's performance in the 2016 Rose Bowl and (hopefully) celebrating an Iowa victory. But that's two weeks from now. For now, the game is still in the future (the rapidly approaching future, but still), which means it's time to talk about previews. And this week our previewin' starts with the release of the official depth cart for Iowa-Stanford. SPOILER ALERT: this depth chart looks an awful lot like the depth charts you've seen all year.
QB: C.J. Beathard, Tyler Wiegers
RB: Jordan Canzeri or LeShun Daniels, Jr., Akrum Wadley or Derrick Mitchell, Jr.
FB: Macon Plewa, Adam Cox
WR: Tevaun Smith, Jerminic Smith
WR: Matthew VandeBerg, Riley McCarron
WR: Jacob Hillyer, Adrian Falconer
TE: Henry Krieger Coble, George Kittle or Jake Duzey
LT: Boone Myers, Keegan Render
LG: Sean Welsh, James Daniels
C: Austin Blythe, Eric Simmons
RG: Jordan Walsh, Steve Ferentz
RT: Cole Croston, Ike Boettger
QUIZ: Can you spot the differences between this depth chart and the one released for Iowa-Michigan State three weeks ago?
You can't, because there aren't any differences. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? That also applies from a health standpoint -- Iowa doesn't appear to have suffered any additional setbacks on the injury front since the Big Ten Championship Game. Jordan Canzeri left that game after just two carries with an ankle injury, but it sounds like he'll be able to play against Stanford in the Rose Bowl -- hopefully he can be as effective as he was for much of this season. If not, Iowa has several other options at their disposal at RB, as evidenced by the decision to list four different players at that position.
The wide receivers look the same they have all year, minus that handful of weeks when Tevaun Smith was out of action with a knee injury and Jerminic Smith stepped in. Jerminic remains Tevaun's listed backup and Adrian Falconer remains Jacob Hillyer's listed backup, as he has for the past few depth chart. Neither player seems likely to see many snaps in the Rose Bowl (barring an injury catastrophe or a blowout), but with Tevaun Smith and Hillyer both departing after this season, the presence of Jerminic Smith and Falconer on the depth chart suggests that they'll be first in line to replace the seniors next season.
Injuries led to some dramatic shake-ups on the offensive line earlier in the season (remember when we briefly thought James Daniels was going to start at right tackle?), but everyone appears to be fairly healthy now so the lineups and rotations are pretty well set. The biggest change from the beginning of the year is Cole Croston replacing Ike Boettger at starting right tackle, although there's been some musical chairs among the backups, too.
DE: Nate Meier, Matt Nelson
DT: Jaleel Johnson, Faith Ekakitie
DT: Nathan Bazata, Kyle Terlouw
DE: Parker Hesse, Bud Spears
OLB: Ben Niemann, Bo Bower
MLB: Josey Jewell, Travis Perry
WLB: Cole Fisher, Aaron Mends or Jack Hockaday
CB: Greg Mabin, Maurice Fleming
SS: Miles Taylor, Anthony Gair
FS: Jordan Lomax, Brandon Snyder
CB: Desmond King, Sean Draper or Josh Jackson
The defensive depth chart has changed even less than the offensive depth chart over the course of the season (minus the season-ending injury to Drew Ott), so it's hardly a surprise to see it looking so familiar now. The defensive line is identical to what we've seen since Ott went down and hopefully a month off will have Nate Meier back to his hell-raising best in his final game in an Iowa uniform.
The back seven is also the same ol', same ol' from what we've seen in the past; Niemann, Jewell, and Fisher get the starts at linebacker, with Bower, Perry, and Mends or Hockaday slated as their backups. Mabin, Taylor, Lomax, and King are your starters in the secondary, with Fleming, Gair, Snyder, and Draper or Jackson as their backups. Steady as she goes.
P: Dillon Kidd, Marshall Koehn
K: Marshall Koehn, Miguel Recinos
PR: Desmond King, Riley McCarron
KR: Desmond King, Riley McCarron
LS: Tyler Kluver, Matt Nelson
H: Dillon Kidd, Tyler Wiegers
No changes to the special teams listings, either, although this part of the depth chart will look very different next year -- Kidd and Koehn are both seniors and while King is a junior, there's no guarantee that he'll return for his senior season. Special teams has gone from a clear weakness in years past to a real strength (for the most part) this year, so finding quality replacements will be critical next year. But that's a problem for another day; for now, we can hope for one more game of consistent quality from Kidd, Koehn, and King.