IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT. Doubt about which of this year's Hawkeyes will be the star of the 2015 season it was settled today. Drew Ott handled new starting left tackle Boone Myers like he was one of those big red practice dummies you see defensive linemen work against in individual drills. Domination may be underselling Ott's performance. On the other side, Nate Meier had his way with new right tackle Ike Boettger too. Iowa's got a real problem at offensive tackle.
I had Ott for 6 sacks. Meier with two including a sack/strip. CJB 11 of 22 for 115 yards. Mitchell 9 rush for 23. Kittle 2 for 28 with 1s.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) August 15, 2015
That hindered things, certainly. It made it real tough to get a good read on the 2015 Iowa offense when the d-ends were in the backfield in under 2 seconds. This was one practice. One of many this Fall. Still, things need to get better if Big Ten Championships, like Kirk Ferentz mentioned, are in the future. After this one snapshot, a bowl game might be a better benchmark.
Put a sheet over the offense.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) August 15, 2015
SO, IT WAS ONE PRACTICE. Let's focus on the positives. I liked what I saw from Derrick Mitchell. LeShun Daniels and Jordan Canzeri were limited, as starters usually are in live scrimmages, and Mitchell and Akrum Wadley appear to be the next tier at running back. Mitchell has been a running back since Spring and his improvement since the open practice at Valley has been steady. He's added weight and looks to deliver a blow to a defender while displaying good feet at times too. Both Mitchell and Wadley will factor in this season and Mitchell may be second string behind Daniels next year.
*UNOFFICIAL* (my) running stats from practice: L.Daniels 2-(-2), Canzeri 2-(-3), Wadley 16-51, Mitchell 12-35, Joly 5-17, Graham 4-10.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) August 15, 2015
The third tier at tailback was Marcel Joly and Eric Graham. They got some work but the bulk went to tier two. Graham is bigger than I expected but it was tough to get a real gauge with his limited reps. I didn't see C.J. Hilliard and wonder if he was invited to camp.
Iowa's starting three wide receivers appear set with Tevaun Smith, Jacob Hillyer and Matt VandeBerg. Behind those three, Riley McCaron and Andrew Stone got some reps. Iowa split out tight ends George Kittle, Jon Wisnieski and Jameer Outsey a few times. Outsey surprised with the number of reps he got with the second and third team. He had a solid block and perhaps that's why he's in there.
Jerminic Smith was the true freshman wide receiver to get some reps with the second unit and cashed in with five or maybe six catches. Emmanul Ogwo, Ronald Nash, Josh Jackson and Adrian Falconer worked exclusively with the third team. Jay Scheel worked in with the second unit occasionally and had a nice run after catch later in practice.
*Unofficial* receiving: J.Smith 4-27, Kittle 3-66, MVB 3-37, Kulick 2-54 (TD), McCarron 2-24, Scheel 2-21, T.Smith 2-19, Wieting 2-8.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) August 15, 2015
Jordan Walsh is still out and Sean Welsh got the nod at guard. James Daniels is second team but did get reps with the first unit. I think we can forget a red-shirt for Daniels as the coaches got him a ton of work today.
Tyler Wiegers is a much better player than in the Spring. He looked comfortable and in control but did have a pick six. I have less concern about it all falling apart if Beathard were to go down. Weigers has solid arm strength, second to Beathard, and can move a little too. The freshmen, Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook, looked like freshmen. Both have mechanical issues they'll need to work through. Boyle throws the ball from his shoulder and Cook has a hitch. Of the two, Boyle has the stronger arm but Cook looks like his frame can easily add 25 pounds. I wonder if either will still be a quarterback when they leave Iowa.
Wiegers had 13 of 22 for 184 yards, TD and a pick 6 to Draper. Drew Cook was picked off twice.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) August 15, 2015
Defensively, Iowa needs to develop some depth at defensive tackle. Jaleel Johnson and Nate Bazata are nice players but there's not a lot behind those two. Faith Ekakitie is there but he's a guy that will spell either to keep them fresh. Ekakitie did come on the field when Iowa went to a nickel defense (as did Maurice Fleming).
Linebackers were okay. But, again, it's hard to gauge with the Ott-Monster wreaking havoc. Bo Bower was getting to the hole and made a nice tackle or two in the red zone period.
In the secondary, Jordan Lomax was on the sidelines and Brandon Snyder filled in. Miles Taylor really stood out a play or two and the rumors are true. He likes to hit. Iowa's wide receivers really have nothing for Desmond King. Iowa's good back there.
It appeared there's a few new faces Iowa's trying to get up to speed. Derrick Mitchell is one. James Daniels is another. I was impressed with Outsey (outside of actually catching the ball) after having moved to tight end just this Summer. Jerminic Smith will play this year too.
Ferentz said they'll decide on the red-shirt thing after a scrimmage next Friday night. I think Smith is a lock. Others, I'd guess Graham (due to AIRBHG), Ogwo, Falconer, Daniels, Michael Ojemudia and maybe Angelo Garbutt or Jack Hockaday on special teams. Iowa can afford to red-shirt the linebackers and perhaps they will.
Did you go? What did you see? Please share below.