It’s only natural we have a metric assload of news in the days leading up to this anticipated football season.
So let’s start with the basketball team:
Iowa hoops announced its conference schedule, a week after releasing its non-conference cupcakes.
Two Saturday home games is about as much as you can ask for here, and another two apiece on Friday and Sunday is pretty solid.
The schedule itself is tough enough because we’re talking the Big Ten here. Take care of business in the conference and we’re back dancing.
And now to football.
Some of the biggest news to come out recently was the emergence of Ivory Kelly Martin as Iowa’s No. 1 running back.
When fall camp started, IKM was listed RB2 on the depth chart behind Toren Young. If Iowa were to play tomorrow, Kelly-Martin would be your starter, per Brian Ferentz:
“Obviously, he’s got some wiggle. He’s got some power. He’s got really good balance,” Brian Ferentz said. “He’s a guy, Mekhi (Sargent) is the same way, very difficult to bring down. They have enough power, but if you don’t bring them to the ground, they will find a way to stay upright and keep moving. Those things are really good.
“But one thing (Kelly-Martin) does is a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield. So that gives him a third-down element. There’s plenty of things we do to pre-release those guys and get them involved. But the flip side of that is sometimes you have those guys on third down who do a great job of coming out of the backfield and catching the ball, but they’re not so good stepping up into the ‘A’ gap and handling pressure when we need to be in a six- or seven-man protection. He can do that, which gives him that added element of being really a four-down player for us. That’s a pretty good deal.”
Scott Dochterman mentions in the above piece that Iowa’s linebacker situation still isn’t ironed out.
Amani Jones will start in the middle, and Nick Niemann will start somewhere else, whether it’s weak-side or outside linebacker.
Barrington Wade is a candidate at weak-side, while outside could see Djimon Colbert and/or Kristian Welch.
The greatest soundbite from media availability yesterday came from Brian Ferentz, who was poked a little bit about Iowa having four starters out on suspension in the season-opener:
Brian Ferentz with strong reply when asked about having two OTs suspended for opener: “We have a situation that is all of our own doing. This is the University of Iowa. You cannot get out of jail on Thursday and play on Saturday. That’s not how it works here." (1/2)— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) August 21, 2018
*Eyes point north. And East. And West. And the South.*
Semi-related to Iowa’s offensive tackle situation:
Saw a cast on Alaric Jackson’s right arm during our press conference today.— Tyler Devine (@devine_tyler) August 21, 2018
I didn’t see anything else about this online, so I have to assume it’s minor.
We all know the defensive line is poised to be downright nasty this season.
Anthony Nelson and Parker Hesse are the starting defensive ends, but it’s getting really tough to ignore what AJ Epenesa is bringing to the table.
Epenesa’s disruption numbers as a true freshman last season were outstanding (4.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, at least double-digits in hits and pressures). What exactly does he need to work on? “The thing that comes easy to him is playing on the edge and rushing the passer,” Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle said. “He needs to be stronger so he can be a more physical defensive lineman at the point of attack. He needs to get bigger and stronger to play the point well.”
As uncertain as the linebacker position is ... the certainty of the defensive line gives me optimism for whoever Iowa trots out behind the Nelson’s, Hesse, AJE and whoever else we throw in a three technique.
- True Freshman Julius Brents has already risen to the No. 3 CB slot, writes to Chad Leistikow.
- Speaking of Iowa and defensive backs ... this piece from Dochterman on Phil Parker, and his propensity to pump out shutdown corners is a must read.
- Some pretty exciting Noah-Fant related news:
Brian Ferentz, Parker and LeVar Woods addressed the media yesterday. Their Q&A’s are below in video, per Hawkeye Report:
- And we have a little Iowa nod across the pond! Congrats to Norwich City for striking fear into the hearts of visitors with a pink locker room.
- Wesley Morris on Aretha Franklin is required reading.
Go forth, and Go Hawks.