After a full week of rest, the Hawkeyes will be heading to Madison to take on the 16th ranked Badgers this weekend in a matchup that will largely determine how Iowa fans view this season.
Up to this point, things have gone largely according to script with Iowa beating teams they were expected to (we’ll include Iowa State here) and losing to Michigan and Penn State as predicted. Now, with 13th ranked Minnesota slated to host a top-5 Penn State team Saturday, Iowa has an opportunity to put their Big Ten West fate back in their own hands. All that stands in their way is a Wisconsin team that’s won 6 of the last 7 meetings against the Hawkeyes.
Unfortunately for Iowa, it looks like they’ll once again be playing a bit shorthanded. The Hawkeyes released their depth chart this afternoon and some notable names are again missing.
It’s still early but TE Nate Wieting, WR Brandon Smith, LB Kristian Welch, G Kyler Schott do not appear.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) November 4, 2019
Note: This can change (and it usually does) by Saturday.
* Oliver Martin isn’t on the depth chart
** Not sure why
Questions on a player’s status? See above note pic.twitter.com/lcGfLVS54c
Doc nails the notables here.
- TE Nate Wieting is absent from the depth chart again this week. After the breakout performance from freshman Sam LaPorta a week ago, that seems a little less worrisome, though Wieting is considered Iowa’s best blocking tight end. This could be a factor in the running game.
- WR Brandon Smith is out again, as expected. As with Wieting, some fears were quashed with the performance from Tyrone Tracy last week. However, Tracy was already seeing time and having both weapons on the outside sure would have been nice for an offense that’s struggled to score points the way Iowa’s has all season.
- Speaking of struggles, the middle of the offensive line has been a problem most of the year. Part of that has been injuries at the guard position. The Hawkeyes get no help this week with Kyler Schott still not expected back. Mark Kallenberger is going to be a stud, much like center Tyler Linderbaum, but both are young and Kallenberger’s future is at tackle. How he holds up in the middle will be a key indicator of Iowa’s chances of pulling off the upset in Madison.
- Senior LB and Wisconsin native Kristian Welch is still not back. That could be a major factor for Iowa given the success the Badgers have had this season (and really every season) on the ground. Dillon Doyle has done well in his time at MLB, but losing a guy like Welch in a game this big is a significant blow for Iowa and a sad development for the player.
Outside of that, things appear pretty status quo from two weeks ago. That’s disappointing given the additional time off for rest. It is early in the week so there’s the potential we see something different on Saturday. It’s also worth noting the Iowa staff has been slow in updating depth charts for status changes for some time.
The 18th ranked Hawkeyes will kick off against the 16th ranked Badgers at 3pm on Saturday. The game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.