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Overreaction Monday: The Return of Hawkeye Football

The Hawkeyes are back to work and Iowa fans have the drip, drip of information to quench their thirst until August 31st.

Outback Bowl - Mississippi State v Iowa
Don’t blink, Hawkeye football will be here and gone in no time.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

This time of year has a tendency to really drag out while simultaneously flying by. It reminds a bit of the old saying all new parents are warned with, “the days drag out but the years fly by.” Except there are no kids here. Only football games it seems we’ve been waiting years for and the grains of salt slowly sifting through the hour glass as we wait to tear another page off the calendar on our desk.

Yet here we are, in the first full week of August, and despite what will feel like an agonizingly long time until kickoff on August 31, we are only 26 days away. We have only 3 more Saturdays to endure without a game to enjoy. And best of all, we’re to that time of year where we start to get some slow drips of water from the faucet after a summer in the desert.

Fall camp officially opened on Friday and Hawkeye fans are slowly starting to get a taste of that sweet nectar that is information, photo and video content from the first few practices. Over the weekend, we got our first photo gallery dump. You can view the whole gallery here.

Now, we’ll be taking a deep dive into what is and isn’t visible in this and any other available galleries, later this week. But this is Overreaction Monday and we’ve been searching for any tidbit of insight, so buckle up as we take a (quick) ride.

First and foremost, Oliver Martin is in the house! We are still anxiously awaiting a decision on his request for a waiver for immediate playing time, but in the meantime, he’s in camp and taking reps against Iowa’s first team cash/nickel back.

We’re still Iowa so nobody should be holding their breath here, but Martin is potentially a very nice surprise in waiting for the Hawkeyes. He has a great combination of size and speed that can really help Iowa as they look for answers in the passing game this season after losing T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant to the NFL.

Another guy with the potential to add a new element to Iowa’s offense is incoming freshman running back Tyler Goodson. Goodson averaged nearly 7 yards per carry en route to more than 1,100 rushing yards and 25 TDs in his final season at North Gwinnett last year.

It’s always hard to project high school athletes at the next level, but Goodson put up big numbers against great competition in Georgia. Now we get our first glimpse of him on the practice field and he seems to look the part.

Tyler Goodson has that juice.
Photo by Max Allen via https://admin.hawkeyesports.com/galleries/?image=150354

The depth chart is crowded in front of Goodson, but he brings a bit more quickness and shiftiness than most of Iowa’s other backs. He has the potential to be a contributor this year and the potential is exciting.

Speaking of quickness and potential, Amani Jones is a senior linebacker who has displayed loads of potential since he stepped foot on campus. That potential has never materialized into a full time contributor on defense. While that likely won’t change this season, Jones is poised to do whatever it takes to leave Iowa City on a high note.

That means a shift from middle linebacker to more of an edge rusher. While Jones still contends he’s a linebacker, the ability for him to reduce decision-making and focus on utilizing his talents with fewer reads seems like a great opportunity.

If Amani Jones can pin his ears back, opposing offenses should be worried.
Photo by Max Allen via https://admin.hawkeyesports.com/galleries/?image=150354

Jones has pure athleticism and strength that can’t be taught. Allowing him to use it with fewer responsibilities in the pass game or aligning the defense should open things up for him. With opposing offenses already having to worry about great pass rushers like A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston, another weapon off the edge for Phil Parker should really worry offensive coordinators in the West.

Perhaps more worrisome for offensive coordinators than yet another edge rusher in Iowa City would be if the Hawkeyes pair that pass rush with a stout interior to the defensive line. While the most recent depth chart shows Cedric Lattimore and Brady Reiff in the starting role, Hawkeye fans should be salivating over the backups.

No, not because that’s how fanbases inherently work, but because the guys behind the starters are every bit as talented as the starters. We saw last season how effective the defense was when they could rotate through 7 or 8 defensive linemen. Doing so requires little drop off when you get to that second group.

This year, that’s going to include a pair of three hundred pounders in Daviyon Nixon and Noah Shannon. Neither have played a down for Iowa, but both have the potential to be the run stuffer in the middle of the defense. While Shannon certainly has a bright future, Nixon seems most likely to make an instant impact this season.

He’s listed at 6’3” and 304 pounds, which for starters is not a small human being. But this is a kid who was playing high school basketball and dunking all over the place not long ago. He’s big and athletic and he’s going to be a handful.

Daviyon Nixon has a rare combination of size and quickness that should make him a problem for offensive lines.
Photo by Max Allen via https://admin.hawkeyesports.com/galleries/?image=150354

If opposing offenses aren’t able to get some tough yards against the Hawkeyes in the running game, Phil Parker is going to have his edge rushers feasting on QB sandwiches and defensive backs leading the nation in interceptions.

Again.

It’s one photo gallery and the team is only a handful of practices into the season. But this is the time of year where fans can truly overreact to every snippet of information that trickles out. And over these next few weeks, we’re actually going to see that info come out here and there.

We’re sure to get some more photos (and hopefully one of those fantastic video productions) this week. But more importantly, we cap this week with Media Day on Friday and Kid’s Day on Saturday. That means tons of great quotes, sound bites and photos to get us through the weekend and into next week.

By that time, we’ll exactly two weeks from the first game week of the year. The days between now and then are sure to drag on, but in the blink of an eye, we’ll be walking down Melrose to greet old friends. Big ass turkeys wafting through the air. Black and gold painting the streets. And Hawkeye football back in our lives in earnest.

Hawkeye Football is back.