I have made a promise with myself that I’m going to find ways to be positive throughout the rest of the season. After spending 4 hours watching the eyesore that was the CyHawk game, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is how every Iowa game will look this season. Well, except the Wisconsin game, that one may have to get taken off of TV to spare everybody the 5 years it will take off their life. We’ll deal with that when we get to it however. Onto Stock Watch.
It’s week 3 and it already feels like this article is going to follow the same pattern week after week. I’ll pick a whole host of guys whose stock is on the up from the defense, sprinkle in a little Tory Taylor and/or Sam Laporta and call it good. Should you keep reading Stock Watch if thats the case? Absolutely! Why? Well I’m a nice guy I would say, that should be enough.
I continue to harp on the fact that the Iowa offense CAN sink lower. It’s defying all odds to do so but it’s finding a way. Now that it sits dead last in country in yards per game can it fall lower still? I’m nervous to even think about it.
Ticker Symbol (SWISS AK)
Simply put, Dejean is all over the field. This kid continues to fit the Linderbaum mold of somebody who everybody knows is a star the moment the game starts. After two games, the QB from OABCIG has taken over the CASH position for good. Against the Cyclones, Dejean recorded 11 tackles while also defending two passes and recording an interception in the end zone. The pick was telling of how good this kid is as the WR on the play was running a corner route and got leverage on Dejean. It appeared as though Dekkers had an easy throw to the space in the back corner of the end zone but Dejean stayed glued to the Cyclone receiver eventually overcoming him for the pick. I cant wait to watch this kid for the next 2 years.
Lukas Van Ness
Ticker Symbol (HULK)
When you block two punts you’re going to find your name on this list. The 6’5 sophomore continues to find ways to impact the game. In a show of pure strength, LVN overpowered a personal protector twice to get his face on one punt and hand on another. Towards the end of the game he almost got a third as well. I’m sure he is not satisfied with his numbers from the d line where he totaled just 2 tackles with 1 being for loss. Expect a big game from him this weekend and those stats to climb. As the season progresses, the Hawks are going to continue to need the game breaking plays that Van Ness provided Saturday.
Ticker Symbol: (SPTMS. LGND)
I’m going to need to change Terry’s ticker symbol soon as he is becoming a beast in the secondary. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, there is no player on this roster easier to cheer for than Terry Roberts. This man continues to personify what it means to be a Hawkeye. Tough, Smart, and Physical. On a day where Xavier Hutchinson was doing his best to carve the Iowa secondary, Roberts kept his side of the field on lock down. For the game, Scary Terry had 6 tackles and a pick that I’m sure he is still thinking about taking it back for six. With Jermari Harris now out for the season, The Hawkeyes need Roberts to continue to produce at the level he is.
Ticker Symbol: (TEU84)
It’s incredibly difficult to place anybody who took part in that putrid performance on the stock risers list. After an 8 reception game however I’ll sneak Sam in. If not simply for imagining what the offense would be if he wasn’t on the team. They’d still be last I suppose, but “more last”? Is that a thing?
If the Hawkeye offense is going to be this bad they may just need to find ways to target Laporta 90% of the time in the passing game. The Cyclones threw the ball 19 times to Hutchinson and at this point the Hawks should do the same. That includes finding routes that allow Sam to get open down the seam and be a more vertical threat. On Saturday, Laporta’s 8 catches only went for 55 yards for an average of 6.9 yards with a long of 11. Those yardage numbers are fine for an average offense, but for this Hawkeye team they are going to need to be higher.
Ticker Symbol: (FUTR HC)
Some of the only forms of creativity we as Hawkeye fans are privy to on Saturdays come from the mind of this man. From Pole Cat, to fake punts, to punting schemes and punt blocks, LeVar Woods is right up there with Phil Parker for best coach on the team. As a former punter/kicker, and kicking coach at the high school level, I know some folks do not value what a difference excellent special teams play does to a teams odds at winning a football game. On Saturday, LeVar did all he could to scheme up a winning game plan. LVN said as much in the post game when he said they had noticed a weakness in Iowa State’s punt unit and they made a plan to exploit it. The best insight I heard this week about LeVar’s coaching prowess came from former long snapper Tyler Kluver on his Iowa podcast. Kluv explained that Woods makes everybody on the special teams unit believe that the game rests on their shoulders every time they take the field. Whether it be flying down the field to make a tackle, blocking a punt, you name it. That causes everybody on that unit to be fully engaged throughout the week, knowing that they may be the reason the Hawkeyes secure a victory in that Saturdays game.
That’s head coach material...
Ticker Symbol: (POOP)
Refraining from calling out individuals today as there has been enough negativity following whatever that abomination was Saturday afternoon. It was brought up in the BHGP chat over the weekend that watching Iowa games is becoming something that simply isn’t fun. Sure it’s fun to watch the defense fly around and see what surprises LeVar Woods ay have in the special teams game but the stress that comes with knowing those two units have to excel for us to have any shot is becoming burdensome to the viewer. It’s so odd to watch literally any other game and see al of the space the offense has to operate. It looks easy. The Hawkeye offense on the other hand has made picking up ten yards the equivalent of scoring a touchdown it seems. The combined exhale of the fanbase after a rare 1st down is proof enough that we as fans have lost hope in this scheme. Moving forward I know I may sound naive but I hope there is some semblance of an attempt to change. You can’t change an offense full scale during the season I understand that but I would also say “you can’t be any worse”. When an offense sits in last in major college football, and the team in second to last is damn near a full 100 yards ahead of you, anything and everything must be attempted. If it isn’t, those responsible don’t live in reality.
That’s it for week 3. Hopefully a tune up game vs Nevada can act as the petri dish for offensive experimentation. It won’t, but one can only hope. Incarnate Word put up 55 on the Wolf Pack last week including 606 yards of total offense. The Hawkeyes offense should be fine right...... right?