It's been a while since we've done one of these posts and given the recent turmoil, it seemed like a good time to check in. So let's take a look at the depth chart for the Iowa-Northwestern game, released on Monday. As ever, the same caveats regarding the depth chart and its reliability apply.
QB: Jake Rudock (JR), C.J. Beathard (SO)
FB: John Kenny (RS FR), Macon Plewa (JR)
RB: Mark Weisman (SR), Jordan Canzeri (JR)
WR: Kevonte Martin-Manley (SR), Matt VandeBerg (SO)
WR: Jacob Hillyer (JR), Damond Powell (SR)
SE: Tevaun Smith (JR), Jacob Hillyer (JR)
TE: Ray Hamilton (SR) or Jake Duzey (JR), Henry Krieger-Coble (JR)
LT: Brandon Scherff (SR), Ike Boettger (RS FR)
LG: Sean Welsh (RS FR), Eric Simmons (JR)
C: Austin Blythe (JR), Tommy Gaul (SR)
RG: Jordan Walsh (JR), Boone Myers (RS FR)
RT: Andrew Donnal (SR), Cole Croston (SO)
K: Marshall Koehn (JR), Mick Ellis (FR)
1) The comma between Rudock and Beathard doesn't mean anything -- except when it does. The QB position has been listed the same on every depth chart this year: Rudock comma Beathard. That includes the Purdue week, when Rudock was far from 100% physically and Beathard ended up taking all of the snaps. Which is to say: the depth chart isn't completely trustworthy. That said, Rudock was injured the week of the Purdue game and his lack of fitness was the main reason he didn't play in that game. There have been no reports that Rudock is dealing with any injuries of late and when healthy Rudock has been the primary quarterback for Iowa this season. Ferentz may still discuss the possibility of using Beathard in the game, but until there's more evidence supporting that, it's likely to just be lip service.
2) Derrick Willies was listed behind Tevaun Smith on every depth chart this year through the Indiana game. He was not listed on the depth chart for the Maryland game, is not listed on the depth chart for this game, and based on his Instagram comments, will not be listed on any Iowa depth charts going forward. Sigh.
3) This depth chart is also the first time all season that Jake Duzey has been featured in the tight end space. More than anything, this just seems like long-overdue recognition of the fact that he's been a featured player all season long. Duzey is actually second on the team in receptions (26), fifth in receiving yards (180), and tied for the team lead in touchdown catches (2). He's unquestionably been a significant part of Iowa's offense all season; listing him as a co-starter now is just a belated recognition of that fact.
4) This is also the emptiest that the running back slot has been on the depth chart all season. For several weeks, the depth chart listed Weisman and Damon Bullock as co-starters with Canzeri and LeShun Daniels as co-backups. Then it listed Weisman and Canzeri as co-starters with Daniels as the backup. This week's depth chart features just Weisman (listed as the starter) and Canzeri (listed as the backup). Per The Gazette's Marc Morehouse, Daniels may be out of action after undergoing surgery to treat an ankle/foot injury. As for Bullock... he wasn't listed on the last few depth charts, either, but he's fresh off a career-best performance catching the ball against Maryland and there have been no recent reports of him being injured. Listed on the depth chart or not, we should probably expect to see a healthy amount of Bullock on Saturday.
LE: Nate Meier (JR), Mike Hardy (SR)
LDT: Carl Davis (SR), Nathan Bazata (RS FR)
RDT: Louis Trinca-Pasat (SR), Jaleel Johnson (SO)
RE: Drew Ott (JR), Mike Hardy (SR)
OLB: Bo Bower (RS FR), Ben Nieman (FR)
MLB: Quinton Alston (SR), Travis Perry (JR)
WLB: Josey Jewell (RS FR), Cole Fisher (JR)
LC: Greg Mabin (SO), Maurice Fleming (SO)
SS: John Lowdermilk (SR), Miles Taylor (FR)
FS: Jordan Lomax (JR), Anthony Gair (SO)
RC: Desmond King (SO), Sean Draper (JR)
P: Dillon Kidd (JR) or Connor Kornbrath (JR)
PR: Riley McCarron (SO), Matt VandeBerg (SO)
KR: Jonathan Parker (RS FR), Jordan Canzeri (JR)
1) There isn't as much intrigue on the defensive side the ball; Spearman's suspension-induced absence is the only change among the defensive starters. But we knew that was coming -- Spearman will miss at least the Northwestern game while he serves his suspension. In his absence, Josey Jewell ascends to the starting WLB spot, as expected.
2) Kornbrath saw his first action of the season against Maryland ten days ago and now finds himself listed as the co-starter at punter with Dillon Kidd. How the playing time at punter is divided between Kornbrath and Kidd remains to be seen.