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DEPTH CHARTIN': IOWA VS MINNESOTA

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In which Akrum Wadley's totally awesome week continues.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Last week's depth chart was marginally more interesting than normal, even if it was mainly just confirming what we already knew (Rudock remains ahead of Beathard, Jewell will replace Spearman, etc.).  This week's depth chart isn't hugely notable, either, although it does better reflect the actual Iowa offense from Saturday.

Or in a different format, if you prefer:

OFFENSE

QB: Jake Rudock (JR), C.J. Beathard (SO)
FB: Macon Plewa (JR), John Kenny (RS FR)
RB: Mark Weisman (SR), Akrum Wadley (RS FR)
WR: Kevonte Martin-Manley (SR), Matt VandeBerg (SO)
WR: Jacob Hillyer (JR), Damond Powell (SR)
WR: 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: Austin Blythe (JR), Boone Myers (RS FR) 
C: Tommy Gaul (SR), Eric Simmons (JR)
RG: Jordan Walsh (JR), Sean Welsh (RS FR)
RT: Andrew Donnal (SR), Cole Croston (SO)
K: Marshall Koehn (JR), Mick Ellis (FR)

1) Fullback features a swap of Kenny and Plewa now that the latter is again healthy.  Kenny filled in fairly well -- as well as you can expect a redshirt freshman playing a new position, at least -- but Plewa is a more consistent blocker and it's not coincidental that Iowa's offense hummed a bit better with him opening holes for the Iowa running game, as noted by Marc Morehouse at The Gazette and Hawkeye Game Film at Hawkeye Nation.

2) The biggest surprise of the depth chart is probably Wadley ascending to the lead backup role behind Weisman.  It's possible that this is just a pat on the back in recognition of his strong showing against Northwestern and that when push comes to shoves Bullock and Canzeri (who may be able to play this week, per Ferentz) will get the reps ahead of Wadley.  Certainly Wadley's performance last week came about only because Canzeri was forced to sit out with a high ankle sprain and there was no need to put any more wear on Weisman's tires after Iowa opened up a big lead.  But we've seen running backs come out of nowhere to occupy a big role in the Iowa running game before and with Canzeri's injury of the lingering variety (high ankle sprains are a pain in the ass) and Bullock seemingly locked into a third-down back role, the back-up/change of pace role really might just be Wadley's for the forseeable future.  Weisman is still the bell cow and he's going to get his carries -- but he can't (and won't) get all of them, either.  (Then again, it's rarely wise to bet against the Iowa offense riding a running back into the ground...)

3) The other significant change on the offensive depth chart is in the trenches, where the musical chairs along the interior of the offensive line is now reflected by the depth chart.  The Welsh/Walsh guard combination has given way to Blythe and Walsh at guard with Tommy Gaul replacing Blythe at center.  Those changes were in place for last Saturday's game with Northwestern and it's certainly hard to find fault with the results there -- Iowa's offense looked as good as it has all year, Rudock had ample time and space to throw the ball, and Weisman and there were holes aplenty for Weisman and Wadley to run through.  Guard play was consistently inconsistent for Iowa in the first half of the season, but last Saturday felt like a step in the right direction.

DEFENSE

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)
LCB: Greg Mabin (SO), Maurice Fleming (SO)
SS: John Lowdermilk (SR), Miles Taylor (FR)
FS: Jordan Lomax (JR), Anthony Gair (SO)
RCB: 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) This is literally the exact same depth chart for this side of the ball that we saw a week ago.  Considering that a) the defense performed brilliantly and b) no one has been injured or suspended since that depth chart, there really isn't any need to shake things up.  If it ain't broke...

2) We said last week that "how the playing time at punter is divided between Kornbrath and Kidd remains to be seen."  And... it still remains to be seen.  Iowa punted just twice on Saturday (hooray!), with Kornbrath taking both kicks.  One punt went 48 yards... the other went 26.  So there's still work to do on that front.