Iowa released their depth chart for the Illinois State game on Friday and for the most part it's not too surprising, particularly among the starters. Training camp chatter has translated into a few changes in the depth spots, though.
QB: C.J. Beathard, Tyler Wiegers
RB: LeShun Daniels, Jr., Jordan Canzeri
FB: Macon Plewa, Adam Cox
WR: Tevaun Smith, Jerminic Smith
WR: Matthew VandeBerg, Riley McCarron
WR: Jacob Hillyer, Riley McCarron
TE: Henry Krieger-Coble, George Kittle
LT: Boone Myers, Cole Croston
LG: Sean Welsh, James Daniels
C: Austin Blythe, Eric Simmons/Steven Ferentz
RG: Jordan Walsh, Eric Simmons
RT: Ike Boettger, Keegan Render
No change at the top -- as everyone knows, we ride or die with C.J. this year. LeShun remains ahead of Canzeri for RB1 snaps, although it will be interesting to see how Canzeri is incorporated into the offensive attack. A healthy Canzeri could be a very useful weapon for an Iowa offense that's often been too one-dimensional. Riley McCarron has ascended to "super-backup" status and is reportedly one of the "top four" receivers (along with Smith, VandeBerg, and Hillyer). We'll see how many snaps (and looks) that actually translates to in reality. Meanwhile, a true freshman cracks the two-deeps at wide receiver; no surprise that it's Jerminic Smith, who's garnered the most positive buzz among the young receivers since training camp began. WR still seems like one of the most fluid positions on the depth chart (outside of Smith's spot at the top of the ladder) -- if someone can come in and make a few plays, it shouldn't be hard to move up the depth chart and get more opportunities.
Another true freshman features on the OL two-deeps and it's James Daniels at LG. Daniels has been the feature of rave reviews and the fact that he's been around since January surely doesn't hurt his odds of playing this fall. True freshman offensive linemen rarely play at Iowa, but Daniels seems likely to buck that trend. His future at Iowa is likely as the anchor of the line at C, but if the guards struggle (and Welsh and Walsh have done so in the past) that's likely his quickest route onto the field. Of course, the big question marks are at tackle and, on paper, nothing has changed there -- Myers remains the man at LT and Boettger is the guy at RT. We know Croston has seen some snaps with the first team, though, and we know Myers has struggled when he's been under public view in practice (we also know, according to the coaches, that he's had better days against the Iowa DL in private practices). Myers and Boettger figure to be the first guys on the field on Saturday, but it will be very interesting to see just how patient the Ferentzes will be if Myers struggles again.
And, yes, Iowa's offensive depth chart lists 12 starters. It's a bold strategy -- let's see how it plays out.
DE: Nate Meier, Matt Nelson
DT: Jaleel Johnson, Faith Ekakitie
DT: Nathan Bazata, Kyle Terlouw
DE: Drew Ott, Parker Hesse
OLB: Ben Niemann, Cole Fisher/Bo Bower
MLB: Josey Jewell, Travis Perry
WLB: Cole Fisher, Bo Bower/Aaron Mends
CB: Greg Mabin, Maurice Fleming
SS: Miles Taylor, Anthony Gair
FS: Jordan Lomax, Brandon Snyder
CB: Desmond King, Sean Draper
The main change of note on the defensive side of the ball is Cole Fisher usurping Bo Bower for the starting WLB gig. The LB spots have been juggled around since last fall; hopefully the new faces (or new starting places) result in much more effective LB play. Bower figures to be first LB on the field if something happens to any of the current starters.
I don't think there have been any changes to the defensive line or secondary.
P: Dillon Kidd, Marshall Koehn
K: Marshall Koehn, Mick Ellis
No return men listed, so we'll have to live in suspense on that front until Saturday (unless KF decides to spill the beans during his press appearances this week). Kidd held off Koehn for the starting punter gig; hopefully he's able to produce improved results at that spot than Iowa has had there in recent years. (Or Iowa could just not punt at all on Saturday -- that would be cool, too.)