#67 Iowa Football 2013 Preview

Iowa Hawkeyes

Overall Rank: #67
#11 Big Ten

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Iowa posted what turned out to be some quality wins in the first half of the 2012 campaign, beating the likes of Northern Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State. But after the quality double overtime win in East Lansing, Michigan, the Hawkeyes fell apart. In the final six games, all losses, Iowa averaged less than 17 points per game, while the defense allowed nearly 29. This group is good enough to win six games and get into a bowl game, but they better take care of business early while the schedule is manageable and that may be a problem while breaking in a new quarterback.

2012 Record: (4-8, 2-6)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Kirk Ferentz (100-74 at Iowa, 112-95 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Davis
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Parker

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Mark Weisman, RB, 815 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Kevonte Martin-Manley, WR, 571 yards
Tackles: Anthony Hitchens, LB, 124
Sacks: Dominic Alvis, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Christian Kirksey, LB 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Damon Bullock, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, OL Brandon Scherff, OL Brett Van Sloten, LB James Morris, CB B.J. Lowery, S Nico Law, S Tanner Miller, DT Louis Trinca-Pasat, K Mike Meyer

Key Losses: QB James Vandenberg, WR Keenan Davis, CB Micah Hyde, DL Joe Gaglione,

Iowa always has a good offensive line and that is no different now. Left tackle Brandon Scherff will be in the NFL in a year or two and anchors an experienced group that includes returning starters Brett Van Sloten and Austin Blythe. Overall this is a big and strong line that can push around the opposition. Giving the new quarterback time to operate will be huge and so will establishing a run game after ranking 101st in the country in rushing offense last season. The Hawkeyes do not lack in running back options. Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock were thrown into the mix last year and showed flashes of talent. Weisman in particular had some great games. Michael Malloy was injured prior to the start of the 2012 season and the redshirt freshman had his second promising spring. Jordan Canzeri also missed last season and the shifty back will get plenty of carries in the fall as long as he can stay healthy. The depth at running back has allowed Coach Kirk Ferentz to have Bullock spend some time at wide receiver. But this is a unit that has a long history of injury problems. On the other side of the ball, senior linebackers Christian Kirksey, James Morris and Anthony Hitchens should make this defense better than they were last season. Their experience and production cannot be matched by many teams in the Big Ten. The secondary must replace cornerback Micah Hyde, which will be tough, but the unit is experienced.

Where the defense will run into trouble is on the line. Iowa had a horrible year as far as getting to the quarterback, tallying a mere 13 sacks on the season. Defensive end Dominic Alvis is back, but he could disappear for games at a time. Iowa needs more consistent play from tackles Louis Trinca-Pasat, Carl Davis and Drew Ott if this is going to look like the Iowa defenses we have seen in the not-so-distant past. Getting the offense on track may be a little trickier. Graduating quarterback James Vandenberg had a forgettable senior season, throwing just seven touchdowns to go with his eight interceptions. Nobody else on the team attempted a pass. Jake Rudock and Cody Sokol are the top candidates to replace Vandenberg, but redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard is an interesting option as well. The battle should go well into the fall, but Rudock is the typical big, smart Iowa quarterback. Sokol is the more athletic option, which could come in handy if the offense struggles to move the ball the way they want to move the ball. The receivers do deserve some of the blame for the poor offensive showing in 2012. However, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is one of the best in the country and Kevonte Martin-Manley has the tools to be a true number one receiver. Getting production out of more receivers will be very important and the Hawkeyes are looking at sophomore Tevaun Smith and senior Don Shumpert to provide just that.

The Bottom Line:
Iowa has been moving down the Big Ten pecking order over the last few years. The 2012 campaign could be as low as this program is going to get under Coach Ferentz. At least that is the hope in Iowa City. It was the culmination of a few years of inconsistent play. Where do they go from here? If the Hawkeyes can stay healthy and take advantage of the momentum they should have following the non-conference slate, Iowa could be a contender in the Legends Division for a little while longer than most expect.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 123.00 (101st in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 187.42 (99, 7)
Total Offense: 310.42 (114, 11)
Scoring Offense: 19.33 (111, 11)
Rushing Defense: 162.08 (63, 7)
Pass Defense: 219.50 (44, 7)
Total Defense: 381.58 (49, 9)
Scoring Defense: 22.92 (33, 7)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (13, 2)
Sacks: 1.08 (113, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.83 (55, 7)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#115 C.J. Fiedorowicz


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