Iowa football’s final spring practice will be available to stream online at BTN2Go.com, the Hawkeyes announced Monday.
“The Hawkeye Sports Network will be on the air from 7 to 8 p.m., with Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, and Rob Brooks discussing spring football and the upcoming season,” Iowa said in a release.
The gates to Kinnick Stadium will open at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, and the practice will start at 7. There’s no charge for admission. Iowa’s final spring practice will not be on television.
BACKUP QB — The main attraction last year was Iowa’s quarterback battle between Nate Stanley and Tyler Wiegers. With Stanley winning the job late in camp and Wiegers now competing for Eastern Michigan, the real quarterback battle is at backup. Freshman Peyton Mansell is listed as the No. 2 quarterback this camp with Spencer Petras in his first semester on campus. Don’t overlook junior walk-on Ryan Schmidt, who served as the team’s No. 3 quarterback against Nebraska last fall.
RECEIVERS — Last year Iowa had only two scholarship receivers running routes and neither had caught a pass in a game. This year, Iowa brings back plenty of experience plus other receivers who should elevate their game. Senior Nick Easley was a walk-on who became the most consistent receiver with 51 catches. Others seeing action who are worth watching include sophomores Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, Max Cooper and senior walk-on Kyle Groeneweg.
RUNNING GAME — Iowa is depleted at running back this spring with only four players taking handoffs. Sophomores Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin played snaps as reserves last year, while freshman Kyshaun Bryan is healthy after an injury-filled fall. Freshman Cam Harrell is working out at running back after playing both receiver and defensive back last fall.
TACKLE MACHINES — The Hawkeyes lost 123 career starts at linebacker with Josey Jewell, Ben Niemann, Bo Bower and Kevin Ward all graduating. Jewell was a unanimous first-team All-American. Who will replace them as starters? Those questions probably won’t get completed answered until late August. But seniors Aaron Mends and Jack Hockaday as well as juniors Kristian Welch and Amani Jones battle for the two inside positions. Sophomores Nick Niemann and Barrington Wade do the same to replace Ben Niemann at the outside slot.
SECONDARY ATTRACTION — Junior safety Amani Hooker performed well enough to lock down the strong safety spot but free safety could be up in the air. Senior Brandon Snyder remains out after another knee injury last fall. Senior Jake Gervase was the star last year in the spring game with 3 interceptions, but sophomore Geno Stone could push him. At cornerback, sophomore Matt Hankins started the final three games last year, but juniors Michael Ojemudia and Manny Rugamba also have starting experience. Will freshmen Trey Creamer and Josh Turner push the top tier?