The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, Jan. 10.
What will Brian Ferentz’s offense look like?
It’s the most interesting question now that the offensive line coach is officially the offensive coordinator.
And The Wake-Up Call has the answer. It’s an offense that averages 181.7 rushing yards, 204.4 passing yards and 30.9 points per game. How can anyone be so certain?
Brian Ferentz spoke about having a balanced offense time and again on Monday, and head coach Kirk Ferentz has repeatedly said he liked the balance the offense had in 2015. Guess what those stats looked like.
The real question is how Brian Ferentz will accomplish it. He offered several hints on what he may do in his news conference Monday.
- Iowa will run the football
“Our program’s been built on the mantra of tough, smart and physical, and that won’t change; certainly is not going to change offensively.” The basic tenets will stay the same. No one expects anything different, regardless if the offensive coordinator is a Ferentz or not.
- Scheme for players
“I learned two major things. No. 1, players win football games and coaches tend to lose them. So I’ve gained a healthy appreciation of that throughout my career.
“And the second thing being just the determination and the relentless effort that it takes to play winning football, to play championship football and to compete at a high level.”
Players make plays. It’s an obvious thought, but one some coaches look past as they fall in love with their system that gets teams into the end zone. It doesn’t sound like Brian Ferentz will be that kind of offensive coordinator. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him alter the offense a little year to year based on his personnel.
- Flexible schemes
“Our stated program goal is to win a Big Ten Championship, and we understand that in order to do that, in order to compete at that level in this conference, we’re going to need to have some flexibility and have the ability to change on a weekly basis and do what’s best to win football games.”
Don’t forget that Brian Ferentz cut his teeth with the New England Patriots. What do the Patriots do? They can look like two different offenses from week to week. The Patriots change based on the opponent. Iowa won’t go all New England, but don’t be surprised if the Hawkeyes show some different looks week to week based on their strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses. That’s the definition of flexibility.
Speaking of New England, here is video of Brian Ferentz explaining what he learned there.
- Pass game changes will be coming
“What we need to do is go back and reevaluate everything we’ve done and start there. When we evaluate that, whether it’s personnel, schemes, how we’re doing things, just like we do in any facet, we’ll do the same thing in the run game.”
He doesn’t know, or at least won’t say right now, how he’ll get the aerial attack back on track. But it needs to be done. It’s arguably his most important task.
Five thoughts on the depth chart
Lost in the Brian Ferentz news was the pre-spring depth chart the Hawkeyes released on Monday.
Here are five thoughts on a depth chart that won’t mean much by the time the first game gets here.
1. Nathan Stanley is the man at quarterback. He will start 2017 (in January, at least) as the undisputed quarterback. The Wake-Up Call expected an ‘or’ with Tyler Wiegers and Stanley. Yes, Stanley is the overwhelming favorite to be the next starter, but he still needs to go out and win the job.
“Nate hasn’t thrown a lot of significant passes yet,” Kirk Ferentz said, “so we’ll let those guys compete and decide on the field.”
Odds are he’ll do it.
2. Michael Ojemudia, not Josh Jackson, is listed as a starting cornerback. Jackson started the Outback Bowl. It’s surprising not to see him listed with the first team on the depth chart. Kirk Ferentz didn’t go into too much detail on why the switch was made.
“He’s really the only guy left,” Ferentz said. “We’re down to three guys.”
One of the two will likely start opposite Manny Rugamba.
3. The offensive line is set and it’s what you expected. Ike Boettger is moving out to offensive tackle with Cole Croston gone and Keegan Render is sliding in at offensive guard. All five first-string offensive linemen have starting experience. This will be the strength of the team.
4. The battle between Cedric Lattimore and Brady Reiff at defensive tackle could be interesting. Kirk Ferentz praised Lattimore during his Monday news conference; defensive line coach Reese Morgan praised Reiff in December. Odds are the battle to replace Jaleel Johnson will go on through camp.
5. Alaric Jackson will be worth monitoring. He is one of only two redshirt freshmen to make the depth chart (and Cedric Boswell may very well be listed at corner because of the lack of bodies). Jackson looks to be the left tackle of the future and will start 2017 with the second-team offense.
Thomas Johnston sets next visit
Iowa linebacker recruit Thomas Johnson will head to Auburn this weekend for an official visit.
Auburn OVisit this weekend‼️?
— Thomas Johnston (@TDJohnston42) January 9, 2017
Johnson, a 3-star prospect according to 247Sports, visited Iowa on Dec. 3. This is a big weekend in the recruitment of the Spanish Fort (Ala.) star. 247Sports expects the decision to come down to Auburn, Arkansas and Iowa.
Johnson visited Arkansas in October. He does have a visit to Arizona State set for Jan. 14, but his recruitment could very well come down to whether he liked his trip to Auburn better than the ones to Arkansas or Iowa.
Iowa lands walk-on QB
The Hawkeyes secured the services of preferred walk-on QB Tommy Herion on Monday.
— EDGYTIM.com (@EDGYTIM) January 9, 2017
Herion is 6 feet 1, 180 pounds, and goes to Wilmette (Ill.) Loyola Academy. Here is his Hudl profile.
Iowa misses out on a safety
University of Detroit Jesuit High safety Scotty Nelson committed to Wisconsin on Monday.
— Scotty Nelson 1️⃣0️⃣ (@_scottnelson) January 9, 2017
Nelson, a 3-star prospect, was a big recruiting target for the Hawkeyes. He visited Iowa for the Michigan game.
Iowa is already set with four defensive back commits for the 2017 class. Landing Nelson would have been a bonus in the secondary.
More recruiting news
Iowa has thrown an offer out to a Minnesota commit.
— Derek Young (@DYoungScout) January 9, 2017
Trey Creamer is a 3-star cornerback from Cartersville (Ga.) High who committed to the Golden Gophers following an official visit with former coach Tracy Claeys in October.