Iowa’s biggest concern after wide receiver, Big Ten honors and more
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So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Tuesday, May 16.
Where is the concern?
Wide receiver is Iowa’s biggest question mark entering the season. It was going to be that way whether Jerminic Smith was on the team or not.
But what is the Hawkeyes’ second-biggest concern as they head into summer workouts? There are several options. Let’s break it down.
Any time a team breaks in a new quarterback it’s a little disconcerting. The performances of sophomore Nathan Stanley and junior Tyler Wiegers in the open spring practice and spring game didn’t help matters.
The public portions of spring ball provide only a snapshot of the work done throughout 15 practices, but Iowa still needs substantial growth from whomever ends up starting.
The two have a combined 13 career pass attempts. Inexperience will be an issue until either, or both, prove otherwise during the season.
- Defensive tackle
The Hawkeyes lost two interior stalwarts from last season: Faith Ekakitie, the No. 1 overall pick in the CFL draft, and Jaleel Johnson, a fourth-round NFL draft pick. Iowa is young and inexperienced at defensive tackle. Returning starter Nathan Bazata played with injuries last season and during spring practice.
Iowa is excited about the potential of sophomores Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff, but both are untested at one of the most important spots on the Hawkeyes’ defense.
Sophomore Manny Rugamba appears to be a long-term answer at one corner spot. The rest of the position? It’s a big unknown.
Junior Josh Jackson looked good late in the season, but it’s a small sample size for someone in line to start. Depth is nothing more than a concept right now; only four scholarship corners took part in spring practice. The Hawkeyes won’t ask the newcomers to come in and play right away. Instead, they will expect it with the lack of bodies at cornerback.
The loss of junior free safety Brandon Snyder to a torn left ACL in spring practice was a big blow. He seemed ready to step into a bigger leadership role this season.
Senior Miles Taylor returns at strong safety but needs to show significant improvement in 2017. Junior Jake Gervase starred in the spring game, and sophomore strong safety Amani Hooker is a popular option to move to free safety. There are questions both at one starter spot and on depth altogether at the position.
Bring on the awards, Part I
Iowa’s Jake Adams took home the Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week award on Monday. He hit .500 as the Hawkeyes took two of three games against Ohio State last weekend, recording 6 hits with 3 home runs and 5 RBI.
Iowa will need him to keep his hot bat if the Hawkeyes are to take their final Big Ten series against Illinois this weekend and make a run in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts May 24.
— Big Ten Baseball (@B1Gbaseball) May 15, 2017
Bring on the awards, Part II
Women’s basketball player Ally Disterhoft and wrestler Alex Meyer received the Iowa Big Ten Medal of Honor.
The honor is bestowed upon members from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work,”according to the Big Ten’s official site. They received their awards at a reception Friday.
Disterhoft’s 2,102 career points are the most in program history, and she is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year recipient. Meyer is a two-time NCAA qualifier and earned All-American honors in 2016. He is also an all-academic selection by the National Coaches Wrestling Association.
Lots of links
- Single coverage is ‘like my birthday’ for incoming freshman WR Brandon Smith.
- A look at the wide receiver position following Jerminic Smith’s departure.
- Kirk Ferentz explained part of his problem with Smith before he left to Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register.
- Former Iowa wrestler Mark Perry left the Illinois staff to join Iowa as the Hawkeye Wrestling Club coach, according to Chris Cuellar of the Des Moines Register.
- Big Ten officials were surprised by negative response to scheduling Friday night football games.