Posted by: marcmwm | January 1, 2009

A look ahead . . .

This was written under the assumption that Kirk Ferentz will be in Iowa City next fall.

TAMPA, Fla. — Get to know sophomore running back Jewel Hampton. Get to know freshman running back Jeff Brinson. Get to know someone at center and guard.

They’re all going to matter for the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-4) starting now.

Running back Shonn Greene made his millions-of-dollar decision, announcing after Thursday’s 31-10 Outback Bowl victory over South Carolina that he will forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.

This season, Greene set Iowa’s record for yards (1,850), rushing touchdowns (20) and tied the record for points (120).

He was the focal point, the marquee, the everything for the Hawkeyes this season.

With Greene gone — and he’ll be 24 before next season starts — Hampton will have a hand in Iowa’s running game next fall. In spot duty behind Greene, Hampton, 5-9, 200 pounds, had one of the best seasons ever for a true freshman running back at Iowa, rushing for 463 yards (5.1 yards a carry) and freshman record of seven TDs.

“The future looks bright for Jewel,” offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe said. “He’s got a lot of the things that we’re looking for.”

Brinson, a 5-11, 220-pounder, could push for time. He redshirted this season, but came in with sparkling credentials and could fit that big back model that worked so well this season for the Hawkeyes.

“I think between Jewel and Brinson we’re going to have a 1-2 running attack that can stand up to anybody in the country,” Vandervelde said. “With Shonn leaving, of course, it’s a hit, but as long as our offensive line continues to improve and with the things that we’ve seen with Jewel on the field and Brinson on the practice field, I really don’t feel we’ll lose too much ground.”

Get to know Broderick Binns. Next season, he might really matter.

This is goodbye for Iowa’s four-year starters at defensive tackle, Mitch King and Matt Kroul. The pair combined for 95 career starts and more than 450 tackles. King is an all-timer in tackles for loss with 55 in his career. Kroul is an all-timer in consistency, setting Iowa’s career record for consecutive starts at 50.

This is why Broderick Binns might really matter in 2009.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound sophomore produced in spot duty at defensive end this season. He’s already mattered. In Iowa’s tight 22-17 victory over Purdue, Binns recovered a fumble and deflected a pass that linebacker Pat Angerer intercepted, stopping a Purdue drive at the Iowa 5-yard-line.

He finished the season with 20 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks.

“Broderick’s a guy who’s quietly moving up the charts,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He really had a good bye week (in October). I don’t think we blocked him — all week. I joked that if he played for another team, we’d be in serious trouble because we haven’t blocked the guy.”

Binns could give the Hawkeyes options on the defensive line next season.

Juniors Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard, this season’s set of defensive ends, have the bodies to take inside to the tackle positions. Clayborn weighs in at 282 and Ballard at 284.

Clayborn, 48 tackles and eight tackles for loss, has said he’d be open to a move inside. “I’d do whatever they (coaches) want,” Clayborn said. “I want to help the team.”

That would give defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who’s on the record for a return next season, some options.

“I don’t know what options we’ll have, but the thing is, we’ve got Broderick and Chad Geary that we feel comfortable playing at any time, so there’s four guys right there we feel good about,” Ferentz said. “And we feel good about the way Karl Klug and Mike Daniels have come on and we’ve got Cody Hundertmark, who is rehabbing a shoulder surgery right now. We’ll worry about that when the time comes, but you want to have at least six, seven guys in the mix, and I think we’ll be able to get there.”

Geary, a senior defensive end, has primiarily been a spot player in his career.

Klug, a 6-4, 255-pound junior, and Daniels, a 6-1, 261-pound sophomore, might really, really matter. If they continue to develop, they could be your tackle tandem, at least in certain combinations, next fall. Hundertmark, a sophomore tackle, redshirted this season after having shoulder surgery.

“We’ve got some guys who haven’t played much, but have been in the system for two or three years, have been working under (strength coach Chris) Doyle and are smart enough and fast enough,” King said. “They know the system now. They’re not coming in like freshmen, like me and Matt in that first year.

“Karl and Mike and Cody Hundertmark coming back next year, Broderick Binns, you’ve seen these guys make plays this year. They haven’t played a lot, but when they get in there, they make plays. I’m excited. I don’t expect a dropoff like in ‘04 compared to what we had in ‘05, when we were all first-year and freshman starters. Before that season, I was a linebacker. It took me awhile. I’m expecting a really strong D-line.

That’s about it on defense.

Cornerback Bradley Fletcher is the only other departing starter. Junior Jordan Bernstine and sophomore Shaun Prater will be in line to replace him.

Linebackers should be a strength. Senior A.J. Edds, who’ll have shoulder surgery he called minor, will be a three-year starter at outside linebacker. Senior Pat Angerer enjoyed a tremendously productive first season as starter at middle linebacker, leading the team with 101 tackles and five interceptions. Junior Jeremiha Hunter, also a first-year starter, was second on the team with 76 tackles.

With junior Ricky Stanzi having quarterback nailed down going into 2009, the biggest offensive replacements might be for center Rob Bruggeman and guard Seth Olsen, a pair of NFL prospects who gave Iowa its best inside blocking in three or so seasons.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Vandervelde said of the competition. “We don’t pick starters before the year. We’ll go into spring ball and all the way through summer and probably into camp with everybody battling for the starting spots.

“Whoever the five are who come out of it next year, I know we’ll step up to the challenge.”

Photo

(Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)
Wearing a pink cowboy hat, Iowa Hawkeyes A.J. Edds runs into the tunnel after their 31-10 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., Jan. 1, 2009.

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Responses

  1. Sliding Eubanks back over to center seems like a pretty obvious move to me. With Vandervelde handling one guard spot full-time and either Doering or Kuempel in the either, it seems like they’ve got the makings of another really good offensive line for next year. I’m pretty excited for next year already. We’re losing some all-time greats, but there are good pieces in place to replace them, and there’s also a bunch of really good players coming back. Should be a good year if everyone can stay healthy and out of trouble.

  2. Eubanks is too small to play C in my estimation. He got worked over regularly until Bruggeman replaced him.

    And KF isn’t going anywhere.

  3. I think the inside trio is critical and that’s why I believe Olsen and Bruggeman will be harder to replace than King and Kroul.

    Olsen and Brug were fully aged fifth years who did their damage in the weight room. Brug was one of the strongest players Iowa has ever had at center. Olsen was also good in the weight room.

    I don’t see anyone with the same power, BUT that’s not a bad thing. You have power guys and you have Steinbach guys, guys who don’t miss blocks on the second level because they have such great footwork.

    But does Iowa even have that guy?

    Here’s my early call:

    LT — Bulaga (no brainer, I didn’t even use my brain for that)

    LG — Dan Doering (If he can be Steinbach-esque, not Steinbach, but esque.)

    C — Julian Vandervelde (Shocked, right? He kinda mentioned it after the game. I like the idea.)

    RG — Andy Kuempel (I think he has a big fifth year and gets on the NFL radar)

    RT — Kyle Calloway (Quietly has become an asset.)

    Second unit (This was tougher)

    LT — Riley Reiff (This kid looks like a baller. Maybe he breaks in at guard, similar to Bulaga.)

    LG — Adam Gettis (He’s 10 to 15 pounds away. Coaches like his progress.)

    C — James Ferentz (I can’t believe how much this kid has filled out. I’m guessing he’ll be pushing a legit 280 before next season.)

    RG — Casey McMillan (I hope he develops the punch to be a mauler, in the same way Olsen was.)

    RT — Kyle Haganman (I can’t tell you how many times this week I saw Iowa players coming off the field and I asked myself, who’s No. 69? Haganman is filling out.)

  4. I think the idea of moving Vandervelde to center is intriguing…I like the idea of a bigger center in there… Eubanks looked a little small out there when he started last year. I think getting more beef and getting more age (strength) on the OL was one of the keys for the offensive production improvement me saw this year.

    Haganman is also an important player as we need quality backup at OT. It will be interesting to see if Dace Richardson really makes it back next year….he would be highly likely to get a 6th year, so getting him back is huge for future as we lose a lot of OL next year.

    I was really excited for 2005 when we had an experienced QB coming back (Tate)…things look better with Stanzi in that the supporting case on both Offense and Defense is way better than what Tate had to work with in 2005.

  5. You don’t see Eubanks even being on the second team, Marc? How the mighty have fallen there. I know he was on some bad lines, an maybe he contributed to that a bit with his line calls and everything, but he was always a pretty solid blocker, I thought. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he had good technique. You don’t need to be huge to succeed in a zone blocking system.

  6. You don’t to be huge but you can’t be that small.

  7. I think Eubanks could break through, but he played so little this season. That tells me something.

  8. Did you use your brain for THAT? :)

    He didn’t get many more snaps than me……

  9. And the ones he did weren’t pretty.


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