Posted by: marcmwm | July 7, 2009

The O-line for the first three weeks

A group of young O-linemen cool off after a practice the week of the Outback Bowl in December 2008. (Jim Slosiarek/Gazette)

A group of young O-linemen cool off after a practice the week of the Outback Bowl in December 2008. (Jim Slosiarek/Gazette)

We can only speculate on a few of these factors right now — Kyle Calloway’s suspension, Julian Vandervelde’s injury, whomever plays center.

But someone’s going to have to play. Here’s my completely wild stabs in the dark.


LT — Bryan Bulaga (Locked and throw away the key.)

LG — Dace Richardson (I’m not sure on his health right now. I think Julian Vandervelde misses at least one game while rehabbing from his surgery. It’s upper body, so strength and condition could be an issue.)

C — Rafael Eubanks (It’s his time. They need him.)

RG — Dan Doering/Andy Kuempel (Someone HAS to grab hold. These are two hungry fifth-year seniors who should want it bad.)

RT — Riley Reiff (Have been asked a lot about him lately.)

@ IOWA STATE — Sept.  12

LT — Bulaga (He’s good.)

LG — Eubanks/Julian Vandervelde (Eubanks could happen. When will Vandervelde be ready?)

C — James Ferentz (He doesn’t face suspension. Under Kirk Ferentz, the suspensions usually start at OWIs.)

RG — Doering/Keumpel (Adam Gettis? I’m not sure he’s fully loaded yet.)

RT — Reiff (Now, Calloway had an OWI. Does that get him one or three games? Don’t know. This is a big deal.)

ARIZONA — Sept. 19

LT — Markus Zusevics (Just seeing if you’r paying attention. Of course, The Terminator. Not discounting Zusevics, though. He’s made some strides and will likely be in the plans in ’10.)

LG — Dace/Eubanks/Vandervelde (Depends on how well Dace holds up. Remember, he hasn’t played a snap since Indiana ’07, his one and only game in ’07.)

C — James Ferentz/Josh Koeppel/Vandervelde (I’m bringing up Koeppel because I think he’s very much in this race. Ferentz said the Vandervelde/center thingie wasn’t just foolin’ this spring. So, up in the air)

RG — Doering/Kuempel/Reiff (Does Reiff show enough while filling in for Calloway that he earns a spot in the top five? Remember, that’s the rudder here. Coach Ferentz has preached top five every year I can remember.)

RT — Calloway (I’m thinking two games, but I don’t know how this will go. As far as I know, this is his first trouble and that is a mitigating factor.)

Man, lots up in the air. Except The Terminator, of course. This is a bigger deal than running back.


  1. You think Dace can handle the Guard position w/ his prior injuries? I was trying to picture him in a spot this year as well, and I’m not sure he is going to find a spot.

  2. He made it through spring OK. I saw their last practice. He looked fresh. He probably lost a few more one-on-ones than you’d like, but he made it through and that’s a start.

    The next step is fall camp. If he doesn’t show he’s able to handle it, he won’t be in there. And it’s not a failure. He’s trying to come back from a massive knee procedure.

    Basically, his knee is older than me in dog years. If that makes sense. (I know it doesn’t.)

  3. Makes total sense and that’s why I am not holding my breath out for him.

    That being said KF usually has one of those feel good stories that go with a great season. I can see the great season, and the story down the road.

  4. They need it, E. It could happen.

    When Dace told me on a beach in Tampa that he was planning to be back for spring, I had doubts. Then, he was back for spring.

    The next step is the biggie.

  5. Went back and watched the Wisc and Illini games again. Seth had an injury in practice, so Andy Kuempel started in his place. I thought he did a terrific job, and figured him to play a prominate role based on prior performance.

    Noticed you stopped at week 3. Sure don’t want this kind of uncertainty by week 4, or we could get killed. That’s why I think the number of names is going to get whittled down pretty quickly, to a unit that complements each other.

  6. Excellent point, Pete.

    The field usually narrows every year at week 4.

  7. Fortunately, we do have Depth & Talent on the offensive line in 2009. Here’s my projected 2 deep for Sept 5 vs UNI

    LT Bulaga, Zusevics/Bofeli
    LG Dace, Adam Gettis
    C Eubanks/Koeppel (James F year away from pt
    RG Kuempel & Doering duke it out in weight room
    RT Kuempel/Doering, Reiff

    Touchdown IOWA!

  8. Andy Kuempel, if he gets healthy, can be a BAD a..

    He is one big boy, with decent mobilty and he’s been in training for 4 years under Doyle, Morgan, KF.

    Look OUT!

  9. I think there is a lot to be said for the continuity of lineups on last year’s OL. Although it is impossible for a team to go 60/60 (12 games x 5 OL), I think the Hawks had a fairly high average last season, which I think certainly translated to much of Shonn Greene’s success.

    Along those lines, recall the article published a few months ago that used returning offensive line starts to predict overall wins. I seem to remember the Hawks ranking 2d behind Ole Miss.

    Hopefully JV is able to recover in time for Arizona, which would be a great tune-up for Penn State.

    I agree with EP and Marc on the following point: the revolving OL scenarios scare me more than the potential loss of Jewel.

    Go Hawks!

  10. I wouldn’t rule out Richardson holding onto the LG spot … however, marc is 100% correct in asserting that how he handles fall camp will either make or break the deal.

    Even if Richardson can’t do anything but backup duty (if that), I’d look for Doering and Kuempel to make legit pushes to nab the spots at OG. You have to remember that Doering was close to being a lock for an OG spot before he broke his wrist … thus, with Vandervelde out initially, I’m thinking that Dan will be a lock for one of the starting spots. Then, most of the rumblings I’ve heard prior to Dace’s return is that Kuempel would have a legit shot to take one of the OG spots … and that was even with Vandervelde healthy!

    I agree that Eubanks will be given his shot to earn the C spot. However, with Vandervelde having to recover from shoulder surgery, I doubt that he’ll be getting enough reps at C to be able to make a legit push there. Thus, the C spot will likely be a 2-man race between Eubanks and Ferentz. I fully expect that we’ll see a “C competition” in 2009 … and Ferentz and Morgan will be exceptionally fair to Eubanks. Who will win the job though is a complete mystery.

  11. AlexKarras –

    Kuempel will be very capable of filling in at the OT spot … however, I think that Morgan and Ferentz will be willing to “roll the dice” and give Reiff the early experience.

    As for James Ferentz … some legit info I had heard suggests that he would have been the front-runner for the starting spot in 2009 had he not had been caught for public intox. That seems to be at odds with you claiming that he’s still a year away. Of course, he could be a year away, if you’re talking about him needing to work his way out of the dog-house. To me, that could be the primarily hold up preventing Ferentz from contending for the starting C spot.

  12. homerhawkeye———–We’ve met before in another life—–:)

    Nolan MacMillan, the 2009 recruit who goes 6’6″ and 290 is a very intriguing football player. Very good student and played at prep school. Look for him to push for the Two deeps, right away.

    So, Calloway better be looking over his shoulder, because there’s some good offensive line prospects around Iowa Football these days.

  13. How sure are you that Riley is in these discussions…. I thought it was up in the air right now whether or not he would return to IC after an altercation downtown or something.

  14. AlexKarras –

    MacMillan already on campus? Is there already word on him?

    Also, met before in another life …. hmmmm? Really?

  15. homer———Pretty certain that Nolan MacMillan is enrolled in summer school classes at the Univ of Iowa.

    Kid will be a good one……… make Bank on it, homer

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