September 1, 2016

The Eternal Season - Sedge's 2016 Hawkeye Football Game Notes, Week 1: Miami (Ohio) @ Iowa

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2016 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 0-0, 0-0 Big Ten, 0-0 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP: 17th (474 points)
Coaches: 15th (579 points)
College Football Playoff:
*Times Eastern

September 3rd, v. Miami (Ohio), 3:32 pm, ESPNU
September 10th, v. Iowa State, 7:30 pm, BTN
September 17th, v. North Dakota State, 12:00 pm, ESPN2
September 24th, @ Rutgers, TBD
October 1st, v. •Northwestern, 12:00 pm, TBD
October 15th, @ •Purdue, 12:00 pm, TBD
October 22nd, v. •Wisconsin, TBD
October 29th, Bye Week
November 5th, @ Penn State, 7:30 pm, BTN
November 12th, v. Michigan, 8:00 pm, ABC/ESPN2
November 19th, @ •Illinois, TBD
November 25th, v. •Nebraska, TBD

•Big Ten West Division Game

December 3rd, Big Ten Title Game, 8:00 pm, FOX

Scouting next opponent: Week 1
Iowa State Cyclones v. Northern Iowa Panthers, 8:00 pm, Cyclones TV

*Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
September 3rd, 2016  Iowa v. Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, 0-0, 0-0 Mac, 0-0 Mac East
Previous Meetings: 3, Iowa leads 3-0
Last Meeting: 2003, RedHawks 3 Hawkeyes 21

Kinnick Color of the Week:

Current Line: Iowa -27

Turnover Margin: +,  B1G #, FBS #

Interceptions: , B1G #, FBS #

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2015 Regular Season Final
Total   404.3  Pass 200.6  Rush 203.7  Scoring 33.7
B1G    #4              #11                #3                    #3
FBS    #63            #92               #32                  #41
Total   331.7  Pass 221.7  Rush 110.0    Scoring 18.7
B1G    #6              #8                 #2                   #5
FBS    #21            #63               #6                   #15
Big Ten West Standings: Final 2015
Iowa *                12-0, 8-0 B1G, 6-0 B1G West
Northwestern   10-2, 6-2 B1G, 5-1 B1G West
Wisconsin   9-3, 6-2 B1G, 4-2 B1G West
Nebraska             5-7, 3-5 B1G, 1-5 B1G West
Illinois             5-7, 2-6 B1G, 2-4 B1G West
Minnesota     5-7, 2-6 B1G, 2-4 B1G West
Purdue            2-10, 1-7 B1G, 1-5 B1G West

* Clinched Big Ten West 
2016 Week 1: Miami of Ohio

You might think, with the team off their first 12-0 regular season ever, with the schedule once again lining up for the main division rivals having to come to Kinnick,  with the best cornerback in the country, possibly one of the best QBs in the country, playing behind one of the top 5 offensive lines in the country - that the Hawkeye Football Bandwagon would be standing room only today.  

But no, if you are watching the talking heads on tv and reading some of the preseason write ups, you get the feeling that the Hawks may be less of a favorite to win the Big Ten West than they were just a couple months ago.

Strange, I know.  The conventional wisdom would hold that with 14 starters back, this Hawkeye team might be even better than the 2015 team.  Time will tell.

There is some news today (Saturday) from Hawkeye camp that caught a lot of long time Hawkeye fans off guard.  Not with the starters we know and love, but with some of the guys behind them.  To start with, we figured that redshirt sophomore QB Wiegers would be the solid number 2 and presumed starter in 2017.  But hold on, true freshman QB Nathan Stanley (#4) has made such great strides this camp that he has earned a spot on the second unit with Wiegers.  Clearly, under Kirk, Iowa does not play freshman quarterbacks unless all hell breaks loose, so this could be very interesting to see.  Hopefully next year that is, as we want C.J. on the field for every snap except mop up duty in blowouts this year.  

At tailback, it seems that Junior (Daniels) is the number 1, Iowa will try to ride him with 20 or so carries.  You may have seen some of the videos out of Hawkeyeland this summer - Junior seems to have added much strength and muscle.  But if he can’t give us 20, Wadley will be next on the field.  This may be a case of simply who has the hot hand will get the carries.  Look for Mitchell to be in on the 3rd and longs, as he has the best hands out of the backfield.  And we may see some redshirt freshmen haul the pigskin this week.

This will all be easier with a classic, mean and nasty, Iowa offensive line.  Here too, reason for much optimism.

As it sits today, from left to right:
#64 Croston, 6’5, 307, senior.
#52 Meyers, 6’5, 305, junior.
#79 Welsh, 6’3 290, junior.
#78 Daniels, 6’4, 295, sophomore.
#75 Boettger, 6’6. 307, junior.

Daniels may in fact start at center - one upside of this line is their interchangeability.   

Then the tight ends, the top 3:
#46 Kittle, 6’4, 250, senior.
#86 Pekar, 6’4 250, junior.
#81 Wisniesski, 6’5, 250, junior.    

(apparently 250 pounds is the optimum size for being big enough to block on the O line but quick enough to run out into the pass patterns).

Now the Hawks are going to have to find some depth behind the O line, but as it sits today, it should give our QB time to make his reads and get the ball down the field.  The best Iowa teams have always had great offensive lines.  This line may pave the way for the next great Hawkeye team.

Wideout is another area where we need to find some more depth.

Now a senior, all VandeBerg does is catch 1st downs, so in fact, his new nickname for 2016 is First Down.  The Iowa record for most catches in a season is 82, it would not be surprising to see First Down make a run at that one.  

On the other side, #83, McCarron, now also a senior.  Other options, Smith the Younger, now a sophomore, or finally Jay Scheel #3, a 6’1 195 lb sophomore.  Also look for #82 Falconer, a sophomore, to provide some more targeting options for C.J. 

As you would expect, if Iowa can keep C.J., the linemen, the tailbacks healthy, the offense should be even better this year - maybe as much as 7 points better.  You have probably heard that Greg Davis has indicated that C.J. may be able to call his own plays, based on the formation sent in from the sideline.  So look for him to take more shots down the field, provided his receiver corps fills out to have weapons to go with First Down’s 8 to 10 catches a game, for, well, 1st downs.

So that is the offense.  Maybe the defense is going to be several points better as well.

As with the offense, the best Iowa defenses have been able to generate chaos from the front 4.  As they line up today, from the left to the right:

Nelson, #96, 6’8 282 lbs, a sophomore.
Johnson, #67 6’4, 310, senior.
Bazata, #99, 6’2, 285, junior.
Hesse, #40, 6’3, 250, sophomore. 

You recall Parker’s tip pick six against Nebraska  I’m calling his 2nd career pick off this season.

The linebackers, from outside to weak sides:

Niemann, #44, 6’3 230, a junior.
Jewell, #43, 6’2 234, junior.  Heretofore known as The Outlaw.  
Mends, #31, 6’0 223, sophomore.

Also look for #41 Bo Bower to be in the mix for heavy playing time, he seems to have made the coaches decisions a bit harder this camp.  He is now a junior as well.

So that is the front 7.  If our defensive ends can get upfield the tackles and linebackers can clean up the residue.  We have a potential All American in The Outlaw this year - to go with the one in the secondary. 

Of course, Desmond King, #14, back for his senior year, he will look to make a run at the Iowa career interception mark of 19.  That is, if anyone throws to his side of the field. 

Mabin, #13, on the other side is also a senior.  He may see a heavier than normal workload due to King on the other side, he will have his chances to snag a few picks himself.

At strong safety, either Taylor #19, a junior, or Gair #12 a senior.

Free safety, one of 2 true sophomores - #37 Snyder, or #30 Gervase.  

King and McCarron will handle punt and kickoff returns.  And as Tara is well aware, we are breaking in new kickers in 2016.

Punting, looking like redshirt freshman Rastetter, #7, and at kicker, Recinos, #91, a sophomore.  With any luck we can ease the kicker into things by just scoring touchdowns and not needing field goals the first half of the season. But any shakiness by either, Kirk will likely make a quick hook.  

So, these are the starters and key backups that are going to make a run at another Big Ten West title.  As great at 2015 was, there is still work to do.

So, what kind of team is going to show up to face the Hawks on Saturday?  Sorry, Big Ben has used up his eligibility.  

The RedHawks finished the 2015 season at 3-9, and 2-6 in the MAC.  But they did beat Eastern Michigan 28-13 in week 10, and UMASS 20-13 in week 12, so they felt like they had made some progress to end the season.  

Of course, Eastern Michigan was 1-11 last year.  UMASS, 3-9.  By way of comparison, Miami lost 58-0 at Camp Randall.

Chuck Martin is entering his 3rd season at Miami, he is most famous as the OC for Notre Dame in 2012, when they went 12-0.  But then lost 42-14 to Bama in the BCS title game.  But Chuck did not coach the helpless Domer defense.  

Miami will be lead by sophomore QB Bahl, #5.  He started 7 games as a freshman last year, where he competed 99 out of 221 passes (44 precent) for 1416 yards, with 8 touchdowns, but ominously, 13 interceptions.  He is your typical pro style QB, his net rushing for the year, -70 yards.

He does have a couple potential weapons at wideout - sophomore Hudson, #4, is 6’4, and senior wideout Shisso, #10 is 6’5. 

But the likelihood that Bahl can get more than a couple passes completed to these guys by height alone is slim.  

So while Miami might make some progress in the MAC in 2016, Iowa is not in the MAC.

Then again, maybe there is some upside to playing the best team you will face to open the season.  It just gets easier from there.  

Look for the Hawks to get the running game going, and for C.J. to keep things pretty buttoned up.  Don’t want to give too much away to the scouts to start the season.  

The Hawks rush for 275, C.J. hits 15 of 20 for 225 with 3 TDs, and the Iowa defense forces 4 turnovers total.  Hawkeyes 48, RedHawks 16.