Hawkmania football & basketball blog

Five questions for Iowa

Today is moving day for newcomers on the Iowa football team.
Freshmen can move into their dorm rooms as the start of fall camp on Friday grows nearer.
There are always questions to be answered, but this year presents the Hawkeyes with as many unknowns as coach Kirk Ferentz has dealt with in nearly any of his 14 seasons.
Here are five questions the Hawkeyes will attempt to answer before their Sept. 1 season opener against Northern Illinois.

1) Who will emerge at running back? A seemingly annual question, the Hawkeyes will be looking for a reliable ball carrier during fall camp.
Damon Bullock tops the depth chart and provides some potential to involve the running back in the passing game but with Jordan Canzeri sidelined by an ACL injury and De’Andre Johnson currently suspended from team activities, experience is thin. Freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill will get a close look during the upcoming weeks.

2) Who will develop into Iowa’s go-to receiver? The Hawkeyes return a 3,000-yard passer in James Vandenberg, but must replace record-setting Marvin McNutt. The answer to this question may prove to be multiple choice. Senior Keenan Davis continues to wait for a breakthrough season, while Kevonte Martin-Manley enjoyed a solid rookie season. Don Shumpert, Steven Staggs and Jordan Cotton may provide some of the solution.

3) Will Iowa reload or rebuild on the defensive line? The Hawkeyes have graduated three seniors on the defensive line in each of the last two seasons and returning players Steve Bigach and Dominic Alvis have combined for 13 starts during their career. Expect some young players to emerge here. Along with senior Joe Gaglione, underclassmen Carl Davis, Darian Cooper, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Riley McMinn, Mike Hardy, Dean Tsopanides and Melvin Spears have all worked their way into the depth chart heading into fall camp. There will likely be some moving parts here over the next few weeks.

4) What kind of cohesion will develop on the offensive line? Iowa is replacing three 13-game starters on its offensive front as well. James Ferentz provides an anchor at center and Iowa returns experience in Brandon Scherff and Matt Tobin, but growth from juniors Brett Van Sloten and Nolan MacMillan at right tackle and the development of Austin Blythe, Conor Boffeli and Jordan Walsh at right guard will be critical.

5) Who will punt the ball effectively? Eric Guthrie provided Iowa with a solid leg last season, averaging 41.2 yards as a first-year starter and the Hawkeyes will need another new starter to emerge in upcoming weeks. Senior John Wienke, sophomore Johnny Mullings and incoming freshman Connor Kornbrath will likely all be in the mix initially.

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