Five things to keep an eye on Saturday when the Iowa football team hosts its annual Kids at Kinnick open practice.
The free event starts at 5 p.m. and includes a post-practice autograph session for kids, but there are a few things for adults to learn as Iowa works out two weeks before its season opener against Northern Illinois.
Here are five things to watch:
1. The quarterback competition. It’s the marquee battle during fall camp for the Hawkeyes as Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard compete for the starting assignment behind center. None has taken a snap for Iowa in a game. How and when they are used in the practice could shed some light on who is leading that closely-watched race.
2. Is Damond Powell as good as advertised? The junior college transfer is being counted on to help lead the Iowa receiving corps after averaging 30 yards per reception last season at Snow College in Utah. Powell, who wears No. 22, arrived at Iowa the day before fall camp opened so he is still adjusting to the Hawkeye system but keep an eye on his talent and athleticism.
3. How are things shaking out on the defensive line? Dominic Alvis and Louis Trinca-Pasat, coming back after missing the spring while recuperating from surgery, are the only two returning starters on the Hawkeye defensive front. There is plenty of competition going on for playing time elsewhere across the line and for spots in what is expected to be an eight-player rotation. Keep an eye on Carl Davis, who is coming off of a strong spring, and two highly-recruited redshirt freshmen who will see their first playing time this fall, Jaleel Johnson and Faith Ekakitie.
4. What kind of flow does the Iowa offense have? The Hawkeyes have spent a lot of time working on two areas since spring — extending the field with greater use of deep ball in the passing game and developing more comfort with an up-tempo, no-huddle approach. Don’t expect too many new wrinkles to be put out for public consumption on Saturday, but there should be ample signs of the general direction that Greg Davis’ second Iowa offense is heading.
5. Are primary questions in the secondary being answered? Iowa lost just one starter in the secondary from last season, Micah Hyde, but an open cornerback position and plenty of younger players jockeying for playing time are creating competition in an area which is being coached by Phil Parker again. Jordan Lomax, Sean Draper and Gavin Smith topped the preseason depth chart at the vacant cornerback spot, while returning strong safety Nico Law finds himself competing with John Lowdermilk for the top spot on the depth chart. B.J. Lowery returns at the other corner and Tanner Miller is back at free safety.