The Shadow Talks Offensive Line

My Dark Friend called and informed me that he wanted to talk about the effect of recent drafts. Not the lager kind either as he was referring to the NFL Draft. Offensive Line University, AKA the University of Iowa, has set very high standards for offensive linemen. In order to duplicate past successes, look for the Hawks to continue the position switches. He throws in some basketball recruiting info and a blast from the past in his report.

1. Due to the NFL Draft successes, every Hawk that now makes a position switch is being billed as the next wunderkind Hawkeye offensive lineman. For example, OL Lee Gray is a kid that was brought into the program due to his potential. At 6'5 290, Lee has a great deal of potential, but has yet to show the maturity and understanding of the game that is needed. While the staff certainly believes Lee could be a player by the time he leaves Iowa, it is ridiculous for fans to already bill him as a starting offensive lineman. To say there is work ahead for Lee is an understatement.

2. However, one move to the offensive line that has really taken off involves C.J. Barkema. In a year where he will only simply have to learn behind Robert Gallery, C.J. is showing the same signs and progress Robert showed in making the move. Insiders are already speculating that CJ could immediately be the Hawks top lineman as soon as Gallery departs. Could Iowa become known as Left Tackle University? Brett Gallimore, are you listening?

3. If Sam Aiello can continue to stay on the good track back to the team, expect him to resume as the starting right tackle. Sam is a veteran lineman, and along with Kory Borchers, is the second most talented. In fact, a little dose of Sam's anger on the field could give Iowa the best tackle tandem in the Big Ten Conference.

4. Pete McMahon will see playing time this fall, and has had a very good work ethic this spring. What's been lacking, though, is the intensity Coach Ferentz looks for in linemen. Pete still has not demonstrated that mean streak, similar to David Porter as a junior. The staff hopes some game competition can help change that fact, and have McMahon ready to be one of the Big Ten's best his senior season.

5. Do not expect Eric Rothwell to be the starting center by the start of conference play. Eric has struggled at times this spring with communication with the quarterback and making the correct plays. Also, Eric has not shown the maturity of most junior linemen.

6. Brian Ferentz is expected to be the starting center if he can come back at full speed after surgery on his knee. Although the staff will continue to give Ben Cronin snaps at center, they are hopeful Brian makes a full recovery in time to play this fall.

7. Blake Larsen suffered knee problems that were actually caused by his wide hips. Coach Doyle and staff are working overtime with Blake. Perhaps the potential shown in high school will still come to fruition at Iowa. While he will not be a starter this fall, there will be plenty of opportunity come next spring.

8. Basketball sources have say that Ohio State has offered Seth Gorney the 7-foot junior pivot from Ohio. Iowa doesn't have a lot of scholarships left and decisions will have to be made soon. It appears that one scholarship could be used on a guard (Reed or Ratliff), one on a forward and one on a center. However, a scholarship to Gorney would mean that there would not be a scholarship available for Luke Zeller or Josh McRoberts. Of course that staff is unsure whether they can get either Zeller or McRoberts, as they may be national type recruits.

9. The Hawks originally felt they would use a scholarship on F Dorrell Wright after placing him in a prep school. However, Wright will now have the nation after him so it seems more logical the Hawks may recruit closer to the state. You can still expect them to take a strong look at a two guard.

10. Playboy magazine honoring Kirk Ferentz, Robert Gallery and Nate Kaeding brings back some bad memories for my Dark Friend. In 1965, Playboy named Jerry Burns as the coach of the year and had three pre-season All-Americans in quarterback Gary Snook, guard John Niland and wide receiver Karl Noonan. In addition, Playboy picked Iowa as pre-season #1 with a predicted 9-1 record. Unfortunately, writer Anson Mount's crystal ball was dyslexic as the Hawk's finished 1-9. Niland later had a great career with the Dallas Cowboys while Karl Noonan caught a lot of passes for the Miami Dolphins. Gary Snook was a real character known for his unusual training methods. There is a story about Snook at the Playboy photo shoot, which was done then at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. Gary had a very good time.

That's my take, but what do I know?

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