The above video reveals the 2015 season prediction on the Iowa Hawkeyes record from Hawkeye Insider's Derek Young.
It's a tough team to make a call on because of the wide range of wins possible for this team. The Hawkeyes have a schedule that is once again advantageous for them. Among the teams in the Big Ten East that they miss on this year's slate are Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. They weren't able to take advantage of a weak schedule last year, and it remains to be seen whether or not they can this upcoming season.
Hawkeye Insider has already previewed each positon group on the team specifically. Now we take a look at the Hawkeyes offensive, defensive, and special teams units as a whole.
It's an offense with potential, especially in improving the big and explosive plays. They have two talented running backs in LeShun Daniels and Jordan Canzeri that can break off long runs, a quarterback in C.J. Beathard that loves to take shots and risks in the passing game, and a wide receiver group that returns three contributors from last year with Jacob Hillyer, Tevaun Smith, and Matt VandeBerg.
With more risks and a more aggressive style sometimes can come more turnovers. They'll need to avoid those as they look to provide more of a spark offensively. The offensive line was a major week in progress to start the fall camp. Their development will be key. The coaches and players have mentioned how they've improved quite a bit since the scrimmage at Kids' Day. Without them, the job is tougher for Daniels and Canzeri to generate a running game to keep defenses off balance, and it prevents Beathard from being able to connect with his wideouts for bigger plays.
I may be alone in this but I think this could be a very good unit for Iowa, and a lot of that will depend on how the linebackers do. Two excellent defensive ends return in Drew Ott and Nate Meier, and the secondary is stacked with Desmond King, Greg Mabin, Jordan Lomax, and Miles Taylor, among others. Specifically Ott and King could be all-conference selections. Ott already was a year ago.
The linebackers and defensive tackles will probably dictate how it goes, though. They have to be able to stop the run and that is something they didn't do well a year ago. Nathan Bazata, Jaleel Johnson, and Faith Ekakitie will be relied on heavily in the interior of the line. Linebackers Cole Fisher, Josey Jewell, and Ben Niemann have to play fast and fly to the ball and take the right angles. The positive about the linebacking core is the depth, as Bo Bower can be depended on as well and redshirt freshman Aaron Mends has showed signs of figuring it out already.
You don't have to be spectacular in this unit to have a great team, but you can't be poor and have a great team. This part of football won't often win you games, but it can lose games in an instant. There will several miscues on this group last year. They've emphasized this part of the ball even more in fall camp, trying to learn from the mistakes in the past.
Desmond King and Riley McCarron are the returners. They're looking for more ball security and smarter plays here. King also has the speed and ability to be a weapon as well.
The kicker will be Marshall Koehn and the punter Dillon Kidd. Field position is critical in football, and Kirk Ferentz loves to use it as a weapon, so Kidd needs to have a strong season.