Hawkeye Hits will run each Tuesday and Friday morning on Hawkeye Insider and is a story meant for only premium members. It is pertinent and noteworthy information about the Iowa Hawkeyes gathered by our insiders over the past handful of days. Other premium information can also be found on the message board, The Swarm.
Hawkeye Hits will bring you the inside information you desire on the Hawkeye football team, the Hawkeye basketball team, any other sports, as well as recruiting nuggets.
The Friday October 16 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!
- Iowa kicks off at Northwestern at 11 a.m. tomorrow. They will be without the services of Boone Myers, Ike Boettger, LeShun Daniels, Tevaun Smith, and Drew Ott. It'll be the third game in a row without Boone Myers and Tevaun Smith. It would be the first missed start for Boettger this year. It'll be the second game LeShun Daniels will not be dressed. It'll be the first game that Drew Ott will not be dressed, but not the last. As has been widely reported all week, Ott has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.
- On timetable for returns: Nothing is for certain. It definitely sounds like Tevaun Smith will be back after the bye week. It is less known on LeShun Daniels, Boone Myers, and Ike Boettger. All have a chance to return after the bye week much like Tevaun, but less certain.
- Not a whole lot of practice reps this week, if any, for C.J. Beathard at quarterback. That means very little. He's a tough kid and all signs point to him being out there. I think he will be. I don't think the lack of practice time hurts him. It does for some quarterbacks but I don't see him being that type.
- Cole Croston will get his third start at left tackle. He's fared pretty well so far. The more he plays, the better he looks. The same should go for James Daniels though he's much less natural at right tackle than he is at right guard. He's not the super long, super athletic tackles the Hawkeyes have had in the past. He's an interior player. But when you're running out of men to line up, you put your best options there. Pass blocking is much more difficult at right tackle than it is at right guard. He'll be tested this week. Inexperience is a factor. But so is talent. He has both.
- Expect Northwestern to send the house at C.J. Beathard at quarterback, a lot. They aren't isolated. They know Beathard is banged up. They know Iowa will be without their two starting offensive tackles. Northwestern's front seven has to be salivating. What can Iowa do to negate the impact on this part of game? Screens, draws, rolling pockets, throwing on first downs, and putting themselves in manageable down and distances. Easier said than done. The box will be stacked regardless of down and distance most likely.
- With Iowa short-handed on offense, it will be much more important than ever for the defense and special teams to impact the game. I think to win on Saturday, the Hawkeyes have to score in one of these two phases of the game, maybe both. They're skilled enough to do it. The defense has forced many turnovers including a couple near the end zone and Desmond King has nearly broken loose on a handful of punt and kick returns this season. They need that to happen against the Wildcats in Evanston.
- Northwestern will be short-handed at corner. The intermediate, quick-strike passing game will have to be effective due to the pressure expected from the Wildcats, but if anytime is granted, expect the Hawkeyes to challenge the replacement for cornerback Matt Harris. With him out with an injury, it could give Iowa that speck of an advantage on this side of the field.
- If anything, ball control will be important for Iowa. They're going to have to win ugly on Saturday. Turnover margin, time of possession, and efficiency are key. Jordan Canzeri carried the ball 43 times last week and he may have to provide something similar on Saturday. If no time can be bought for Beathard, then it's ground and pound time, grind away, and chew up the clock. Play field position. Play defense. Get turnovers.
- Tight end commit Noah Fant of Omaha visited the Huskers last week. He's headed to South Bend this weekend to check out Notre Dame. It's not time to worry yet but if you can't stomach a drawn-out recruiting process from one of your own commits, this recruitment isn't for you. He's one of the headliners in this class and won't be easy to keep around. Ask me today if I think he will and I still say yes, though.
- The Badgers are beginning to turn up the heat for Hawkeye quarterback commit Nate Stanley of Greendale (Wisc.). He's had a sensational senior season to date but he hasn't been influenced by any pitches Paul Chryst and Wisconsin have made, yet. And it's not expected that he ever will be convinced to stay home. Iowa is sitting pretty for him regardless.
- Running back commit Toren Young is also someone to keep an eye on. All is well now but the Badgers need a replacement at running back. They're going to lose Antonio Williams to Ohio State. It seems like they're still looking elsewhere but they could always try to kick the tires on Young again. Things still look good once again here for the Hawkeyes.
- I beleive Iowa still leads for defensive back K.J. Sails of East Bay, Florida. However, they're not going to be content to just wait that one out and be left at the altar. The Hawkeyes will bring in Largo (Fla.) safety Brandon Drayton for an official visit the weekend of the Minnesota game. This could be a power move by Iowa to put the pressure on Sails to make his decision sooner than later. I believe Drayton is the fallback option in case Sails doesn't go their way. I still think Sails goes the Hawkeyes' way though. The only way it doesn't, in my opinion, is if Florida State decides to offer him before Signing Day and that is still possible.