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 November 6 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!
- I think the matchup that everyone will want to pay attention to this weekend is the Iowa defense against the Indiana offense. It's strength against strength. But the more important matchup is probably the Iowa offense against the Indiana defense. It could come down to how much C.J. Beathard and company can score.
- I think this is a game where LeShun Daniels can have a big impact. Indiana is kind of built defensively to stop running backs like Akrum Wadley. The shiftier kind are a bit more natural for them to defend because the Hoosiers aren't some big, powerful defense but an athletic one with a lot of quickness. LeShun Daniels loves contact and bringing him down when he has a head of steam could be a bit more challenging for Kevin Wilson's group.
- Ike Boettger and Jordan Canzeri are both improving. I think both will dress. I think they only play if necessary. C.J. Beathard's health is about the same. They'd love for him to not have to run out of the pocket and be done by halftime. I don't think either will happen. I think the Hoosiers will be in contention for the full 60 and that they move him off his spot often.
- Defensively, I don't think you can dictate the tempo that Indiana operates but you can alter it. Winning on first down, getting off the field on third down, creating turnovers, and stopping the run are all things that bother a team that likes to operate quickly. Once they get off schedule it can get hectic.
- I know he's not 100 percent but Nate Meier is going to be awfully important in this one. He's the best pure pass rusher on the team now with Drew Ott out, and they'll need a pass rush in this one once they are able to make the Hoosiers one-dimensional. I think they'll have to bring more than four and manufacture a pass rush by sending others to get pressure on the quarterback. That makes it likely they'll have to blitz Miles Taylor or Ben Niemann.
- Iowa opened up 9th in the Playoff Poll. I expected them to be higher and it's a matter of inconsistency that they're not. Alabama is in the top 4 because of the teams they beat, which is similar who Iowa has beat. I can understand Iowa slipping below some other undefeateds as they finish out the schedule against a bunch of teams not ranked and not even .500. But this week, Iowa's body of work was much better than schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, Baylor, and TCU. At the end of the season, it all evens out.
- My thoughts have still not changed. There's a lot of key games left, including this week's matchups between TCU and Oklahoma State, Florida State and Clemson, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, and LSU and Alabama. There's many more throughout the year. Enough teams are going to go down. An undefeated Big Ten champion will not be left out, even if it is Iowa. I feel that way especially if they get a matchup in the Big Ten Championship against an undefeated Ohio State or Michigan State.
- I do think the Indiana game is the toughest game remaining on the schedule. Sure, Nebraska will have Tommy Armstrong back and that gives them the same offensive explosiveness that Indiana has, and they'll want to play the spoiler, but the Huskers are not bowling if they lose to Michigan State on Saturday. They're running out of things to play for. Minnesota played their hearts out for Jerry Kill against Michigan and came up short, and they'll probably try to do the same on Saturday against Ohio State. Their tank may be running on empty when they head to Iowa City. The Boilermakers should not compete with Iowa, simple as that. I think the Hoosiers provide the biggest threat.
- I will say this, I'm a bit up in the air in terms of a prediction. The betting line being as low as it is (one possession) makes me think Vegas sees that as a trap, also. Vegas isn't perfect either but darn it they usually are close. But, if Iowa gets past Indiana, I see a 12-0 record coming to fruition.
- Looking ahead, because I can, I think you'll see Iowa take on an undefeated Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
- Freshman guard Christian Williams will not be redshirting in all likelihood according to Fran McCaffery. I think it's also a near certainty that Ahmad Wagner and Andrew Fleming will not be either.
- What's that mean? I do believe the plan is likely to redshirt Isaiah Moss and Brandon Hutton. But, it's a two-sided conversation when that decision is made final. So, getting the players on the same page for that plan is also a factor.
- Fran McCaffery would like a 10-man rotation. I do like that idea. They have the depth to implement that strategy and it enables them to stay fresh and run the way they want.
- What 10 guys are likely: Uthoff, Gesell, Clemmons, Jok, Woodbury, Uhl, Wagner, Christian Williams, and Fleming. That doesn't even count Dale Jones. There's going to be a tough decision that has to be made.
- Iowa landed defensive back K.J. Sails earlier in the week to give them at Top 25 recruiting class. With only one spot left, it could fall below some teams that have more room but the Hawkeyes could still get additional boost if they were to land Matt Farniok, a four-star offensive tackle. Other ways to continue to rise would be a few of their three-star commits jumping up to four-star status. The possibilities include quarterback Nate Stanley, running back Toren Young, tight end Noah Fant, cornerback Emmanuel Rugamba, and Sails himself.
- I think Matt Farniok will take an official visit to Iowa. A date to look out for would be the night game against Minnesota. I find it highly unlikely he attends for the Purdue game. If the Minnesota game does not happen, he could roll in to Iowa City when a number of the commits take their official visit after the season ends.
- Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kennedy tight end Shaun Beyer is a North Dakota State commit and has confirmed that he's been offered by Nebraska. He'll take an official visit to Lincoln when they host Iowa in the final game of the regular season. It is interesting that a scenario could play out that Iowa's tight end in the class hails from Nebraska while the Huskers get their tight end from Iowa.