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 Tuesday November 10 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!
- My prediction for Saturday night's contest against Minnesota will come out later today and I'll just say I think the Hawkeye fans will be thrilled with it.
- Jordan Canzeri will be back and I think Akrum Wadley will be good to go, giving Iowa their full compliment of running backs with Derrick Mitchell and LeShun Daniels also figuring in. As a whole, this may be one of the best backfields in the nation, not just the Big Ten.
- I'd list him as questionable but I think right tackle Ike Boettger may play. He's missed three games now with an ankle injury and wasn't listed on the two-deep. They could give him another week but I have a feeling him and Cole Croston both get time at right tackle.
- I do not think the defense will have a problem with the Minnesota offense. Their offensive numbers are probably a bit skewed at this point. Their passing numbers look much better than what they really are because they've been playing from behind quite a bit. They are still want a team that wants to run the ball first with Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith. Smith is the most impressive one in my opinion.
- The Gophers do have a nice defense that can challenge the Hawkeye offense. However, they are shorthanded. Both their defensive tackles are out for this one as well as cornerback Jalen Myrick who is quite a talent. I think this spells doom for Minnesota.
- Some lopsided numbers in the Hawkeyes' favor that I failed to mention in the stat sheet stuffer on Monday are the first quarter performances from each team. Minnesota has been a slow starter all year, being outscored in the first quarter this year 53-14. On the other hand, Iowa has outscored their opponents in the first quarter this year 50-16. With what the Gophers have gone through the past few weeks, if the Hawkeyes are able to jump out early to a comfortable lead, it could be a "no, not again' scenario for Minnesota.
- Defensively, I think Iowa can more than contain Minnesota. They are better on defense, much better, than the Gophers are on offense. The only thing that can alter that is explosive plays. If the Hawkeyes eliminate those, they shut down Tracy Claeys' squad.
- After the annihilation of last year, Iowa will want to come out firing and seek revenge. It's the right attitude to have but they can't let that emotion creep in and take them out of their game and prevent their execution. I don't think it will but it's something to keep in mind as they play in front of the first sellout crowd at Kinnick Stadium this year.
- Since the last Hawkeye Hits was published, a new set of rankings was released by the College Football Playoff Committee. They jumped Iowa over Michigan State an TCU as expected, but also kept them above Oklahoma State and jumped them over LSU and Baylor much to everyone's surprise. They have the Hawkeyes at #5.
- That's exciting for Iowa fans to be listed in the top 5 but I think that's the highest they will go until the Big Ten Championship Game. They will be in the top 4 if they go undefeated and win in Indianapolis, but likely won't jump into the top 4 until after they beat a Big Ten team for the conference title. They could also drop regardless of what they do this week if Baylor is able to knock off Oklahoma.
- I put out my preview on the team last night and predicted them to miss the NCAA Tournament just barely. They really have a tough schedule this year and it starts early. I think they will definitely improve as the year goes on but that's a tough slate for a team still trying to figure a lot of things out in terms of rebounding, defense, and rotations.
- It'll be interesting to see what the rotation looks like in the low post. Dom Uhl has some work to do and has more to prove to gain meaningful minutes. Dale Jones played very well in the second exhibition game. Ahmad Wagner is a freshman they really like. Jarrod Uthoff is a star and Nicholas Baer has earned minutes. Someone will not be getting the playing time they expect and at this point, it could be Dom Uhl, though Wagner is dealing with a shoulder issue.
- One of the bright spots has been Peter Jok. They need another significant scorer to step up alongside Uthoff and so far Jok has answered the bell.
- My guess on the 10-man rotation that McCaffery wants to implement will consist of Gesell, Jok, Clemmons, Uthoff, Woodbury, Christian Williams, Baer, Wagner, Brady Ellingson, and Dale Jones.
- It is still a work in progress and two guys that definitely still have an opportunity depending on how things shake out are Dom Uhl and Andrew Fleming.
- Defensive back Brandon Drayton of Largo, Florida has canceled his official visit as expected. Iowa got their defensive back in K.J. Sails and wiht just one spot left, an offensive tackle is the priority.
- The top targets at offensive tackle are still Matt Farniok and Alaric Jackson. Both are going to be tough to reel in but the Hawkeyes are in the ball game for each.
- A handful of prospects will be in town for the Minnesota game with a large emphasis being on the 2017 class. One area they have zeroed in on is the state of Missouri, much to my liking. They've already offered safety Djimon Colbert of Kansas City who was in town for the Maryland game. Running back Andrew Clair of St. Louis has an offer and will be in Iowa City this weekend. Two other Missouri prospects that will be in attendance, without offers, are cornerback Dillon Thomas of Kansas City and wideout Jaevon McQuitty from Columbia.
- Colbert is a stud athlete and from the same high school as Aaron Mends. If Missouri ever offers, he likely ends up there, but he's very fond of the Hawkeyes. I know him well and have seen him play at least 20 times. He's very long and not like any of the other safeties on the Iowa roster right now. He should be a top target for them in the 2017 class.
- McQuitty is a national prospect. Like with a lot of Missouri prospects, if the Tigers offer, it's an uphill battle for everyone else. It'll be the same here. He's not an overly fast wideout but he's got a great set of hands and is ball skills are elite. Thomas does not hold an offer yet but he will. He plays wideout and cornerback for Park Hill South and is an incredible athlete and very long. Some project him at wideout but his athletic ability, length, and competitiveness screams cornerback to me. He really likes Iowa.
- Mount Vernon (Iowa) offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs will not be there because of a playoff game Saturday night. He would be there if he didn't have conflicts, though. He's in the middle of setting up visits to Michigan and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are definitely in the driver's seat for the state's top player but they'll have a ton of competition for him at the end of the day. He should wind up with a heck of an offer sheet.