Ask D: Iowa Mailbag February 20

Mailbag time: Answering all your Iowa Hawkeye questions for the week.

WHO DOES A.J. EPENESA REMIND YOU OF?

I'm not sure I've seen anyone live in person that is quite like him. He's quick off the ball and tear off the edge as a pass rusher as if he was some quick-twitch 6-foot-4, 245 pound stand-up specialty pass rusher. Except Epenesa is 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds. He may be about 285-290 when he plays for the Hawkeyes for the first time his freshman year. There's not a lot of good examples of that in college football right now or in the past few years. Joey Bosa is one, and people have used that comparison, but I never was able to see Bosa in person. The closest comparison I may have ever saw in person was Adolphus Washington. 

BREAKOUT PLAYERS FOR IOWA IN 2016?

I think one will be a wide receiver. Someone needs to contribute alongside Jerminic Smith and Matt VandeBerg. Is it Jay Scheel, Jonathan Parker, and Adrian Falconer? I think one of the three do. In addition to those, give me Nathan Bazata and Aaron Mends.

WHO ARE YOUR TOP FIVE PLAYERS FOR THIS UPCOMING DRAFT?

I know he got injured but I love Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame. Jalen Ramsey of Florida State is a stud. Joey Bosa is obviously a top 5 pick. My other two would probably be the offensive tackles, Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley. Close on the outside for me would be Vernon Hargreaves, Laquon Treadwell, and Robert Nkemdiche. Not as high on Myles Jack as others.

THE HAWKS LOOK BEAT. AS THE COACH, HOW DO YOU REST YOUR TEAM AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? GIVE THEM DAYS OFF, LIGHT PRACTICE, ETC? I GUESS WEIGHT LOSS AND JUST BEING TIRED ARE COMMON THIS TIME OF YEAR AND I WONDER AS A COACH HOW YOU WOULD HANDLE IT?

Lighter practices while still getting in the same work so that you are totally prepared and staying in shape. It's a delicate balance if you think about it. You have to stay in game-shape but you need to give the body a rest. You also have to prepare the same. There is usually a day off or two when it comes to a week layoff like the one they have right now. That allows it to be easier to find rest. But even on the off days, the guys usually still make their way to the gym to at least get shots up. 

WHO IS EXCELLING IN THE WEIGHT ROOM THIS WINTER?

Names that I have heard thrown around are Michael Slater, Derrick Mitchell, Jay Scheel, George Kittle, Cole Croston, Parker Hesse, Faith Ekakitie, Ben Niemann, Angelo Garbutt, Michael Ojemudia, and Miles Taylor.

IS JAY SCHEEL HEALTHY AND GOING TO SHINE SOON? A TON OF HYPE AND NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT YET. IOWA HAS SO DESPERATELY NEEDED HUGE PLAYMAKERS THAT CAN SPREAD THE FIELD AND CATCH THE BALL. IS HE GOING TO BE THE MAN COMPLIMENTING SMITH AND VANDEBERG?

According to wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and head coach Kirk Ferentz, it seemed that Jay Scheel finally was getting healthy, up to full speed, and the light was turning on during the bowl prep in December. The last few weeks impressed both coaches. He's one that is really dedicating himself in the offseason, though. If it continues to be on the upward tick in the Spring, he's certainly going to be a candidate. As will Jonathan Parker and Adrian Falconer. 


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