We share our observations and everything that we learned from today's Iowa open football practice.
A lot of guys out today or limited.
Jay Scheel is nursing a little bit of a hamstring issue but is expected to be back in pads on Monday. Jonathan Parker is still out and probably will miss all of fall camp. VandeBerg and McCarron played very little but I think that was so they could develop others.
C.J. Beathard got rolled up on earlier and I think he missed some practices but he's fine and ready to go now.
Tight end Jon Wisnieski is sidelined right now with a sprained knee that is worse than Beathard's. Kittle is fine despite not being suited up today.
Sean Welsh suited up but didn't play and he's been out this week and the centers have been James Daniels and Lucas LeGrand in practice. They don't believe it is serious but it could open up a situation where Welsh goes back to right guard and Daniels settles in at center.
Jake Hulett is out and is in a walking boot so he could be sidelined a bit creating some more depth issues inside at defensive tackle. Daniel Gaffey was getting time with Ekakitie in the second unit but I think it will ultimately be true freshman Cedrick Lattimore getting those snaps. Slater is still out and wasn't at Kinnick Stadium today. Parker Hesse is being dealt with carefully but he got in work today. It's probably something very minor with him where they didn't want to risk it today in a live scrimmage. Brady Reiff is still injured and in a walking boot.
At linebacker, Ben Niemann was held out but I think it's only for precautionary reasons. Jacob Sobotka is also still injured. Hockaday was limited today but he should be fine.
In the secondary, Greg Mabin was held out for precautionary reasons. Michael Ojemudia was limited in same fashion that Hockaday was but should be fine.
All in all, that's a lot of players but I think most are the usual dings and nicks that you see in fall camp and should be fine. They were precautionary with them since it was a live scrimmage. The only ones that are a bit more longer term are Slater, Hulett, Wisnieski, Parker, Reiff, and Sobotka along with true freshmen Romeo McKnight and Austin Schulte who are still nursing high school injuries.
IMPRESSIVE TRUE FRESHMEN
Nate Stanley showed off that powerful arm today. He could contend for the best arm on the team in a year, if not now. I don't want to put the cart in front of the horse but there could be an interesting arm talent vs experience debate next year between Stanley and Wiegers. Do you take the guy that knows the offense like the back of his hand and has had the game slow down for him or the guy with the most talented arm on the roster. That will be intriguing to me.
A freshman running back will probably play this season but neither really had the opportunity to flash today. Toks is a bit more explosive while Young likes the contact a bit more, which were both expected.
Beyer flashed in some of the routes on air drills but was with the third team at receiver during the scrimmage and is doubtful to play this season. Devonte Young might. He saw some time with the second unit and had a couple good grabs. He's much further along than I expected.
Noah Fant really flashed at tight end. With the injury now to Wisnieski, there should be no doubt that he plays this year. Hockenson was pretty good and he may find a role as well.
Along the offensive line, none will play like Daniels did a year ago. Cole Banwart really has a nice looking body type. Alaric Jackson is a nice looking prospect but is probably the most raw out of all the freshmen linemen. He has a ways to go.
Cedrick Lattimore is the best looking freshmen on the hoof. He just looks the part. I think he plays right away but it will probably be at defensive tackle and not defensive end as I predicted. The thin depth chart inside makes Lattimore a need there. Chauncey Golston has a ways to go in terms of adding the necessary size but he's an all-out, give all the effort and energy you have type of player and the coaches really loved that about him today. Kirk Ferentz even praised him during the practice and said maybe we should move you to linebacker. He ran down Adrian Falconer 35 yards down the field which was very impressive. Brandon Simon will be a definite redshirt.
Kyle Taylor, Kristian Welch, and Barrington Wade are kind of buried at linebacker and have a ways to go. They will all likely redshirt this season. Amani Jones was the one true freshman linebacker running with the two-deeps and his pursuit is very nice and he packs a punch when he hits people. "He's our kind of guy" Kirk Ferentz said about him afterwards.
In the secondary, Hooker and Rugamba saw a lot of time on the field during special teams action. That is probably a strong indication that they could both see the field this year. Hooker was less prevalent in the actual scrimmage. With Mabin out and Ojemudia limited, Rugamba got a ton of time and even saw some time with the first team. He can play and will. Boswell is a definite redshirt.
As mentioned before, Kirk Ferentz really admired the effort he saw from defensive end Chauncey Golston and praised him a few times even mentioning maybe he should be at linebacker.
Reese Morgan had to really get on his second unit defensive line at one point because they weren't hustling back to the huddle. You don't see Morgan yell much so that was a substantial moment. He was also speaking with Jaleel Johnson often making sure he was getting the rest he needed on a hot day like it was.
Bobby Kennedy was really riding his wide receivers hard today and likely because it is a young unit and he needs some guys to emerge. Jerminic Smith caught his bad side a few different times because he wasn't going as hard as what Kennedy wanted. That is probably an example of what Kennedy told us at Media Day that he still had a ways to go in earning their trust, and why he's possibly been passed by Jay Scheel. Jerminic still has some maturing to do but he has the talent but he has to keep the light switch on all the time and not flick it off.
Linebacker Angelo Garbutt really had a good day and he was getting strong motivation from Seth Wallace. He jumped all over him a few times but it appeared it was because he knew he had more in him and he was trying to pull it out on a very strong day from the redshirt freshmen. Garbutt has a bright future in my opinion.
Nobody is harder on Snyder than himself. He really demands a lot of himself and has high expectations for himself and he takes the game very seriously. It was so evident throughout the scrimmage. He's a guy that just cares so much and I think that will be valuable moving forward. He was also praised afterwards by fellow safety Miles Taylor who said Snyder has never received the credit he should. Taylor was very complimentary of Snyder and what he can bring to the team this season.
KICKING AND PUNTING
We didn't see any punting today but Kirk Ferentz said that he's seen great things from both Colten Rastetter and Central Michigan transfer Ron Coluzzi. Both are in quite the battle and Coluzzi is a definite candidate for kickoffs according to the head coach.
We did see the kickers quite a bit on the day. One of them is a freshman in Caleb Shudak who just arrived and was very nervous today according to Ferentz because it was his first action for the most part. He had an okay day but wasn't overly impressive. He's also very, very, very small. However, he can kick the heck out of the ball.
Keith Duncan was very accurate and showed off a strong leg today. The true freshman from North Carolina had a strong day but unfortunately his misses came when he was blocked twice by Anthony Gair. Blocked field goals are worse than missed field goals.
Miguel Recinos got off to a very rough start. He was missing quite a few in the first half of today's practice and looked a lot less than impressive. He seemed to figure it out towards the end and connected more and more.
The one who had the best day today was Mick Ellis, who is on scholarship. He made just about every kick I saw him attempt.
The winner of the day was definitely Mick Ellis but Miguel Recinos closed strong.