Reese Strickland/USA Today

Iowa Week 2 Report Card

The Week 2 report card on the Iowa Hawkeyes contest against Iowa State. Taking a look at each position and grading their performance.

QUARTERBACKS

STANDOUT: C.J. Beathard 
GRADE: A+ 
SUMMARY: Sure he missed the mark a few times but this was a brilliant game from the Hawkeye senior. Three things really stuck out to me. One was his ball placement as he dropped the ball in the bucket a number of times, especially to Matt VandeBerg. The three passes to VandeBerg were sensational; back shoulder throw, touchdown in the corner, and the fade from the slot. Second was his total command and control of the offense. He made the proper checks, was patient and cerebral and knew exactly what was going on out there at all times. Beathard knew what to do, when to do it, and he aligned everyone perfectly. It was a well-oiled machine. And lastly was his awareness. It was simple and subtle but at one point he was trying to get Iowa into the right play and it wasn't getting done fast enough and the play clock was running down. While he was getting everyone organized, reading the defense, and making the check, he still had the instincts to know where the play clock was and was able to call a timeout without taking a penalty. That was a lot happening fast and all at once and he handled it perfectly. 

RUNNING BACKS

STANDOUT: Akrum Wadley
GRADE: A
SUMMARY: The backs were excellent again. The explosiveness, highlight reels, and evolvement of Akrum Wadley nudges him ahead of LeShun Daniels. He may have not been 100 percent but he showed new elements to his game in being able to be a weapon in the passing game, running in between the tackles, while still showcasing his elusiveness and suddenness. Daniels was great too but I have to give the nod to Wadley. Drake Kulick got a lot of the fullback snaps, much more than Brady Ross. I thought he missed on a few blocks and he probably would admit that and want to put together a better performance as well.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STANDOUT: Matt VandeBerg
GRADE: B+
SUMMARY: I didn't give them an 'A' because outside of VandeBerg, they lacked some explosion. They'll need another wideout to step up and provide in that area at some point. Jerminic Smith showed flashes last week but it has to be more consistent in my mind. Riley McCarron was steady, VandeBerg caught some difficult throws in some tight windows, but Scheel and Jerminic weren't able to create any opportunities. Also, there were some balls they'd like to have back. This group played well and they're moving along in the right direction but they're not there yet. 

TIGHT ENDS

STANDOUT: George Kittle
GRADE: A-
SUMMARY: Everyone is probably wondering why the grade is the same as last week when Kittle caught his touchdown this week but dropped it in the opener. Kittle did set up the long touchdown run when LeShun Daniels made his cutback to the left off the back of Kittle's block. It was a great downblock that took most of the defensive line and a linebacker out of the equation. However, his blocking wasn't as consistent as it was a week ago. He missed a few times. If he combines the good things from Week 1 and Week 2, he has a perfect grade. He's almost there.  

OFFENSIVE LINE

STANDOUT: Sean Welsh
GRADE: A-
SUMMARY: This group dominated and probably deserved an 'A+' but I couldn't go that far because of the breakdowns in pass protection on the two sacks. Ike Boettger had a heck of a game but he got beat badly when Beathard was sacked in the red zone. Lucky for him, there was a facemask penalty that gave the Hawkeyes new life. The other sack was in the second half and there was some confusion on the part of Cole Croston. He was ready for a blitz that didn't come and he wasn't able to help out Boone Myers in time and they got beat when Jhaustin Thomas split them for the sack. He left the game early but Sean Welsh was the most productive and consistent. Boone Myers was great, too. The lowest grade I would have would be for Lucas LeGrand. He wasn't bad for his first start by any means but he did have his hands full at times with Cyclone standout Demond Tucker. Tucker is a heck of a player on an average defense. 

DEFENSIVE LINE

STANDOUT: Jaleel Johnson
GRADE: A-
SUMMARY: Another position and another A- grade. They were SO much better than they were against Miami. I thought the two best were Jaleel and Bazata and either one could have been the standout. I gave it to Johnson because I think his impact was felt more. He was penetrating on nearly every snap and finishing the play. Bazata was very active and got his hands on a lot of passes, as did a few others along the line. They supplied a pretty good pass rush, even the tackles inside, but there were still a few lulls at times when they looked like they were getting tired. Anthony Nelson stood out again, and he's really good at navigating the traffic along the line. Anthony Nelson had another sack but I felt like he left one or two more out there as well. An additional note was something I picked up on late in the game when re-watching the tape. Cedrick Lattimore was causing a lot of disruption towards the end of the game with his penetration. He just needs to find the ball after he knifes through to finish his work. 

LINEBACKERS

STANDOUT: N/A
GRADE: B
SUMMARY: Once again I could not really name a standout in this group. Nobody really stepped up and made a huge difference in this game. Ben Niemann had his interception but they manipulated him a few times in the passing game. He guessed wrong a couple of times and they were trying to attack him in coverage by forcing him to defend the backs in space. They did the same against Jewell a couple times as well. They were fortunate that Lanning could not take advantage because there were yards to be had if he could have connected. Jewell seemed a little off early on, looking like he was struggling to settle in. It did seem like he found himself again in the second half. I imagine he was still knocking some of the rust off. I thought they were steady but not overly productive. They might be tempted to give Amani Jones a chance at meaningful playing time here and there because he looked pretty good in the fourth quarter. 

DEFENSIVE BACKS

STANDOUT: Desmond King
GRADE: B+
SUMMARY: Along with the defensive line, this was one of the most improved position groups against Iowa State. Other than the screen to Lazard, they limited the big plays this time around. On the screen, there was great blocking to set that up and nobody really screwing up in coverage. The only one that a little bit of a shot to negate it before Lazard got free was Bo Bower. King seemed to prevent a lot of the throws to his side of the field and was great in run support. Mabin was improved, and though Lazard surpassed 100 yards, the coverage on him was pretty good for the most part. Miles Taylor was also pretty good in run support. The communication was better. They did well. Rugamba seems to have taken the nickel spot away from Josh Jackson. His hip flexibility and speed is mighty impressive and he's showing a lot of ability right now already as a true freshman. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

STANDOUT: Ron Coluzzi
GRADE: A+
SUMMARY: There were no flaws in this part of the game yet again. Keith Duncan was perfect on extra points. Coluzzi was magnificent on kickoffs and punts. Desmond King picked up positive yardage on each return. There were also a few standouts in kick and punt coverage like youngsters Amani Jones and Jack Hockaday. 


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories