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Iowa Hawkeye Insider Mailbag February 10

Derek Young of Hawkey Insider answers all your Iowa questions.

WHAT ARE SOME REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS FOR THE FOOTBALL TEAM NEXT YEAR?

DY: They return a pretty good defense outside of the uncertainty at defensive tackle and at cornerback. The offense is largely an unknown outside of Wadley and the offensive line. VandeBerg is back but an unproven quarterback. I think similar results to a year ago but the scary thing is a much tougher schedule. I think 7-8 wins if they take down the teams they should. 

IS WINNING THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT THE ONLY REALISTIC WAY THAT IOWA GETS INTO THE DANCE?

DY: I think so. Unless they win out in the regular season and that is not realistic. 

WITH PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORTING THIS WEEKEND, WHO DO YOU GUYS LIKE IN THE WORLD SERIES THIS YEAR?

DY: It's hard to go against the Cubs but teams rarely repeat. If not the Cubs, do not sleep on the Dodgers, Astros, Red Sox, or Indians. 

WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON OUR INFAMOUS RECRUITING POLICY? REALISTIC OR NOT? DO YOU REALLY THINK IT HOLDS US BACK IN RECRUITING? I'M UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT IF A 4-5 STAR GUY WON'T COME HERE BECAUSE OF IT, THEN HE PROBABLY WOULDN'T BE A GOOD FIT REGARDLESS. THOUGHTS?

DY: I think it's realistic depending on what your recruiting approach and strategy is going to be. If you want to bring in 7-10 kids from Texas and the southeast, it's probably not realistic or practical. The midwest kids that are committed to Iowa, can still visit Iowa throughout the season and year despite the no-visit policy. Kids from far away can't. That's more of a financial and time commitment because they have to pay on their own dime. A midwest visit can visit Iowa any weekend for the most part. A kid from Texas, Georgia, or Florida can't so he can't visit anywhere. So the no-visit policy is kind of regional and it impacts kids from different places differently. It can hold back in recruiting in that way? Harder for someone farther away to follow it because they aren't as easily able to visit Iowa. 

I also refuse to believe it's about not being a culture fit. If it was about not fitting into the culture because of it, they wouldn't take kids that have done it to other schools. Trey Creamer was committed to Minnesota and lied to the Gopher staff about visiting Iowa. The Hawkeyes still took him. If he did that to Iowa, folks would consider him not a fit but it's somehow ok since he did it to Minnesota instead. So their no-visit policy is not a culture thing at all. They would just rather not have to guess or try to predict whether a kid is going to stay committed or not, so they turn the page and find more of the sure thing. 

And yes, schools use this policy by Iowa to negative recruit against the Hawkeyes. It's hard to say if it is effective or not. 

SHOULD ALL THE RECRUITS MAKE IT OR DO WE HAVE SOME ON THE BORDERLINE?

DY: I think a couple might cut it close but they believe everyone will make it or else they wouldn't have let them sign on NSD. 

OTHER POSSIBLE DEFECTIONS AFTER SPRING BALL?

DY: Of course. There always is. It would be unfair to mention possible names and then them not end up transferring. But some are definitely coming. Iowa is over the 85-scholarship limit currently. 

OF THE TOP PROSPECTS THAT IOWA IS GOING FOR, WHAT ONE DO IOWA HAVE THE BEST CHANCE AT GETTING?

DY: Four-star guys I think that are within reach would be linebacker Cameron McGrone of the Indianapolis area and defensive tackle Trevor Trout. They aren't slam dunks but they are in the game and have a shot to land them. 

HOW IS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CAMERON MCGRONE?

DY: Very good. Iowa is in play with McGrone. It's looking like a battle with Northwestern and Wisconsin currently, though Cincinnati with Luke Fickell as head coach could be in the mix too. But Ohio State and Notre Dame could always offer. Let's wait and see. 

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL FROM KEN O'KEEFE? 

DY: I think he'll recruit the northeast and grab a couple each class more than likely. He's someone that probably will be good at identifying the under-the-radar talent and give Iowa a steal of a prospect here and there. Not sure he's going to be a recruiting ace or big aggressor like Kelvin Bell, Seth Wallace, Brian Ferentz and LeVar Woods. 

WILL BRIAN FERENTZ BE A HAWK ON THE TRAIL OR JUST RECRUIT QUARTERBACKS LIKE GREG DAVIS DID?

DY: Brian Ferentz will be much more involved on the recruiting trail than Greg Davis was. 

WHEN DO YOU THINK WE WILL HEAR ABOUT THE NEW COACHING HIRES? HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT WHO IS CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED OR RUMORS ALONG THOSE LINES?

DY: They have two more hires left to make. I think they get done with in the next week or two. It'll probably go down while I'm on vacation of course. Brian Anderson, Demo Odems, and A.J. Blazek have been in contact at one point or another but nothing is imminent. 

CAN IOWA LOCK DOWN THE BORDERS AND KEEP THE IN-STATE RECRUITS WE WANT?

DY: They typically do. You can pretty much count the guys they've wanted from in-state the last 10 years, but didn't get, on one hand. We're talking Oliver Martin, Ross Pierschbacher and Amara Darboh. That's the only three off the top of my head. Allen Lazard as well but he still stayed in the state. Iowa has a great hit rate. Not everyone is going to stay put. Ohio State lost Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard from the state of Ohio to Michigan. Stuff happens. 

WHAT DEPTH CHART POSITIONS COULD YOU SEE CHANGING NAMES ONCE SPRING PRACTICE STARTS OR AT LEAST FINISHES?

DY: The fifth offensive lineman could change. Right now it's Keegan Render at guard with Sean Welsh, James Daniels at center, and Boone Myers and Ike Boettger the tackles. Don't rule out Levi Paulsen in my opinion. I think he could still grab a starting spot before it's all said and done. The only other things I could foresee is Devonte Young claiming a wide receiver spot over Adrian Falconer or Amani Hooker winning a starting safety job. 

FRAN MCCAFFERY SEEMS TO BE CREATING SOME RECRUITING MOMENTUM. DO YOU FORESEE ANY BIG TIME BASKETBALL RECRUITS COMING TO IOWA CITY? (BIG TIME AS IN 5-STAR)

DY: Space is the biggest obstacle right now. 2017 is done. 2018 might be done. Highly rated prospects have been visiting the last year or two so I don't think that's going to change even though it might be some of the 2019 and 2020 variety. Fran and his staff can recruit. There's no question about that. My only question I ever have about them on the recruiting trail sometimes is roster formation. They tend to choose versatility over pure position players, but if it works for them, and so far it has, more power to them.

WHAT SCHOOLS HAD INTEREST IN NICHOLAS BAER? SOMEONE ON TV SAID HE HAD D1 OFFERS, BUT I CANNOT CONFIRM THAT.

DY: I don't know for sure but he was obviously a walk-on for Iowa. I'm not totally certain he had any offers. Dylan would be better for that question to be honest but I don't believe he had any, really. Maybe some D2 looks?

IT'S RATHER STRANGE TO THINK THERE COULD BE TWO FORMER IOWA COACHES AT NEBRASKA. WHAT SAY YOU?

DY: It happens more than you think across the country. But coaches leave school and alum pride behind them as much as they can to advance their careers. It's like any of us. There's hard decisions to make when considering career moves. Each person has to individually decide what's okay to them and what isn't. 

IS CALLING TIMEOUT A JUDGMENT CALL? MINNESOTA FANS SAY THE CALL FOR THE TIMEOUT WAS AFTER THE TIE-UP.

DY: It's certainly a judgment call by the official but that doesn't mean he had the wrong judgment if it is clear that the timeout was called. Timeout was called before the jump ball. There is no mistaking that. Anybody who tries to argue that is being delusional. I will say that I do think the timeout should have been called sooner. Iowa had just removed Peter Jok from the game so he wouldn't pick up his fifth foul on defense. They were going to need him back on the court once they regained possession. It was still a timeout, and not a jump ball, but I do think they should have called it sooner and been more demonstrative as soon as they gained possession. 


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