Notable Additions: Walner Belleus, Dodge City CC, DB, 5-10, 180
Notable Subtractions: Robert Gallery OL (graduation), Fred Russell, RB (graduation), Nathan Chandler QB (graduation), Jared Clauss DT (graduation), Bob Sanders, SS (graduation), Mo Brown, WR (graduation), Nate Kaeding, PK (graduation), Erik Jensen, TE (graduation), DE Howard Hodges (graduation)
|2004 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE|
Defensive Overview: Iowa has ranked among the nation's best defensive units over the past three seasons, and that should not change in 2004. Defense will be the strength of the team, as Iowa returns seven starters. The losses of SS Bob Sanders, LB Grant Steen, DE Howard Hodges and DT Jared Clauss are significant, but the Hawkeyes mantra of 'Next Man In' has served them well over the past several years, and there is no reason to expect anything less in 2004. Iowa plays primarily a base 4-3 set with a cover two in the secondary. The secret to their success has been their ability to stop the run with just four men on the defensive line. Last year, that led to then soph's Hodge and Greenway finishing first and third in the league in tackles, respectively. Iowa's LB corps are among the best in the nation, and their secondary should be at its strongest since Kirk Ferentz's first season at Iowa in 1999. The only position where they will be breaking in a 'green' starter is at SS, where Marcus Paschal replaces Sanders, who was an all American. Expect another stellar year from the Hawkeyes if everyone stays healthy. If Iowa loses any of its four defensive line starters to injury, a redshirt freshman will have to step up, as four of them are listed as the backups to start fall drills.
Special Teams Overview: Losing PK Nate Kaeding, one of the best place kickers in the history of the Big Ten and the most accurate kicker in NCAA history from 40-yards out or further, is huge. He was such a huge weapon for Iowa, as they needed only to get to the 35-yard line and they were in his range. Those duties now fall to Soph. Kyle Schlicher. Schlicher has a strong leg and was able to learn from Kaeding for two full years. No matter who was to replace Kaeding, you would be expecting a drop off. Sr. David Bradley will handle the punting duties for the Hawkeyes for the fourth straight season. Iowa's coverage and punt blocking units are traditionally among the best in the country, and we see no reason for that to change in 2004.
The Hawkeyes will get back to their third straight New Year's Day Bowl if... the offense can avoid turning the ball over, and they can average better than 4.3 yards per carry, something that has become the norm in Iowa City. The defense will be good enough to keep them in every single game. The rest will come down to turnovers and special teams.
|TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview|
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