Shuffling the Deck: OL's Moving Around the Roster

Offensive line has been on the minds of Hawkeye fans around the world since Robert Gallery played his last game for Iowa in January. Now, just days before Iowa's first game, the two-deep has seen quite a shake up. Mike Jones listed as the #1 right tackle, Pete McMahon moving to right guard and former walk on and now scholarship player Todd Plagman being listed #1 at left guard. Ferentz talks about all of that, in addition to talking about some of the true freshmen who might play this year.

Q: On the reshuffling of the offensive line depth chart from two weeks ago.

We are in that mode. We are not going to make any decisions on the line until the end of the week. We will probably play six or seven guys, maybe eight. There is a lot of close competition right now, so we will see how the week plays out. It has been tough to gauge everything. We started making some decisions after the last open scrimmage, then last week we had a lot of guys in and out for a day or two.

If I have one concern right now, it's that that unit has had a hard time gelling. We have seen some good things on an individual basis, but as far as those guys getting cohesiveness, we have not been able to do that yet. So I am not quite sure how all of that will pan out. But we will play seven or eight guys in the game and see where we are at.

Q: What has Plagman done to become the starter? (listed #1 at left guard today)

He has just quietly emerged. He walked on here last fall and did some good things. I remember the coaches making some comments about his work ethic and picking some things up naturally. That being said, he was still on the scout team working against our defense each day. That progressed into the springtime, where we had him at our number two center, and he has quietly done his work this camp, too. So we decided to give him a look at guard and he has taken to that pretty well. He will still play center; Ben Cronin is going to play both.

We are just going to keep evaluating. But Todd has done a lot of things really well. It's not like he has done anything extraordinary in one area, but we are really impressed with what he is doing. Q: Is he on scholarship? He is now. He wasn't a year ago, but he has done a great job.

Q: Did you feel that Mike Jones would ultimately end up at tackle?

I felt there was that possibility, certainly, or we wouldn't have moved him out there. The good news is that he can play both, and we feel the same way about Pete. We looked at things over the summer, and Mike missed some time in fall camp this year, but when he came back, we tried him out there and he looked good, and I think that gives us our best fit for right now.

Q: Talk about how camp went for Adam Shada and Seth Olsen, and how is Adam's health?

Adam's health has been fine. He had a lot of difficulties this past year, but he spent some time here this summer and he trained with our guys, so his health is not a concern at this time. A lot of the young guys have done a good job, because many of them were here this summer.

Adam has been doing a good job, competing with the veterans. We have had a lot of minor injuries and he was out for about four or five days, but we expect him back today. Again, we are not quite sure with whether or not we are going to play any of these guys, but I think of the four I mentioned, he is first on the list (to play).

Seth is a guy that has a lot to learn still, like any incoming player. Offensive line is a really tough place to break in. What Mike Jones did last year was extraordinary. That being said, he (Olsen) has done a lot of good things and he is a guy we are going to look hard at over the next couple of weeks. David Walker's recovery might tie in to that picture, too. So we will keep an eye on it and see where we are at in a week or two.

Q: Talk about Matt Kroul showing up on the depth chart at defensive tackle

As I said three weeks ago, we are concerned about our depth. Matt was a multi-sport athlete at Mt. Vernon. I was impressed with his wrestling prowess going back two years ago, and that caught our attention. We knew he was a tough competitor. I think we found a home for him on the defensive line. We felt that he might outgrow the linebacker position. He started with a lot to learn early in camp, and he was struggling, as you would expect.

But he has been improving quietly each day and right now we want to keep looking at him. We are not sure how the situation will work out;, but if he is not in the equation this year, he certainly will be in the spring. But it's worth our time right now to take a look at him.

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