Coach Ferentz has stated that the staff will look into moving four or five players to help better the team this spring. Also, sources have informed me that Coach Ferentz has also mentioned that these changes will surprise some people.
Here is my analysis as I give an inside look on some possible positions changes and there implications on the future of Iowa Hawkeye Football.
Dallas Clark to FB? - I recently had a member of the media bring this idea up to me and really after giving it thought I did see more possibility into this. I do not see this being a permanent move, but with Aaron Mickens and Edgar Cervantes lacking the running ability this staff likes at FB, the staff could give some thought to lining Clark as a big back in situations. Clark is obviously one of the best athletes and playmakers on offense, and this would help put the ball in his hands more often, especially with Iowa becoming more of a run-oriented offense. Clark could often be used in either or both 1st and 2nd down situations, and then be moved out into the flat for passing situations to give Iowa a threat as a third or fourth receiving option. This would line him up with a LB a lot more likely than a safety coming up to cover him like we saw much in the late season. While I have heard no substance behind this, it is certainly something that Hawk fans could give some thought to.
I still believe Clark would line up as a TE, also, but this would help give more time to Jensen and Barkema at TE next year, too. Erik could also move to FB, but I'm not sure he is the running threat the coaches are looking for either.
Tony Jackson to DE? - This move seems to be a very high possibility. Tight end is quickly becoming more and more logjammed with CJ Barkema ready to play next season. Tony is very athletic at 6'3 260 and is also very explosive. Reports have him being the most explosive TE in the group as he gets off the ball very well, that is why he was used in goaline situations so much. This move would help insure Colin Cole's move back to DT, also. The OL and DL are two other positions Tony could bulk up to play, but his athletic ability could be better used on the defensive flank.
Aramis Haralson to WR? - This could have been a move the staff regrets not doing last spring. Aramis is a freakish athlete for his (6'3 185) as his jumping ability exceeds many of the current WR's on the team (excluding incoming recruits). Aramis has not shown the coverage ability to give any indication that he will be a contributor at CB. Aramis also lacks size for Big Ten WR's at 185 as his strength is not that of a Benny Sapp or Matt Stockdale. The only reason this move could be a year away would be that Adolphus Shelton has not been nearly as impressive as Antwan Allen this fall. Adolphus is a track guy trying to become a football player, and still has a ways to go before being in the two deeps at CB.
Matt Neubauer to DE? - Matt has yet to move to DE, but liked the idea when he was being recruited out of high school. His frame is better suited for DE. Right now, Matt is only in the 6'6 240 range, but will have no problem getting up in the 260 to 270 range by next fall and possibly being a two deep member. One thing the staff loved about Matt coming out of high school was his toughness and motor, something in the same mold of Aaron Kampman, but Matt has better raw athletic ability than Kampman. Matt is very agile for his size, going back to his basketball days. I think Hawk fans should be very excited about Matt's future at DE, and he could be a reason why Matt Roth stays at MLB.
Matt Roth to DE? - It seems more now that Matt Roth will be staying at MLB than it was earlier this fall. Matt has had problems picking up the system, and he likely will not be named #1 MLB heading into the spring. But Matt has a knack for the football and has better closing speed than our current MLB's, Mike Dolezal and Roger Meyer. As our secondary and outside linebackers improve, giving Norm Parker more blitz and coverage possiblities, Matt Roth could very well be used in a role to just attack the ball. However, to turn the page a bit, Matt also has a big frame and great toughness so a move to DE should never be discounted. I don't see the move to DE happening this spring, but if Matt does not show better ability at MLB this spring, he certainly could be a DE by next fall.
Colin Cole to DT? - This is a move that I also put on the very high possibility list. While some believe he could stay at DE because of depth issues at DE, I do believe that DT will need more help than DE. Also, Colin has shown better ability at DT, and could be one of the best in the Big Ten next season. Colin's position in the NFL is going to be DT. At DE, Howard Hodges and Jonathan Babineaux will likely be the front runners for the starting jobs. Derreck Robinson, possibly Tony Jackson, and Matt Neubauer will push for playing time, also. This move will help in the immediate future as the Hawks will pick up right off where they ended with Clauss and Cole as the starting DT's. Fabian Dodd's body is not yet ready to be a regular starter in the Big Ten, and another year to be put in conditional situations, could help progress him faster.
Other possibilities - A move by Erik Jensen to FB has been discussed much, but like I said above, I do not believe he would be much of an upgrade to our running game as a FB as he is very similar to Cervantes and Mickens.
There has been talk of Matt Bohnet moving to FB, also, as he is a good athlete with size and toughness. Matt wants to stay at QB and will stay at QB this spring to help with depth. However, If he does not show the ability that he will make a move in the future at QB, it could become a more realistic possiblity that Matt becomes a FB or even perhaps LB in the future.
Mike Follett likely will not stay at LB, but right now there has not been any certainity on what position he will move to. Defensive End is a possibility, same with Tight End, but Mike could also become a DT with his 6'5 frame as he is already in the 255 range. It will be interesting to see where the staff decides to put him.
Ben Gates could also be a guy that moves to the OL or DL. Ben does not have the size of CJ Barkema at TE nor does he have as much athletic ability. However, Gates was recruited out of high school largely because of his blocking ability.
There are certainly a lot of athletes on the team currently, and that will be upgraded even more with the incoming class for next year. It will be interesting to see what develops at the beginning of winter drills. HTO.com will keep you informed of anything we hear!