Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge have been lined up behind the line of scrimmage for so long, it's going to be a shock next year when the Hawkeyes take the field and those two are counting their money in the NFL.
We all felt that when Nate Kaeding, Bob Sanders and Robert Gallery went onto NFL fortunes last year. Throw WR Ed Hinkel into the mix, and you have another long-time triumvirate who will move on in life, leaving us with the memories.
But we get to watch Greenway and Hodge crack some skulls for one more year. Enjoy every minute of it, because they are two of the best linebackers to ever play for the University.
Kirk Ferentz said that every position on the team is up for grabs, but that Chad and Abdul probably have a pretty good chance of coming through fall drills as the starters. That would be a safe bet.
It will be interesting to see if those two will have to fend off a few more would be blockers this year than they have in recent years, with such a young group of defensive linemen in front of them.
Iowa's other projected starter at the LEO position is Ed Miles. Miles really did well this spring, and he was one of a handful of players that Ferentz singled out on more than one occasion. Miles will need to prove that he can handle the physical play at the position down in and down out.
Mike Klinkenborg is also a name that one hears mentioned quite often these days. He is listed as a backup at both the MLB and WILL backer positions. Mike Humpal is also listed as a backup at the WILL position.
Walkons Chris Kuehl (LEO) & Zach Gabelmann (MLB) are also listed on the depth chart.
It's a good bet that Klinkenborg is the #1 at both the WILL and MLB positions, while I have heard very positive things about Kuehl this summer. Klinkenborg and Kuehl both hail from Central Lyon HS, and they very well could be two of Iowa's three starting backers in 2006.
True frosh BJ Travers will really have to hammer the learning curve from day one, and a redshirt is expected. Pat Angerer is also a likely redshirt candidate, though his performance in the 4A state title game is still being talked about, and some observers felt he had the best performance at the recently concluded Shine Bowl.
If Miles, Greenway and Hodge can stay healthy, this is easily one of the best corps of linebackers in the country. The drop off between the starters and the reserves is unknown, literally.