~S~Rob Report: Ball St.

HN.com Senior Writer Rob Howe and his crew of catbirds check in with observations from Iowa's 56-0 blowout of Ball State in the '05 opener. We report on the true freshmen that dressed and played, who received the starting nods for some toss-up positions, who received a tongue-lashing from the coach, and much more in this HN.com premium report.

Well, Hawkeye fans, as we said in the pregame predictions, not sure there was a whole lot to take out of this one expect that Ball State has a lot of work ahead of it. And, I guess the home team looked pretty good. That's said with a little tongue in cheek, of course.

The view from the press box proved sweet as always, and the loose meat sandwiches aside, it was a lovely day for football in Iowa City. The sun splashed crowd of 70, 585 represented a Kinnick Stadium record, even though many of them returned to tailgating at halftime.

Larry Station served as the honorary captain, and was honored at halftime and joined the Iowa captains on the field for the coin toss. The Nebraska native looked conditioned enough to suit up once again. Ball State probably could have used him.

While the game was decided early, Rob and his spies scanned the field for items of interest before moving to the back of the press box to watch the Oklahoma upset. We bring them to you in our first Report of the season:

TRUE FRESHMEN REPORT: Dace Richardson, Corey Robertson, Kalvin Bailey, Andy Kuempel, Kyle Calloway, Tony Moeaki, Pat Angerer, Marcus Wilson, B.J. Travers, Alex Kanellis, Justin Collins, Ryan Bain, Chris Rowell, Shonn Greene and Jake Christianson all suited up for the game.

Moeaki, Richardson, Greene, Kanellis and Bain played. A year ago, Iowa employed just two true freshmen – Adam Shada and Charles Godfrey.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Everything looked good for Iowa on Saturday, and the special teams were no exception. The kick return unit could evolve into a major weapon this season with Albert Young and Damian Sims backed up deep. Sims ripped off a 36-yarder to start the game.

Greene was an animal on ST, which in addition to his ability to run the football, likely played heavily into pulling the redshirt off of him.

Hinkel looked strong on punt returns, and Young and Herb Grigsby also got looks on punt returns.

It doesn't seem like much was settled in the search for a starting punter. John Gallery punted first, and it registered 45 yards. Andy Fenstermaker hit his only try for 47 yards.

It will be interesting to see what shakes out for Iowa State as we'll probably punt more than twice. Look for Gallery to get the nod.

SIMS SWITCHES: When asked on Tuesday about Damian Sims moving from RB to CB, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said he didn't know of such a change. Well, Sims lined up at CB for much of the game on Saturday. He looked pretty good in coverage and showed the ability to get off of blockers on run plays.

As mentioned, Sims returned kicks and also played on kick coverage.

RECEIVER DEPTH: Iowa showed it had some on Saturday with Grigsby, Calvin Davis, Eric McCollom and Andy Brodell all seeing plenty of snaps. The coaches inserted Davis before the other three backups, but that probably had to do with starter Clinton Solomon injuring his ankle early in the game and being slowed. Davis is more of an outside guy like Solomon than is Grigsby, who is better suited for the slot.

Grigsby turned his first collegiate catch into a touchdown when he hauled in a 33-yard pass from Drew Tate early in the second quarter. Brodell, Moeaki, McCollom, Brandon Myers, and Kennon Christian also notched the first pass receptions of their careers on Saturday.

SAFETY FIRST: Marcus Paschal and Miguel Merrick earned the starting safety nods on Saturday after Ferentz said on Tuesday he was unsure who would open the game between those two and Charles Godfrey.

UP FRONT: Mike Jones, Marshall Yanda, Brian Ferentz, Mike Elgin and Ben Gates started on the offensive line. Bryan Mattison, Matt Kroul, Alex Willcox and Kenny Iwebema started on the defensive front.

Mitch King and Mike Follett were the first reserves on the defensive line. When the Hawkeyes removed starters on the O-line, the second unit from left to right included Richardson, Yanda, Ben Cronin, Seth Olsen and Gates.

FIELD CONDITIONS: Early into the game, the grounds crew could be seen replacing divots of grass during breaks in the action. The field looked as poor as it has in memory, but the crew was kept from watering it until mid summer.

A little birdie tells the Rob Report that new sod will be installed on the field following the UNI game.

HANG ON: Shonn Greene learned quickly that Ferentz does not tolerate turnovers very well. He let the freshman back hear about his fumble third quarter. As Greene returned to the sidelines and passed the coach, he got an earful.

That's it for this week. We'll be back next week with a report from Ames.


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