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Our first edition of ‘In the Film Room' for 2005 will focus on the first quarter of action from Iowa's 56-0 rout of Ball State.
I will break down the second and third quarters on Monday night and ready for you on Tuesday morning.
This was almost two or three games within a game, thus the reason behind breaking this one up…that, and there is still so much content from this weekend that we need to get on the website tonight and tomorrow before the talk turns in earnest to Iowa-Iowa State on Tuesday and the fact that it takes me about an hour per quarter to watch the film like I want to, there you have it.
Damian Sims showed on the opening kick that he might be a weapon this year on returns. He did not have a chance to hit the jets on that return, as he needed to side step a few players every 10 yards or so (the return covered 34 yards) and he showed pretty solid stiff arm skills on that return as well.
Though Iowa was only able to return one kick on the day, as Ball State didn't score any points, I do believe that this phase of the team is going to make a significant comeback after falling off a bit over the last two seasons.
TV Color Commentator Marv Cook had some solid observations in the first quarter, and his first one was that Iowa ran different formations on each play of the first drive.
After reviewing the tape, Marv had it right.
Play One: Iowa was in an ‘I' formation, Pro receiver set (this means a full back and running back lined up directly behind the QB, forming the shape of an ‘I', and one receiver split out wide right, and one receiver split out wide left, with a tight end in the game along side the tackle. Marcus Schnoor lost a yard on this play, as he either lost his footing or was too excited making his cut.
Play Two: One back with two tight ends, pro receiver set. Drew Tate hit Solomon on the left side for a 15 yard gainer that was a scary moment for me and many Iowa fans. More on that in a bit.
Play Three: Offset ‘I' (meaning the full back is lined either right or left of the QB & RB), pro receiver set. Tate aired it out to Ed Hinkel and it went off Hinkel's fingertips with a typical Hinkel diving effort. The ball was just a bit overthrown, but put in a basket to where only Hinkel could catch it. Ed beat the corner by two steps and the safety was two yards out of the play, too.
Play Four: ‘I' formation with Hinkel in motion. Schnoor up the middle for seven yards.
Play Five: Shotgun, two receivers right with Hinkel alone mid left, Champ Davis at fullback. Davis went left, Hinkel cut under the backers crashing right, two receivers on right slanted hard left, clearing out the right side and Hinkel caught the ball and got the necessary three yards for the first down.
Play Six: ‘I' formation, two tights and an ‘H' back. This is a bit of a ‘jumbo' running set, and Albert Young went off right tackle for 20 yards, untouched until he was well down the field.
Play Seven: ‘I' formation with the ‘H' in motion, lone receiver wide left. Young up the gut for five yards.
Play Eight: Fullhouse I formation; two tights, no wides, a fullback and tailback, with H in motion.. Schnoor ran for no gain, again falling down.
Play Nine: Same formation as before, but no motion…touchdown Schnoor.
HOLDING YOUR BREATH
The second play of the season saw Clinton Solomon gain 15 yards and go down awkwardly, coming up holding his right knee, or so it looked. I leaned over and told a friend ‘well, he is done for the year', as it just looked bad. Then when Larry Morgan later reported that Solomon had been diagnosed with a sprained knee, the same in-game diagnosis that was reported last year when Schnoor, Young, Lewis and Champ Davis did not return to action, I got real nervous. Thankfully, it was an ankle, it was re-taped and Solomon came back in the game and would score a touchdown.
ED HINKEL WATCH
Each week, I will chart how many of Ed Hinkel's catches go for either a first down or a touchdown. It seems like that is all he does.
GAME ONE: Three catches, two for first down, two where his helmet came off and one near highlight reel play to add to his highlight reel career.
Cumulative First Down/Touchdown Percentage: 66-percent.
WELCOME BACK, ZONE PLAY
During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Iowa's favorite running play was the ‘Zone play'; where the offensive line moved like a ballet troupe to the right or to the left, and the running back would pick a hole to run through. This type of running attack requires a couple of things.
One is patience from the backs, and two, it requires…well…holes.
Last year, Iowa's backs…well, you know. There was just one left by midseason. And as for the holes, those were hard to come by for a lot of reasons, one of them being that teams blitzed Iowa unlike anything we have seen.
On Saturday, Iowa's line looked exceptional against a vastly inferior opponent. They executed well, to be sure.
I was most impressed with Marshal Yanda. He really did well in several different blocking assignments; straight on, pulling, taking on linebackers and sealing the backside.
He will be in the spotlight for a few more games this year, but that was a very good start for him. Mike Jones, Mike Elgin, Brian Ferentz and Ben Gates did some good work in this game, too. Ferentz had a few pancakes, Jones rode a few blocks nearly 10 yards, Elgin did the same.
Another aspect that was very bright in the first half was the blocking by the fullbacks. Tom Busch, Champ Davis and Paul Wilson each got their licks in.
The first touchdown of the game; Elgin pulled left and obliterated his target; Busch came down from his fullback position and did the same on the left side right next to Elgin, and Jones, from his left tackle position, took his man to the right, creating a huge hole for Schnoor.
Shonn Greene did a lot with the ball, something we will talk about tomorrow. But he and Mike Klinkenborg are your budding stars on the kickoff coverage team. Each of them made great plays and had some solid hits on the kickoff team.
YOUNG DL STARTS WELL
The new line looked pretty solid. Ken Iwebema got comfortable after the first series, where he was the slowest Hawk off the snap. It also appears that he rides the tight end a little too far before assaulting the backfield, but he will get there.
NORM LET THE DOGS OUT
Iowa brought more linebacker blitzes on Saturday in the first quarter than I remember seeing in recent years. They also mixed in some zone blitzes, where Abdul Hodge and Ed Miles blitzed and Mattison dropped back into coverage. Chad Greenway also played some with his hand on the ground at defensive end, and Iowa brought some safety and corner blitzes, too.
By the way….Illinois State brought a TON of blitzes against Iowa State on Saturday…
BAG OF TRICKS
As in Iowa didn't show a one of em in this game. They never brought the full out punt block, they ran 5 percent of their offense, they didn't show much of anything on offense and on defense, you just know that they have athletes.
This was a plane Jane beat down.
It was nice to see so many of last year's injured players getting some action in the first quarter…Champ Davis, Marcus Schnoor and Albert Young all suffered ACL injuries last year, and each of them played a lot in the first quarter. I don't know if that was by design or not, but it was great to see.
Calvin Davis didn't play after the Michigan State game last year, and he caught a pass in the first quarter…it was the exact same play that Clinton Solomon scored on against Minnesota…zone run action right, then quick throw back to the receiver in the left flat for 13 yards.
All of that, and we are just one quarter into the game!
By the way, starting on October 18th, I will be at West Des Moines' newest sports bar breaking down game film. The place is called Tonic, and it is the official home for HawkeyeNation.com. I will be there each week watching the Hawkeyes take on their next opponent, in addition to Tuesday nights in the film room breaking down tape if you wish to join us.
It will be located in the new West Glen Town Center, just west of the Super Target in West Des Moines on Civic Mills and I-35.