What would spring in Iowa be without the annual Hawkeye open scrimmage? However, in recent years, these events have revealed more flaws than fans would like to see. This year is different because Brad Banks brilliant performance left Hawk fans looking forward to competing for Big Ten honors next season.
The numbers speak for themselves: 18 of 21 for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns in three quarters of play. Brad Banks near perfect performance was the talk of the town on Saturday night.
Banks threw both long and short to a variety of Iowa receivers. Eight different receivers were the recipients of his largess in giving them the ball. Redshirt freshman Ed Hinkle led all receivers with 6 catches for 183 yards and one touchdown. Fellow wide receiver C.J. Jones, Banks' cousin, also caught 6 passes for 74 yards
Tight ends caught the remaining three touchdown throws. Dallas Clark caught one while reserve Tony Jackson caught the other two TD tosses.
Although the running game was not sharp, part of that was due to some starting offensive linemen not playing and #1 running back Aaron Greving absent due to an ankle injury. However, also give some credit to a very athletic second team defense. Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge, Fabian Dodd and company displayed fine athletic skills in holding down the running game, while Jermire Roberts looked like a traffic cop disguised as a free safety.
Roberts and Greenway both look to be ticketed to stardom in the Big Ten.
One area of concern on Saturday was the depth at quarterback. JUCO Nathan Chandler looked lost in the offense and did not throw the crisp passes that one would expect of a 6-7 250 pounder. He should progress rapidly this summer heading into fall drills. However, his performance gives hope to incoming freshman Jason Manson to get his game in order.
Can summer be gone fast enough? Not for me. I'm ready for some football. How about you?