When HTO.com spoke to RB Fred Russell after he had learned of his new starting role, Fred showed plenty of confidence in predicting 200 yards rushing for himself. While on the stat sheet, Fred may have not reached that promise, most Hawk fans realize he was on his way to well over 300 yards rushing before being taken out before the end of the third quarter.
Further, this is to show that there is a real competition for the running back spot. Jermelle Lewis is the back that has received the most attention due to his past accomplishments, but Fred Russell and Aaron Greving are no leftovers by any means. Greving has the size, explosiveness, and strength to be a perfect back behind Iowa's current offensive line in the Big Ten. However, Greving has battled injuries throughout high school and that theme has started to pop up in his junior year at Iowa. Russell has long awaited the chance to prove all his doubters wrong about his size, and he should receive an even bigger test in games against Miami(OH) and Iowa State. HTO.com is not ready to predict the starter for the Big Ten season, but every week there should probably be the announcement to "expect the unexpected" in the offensive backfield.
Reports out of Miami(OH) is that their practices were held with much preparation for Iowa throughout August. Some insiders have stated that they even went as far as cooling on North Carolina to focus on Iowa at some points. Miami certainly played solid, and also had the advantage of nine UNC turnovers in their upset, but HTO.com still is not ready to panic over a potential upset. Iowa players are hungry and see a big prize ahead of them. Miami(OH) does not draw a big audience, and Norm Parker has been very successful against their type of offense. Besides, Miami(OH) did predict victory after last year's game, and Hawkeye players are not forgetting that!
It would be wrong to say that the Iowa State game is not a little bit in the back of most Hawkeye player's minds, currently. There will be a lot of emotion displayed in this year's Cy-Hawk rivalry, and most will be shown by many in-state Hawkeye players. Last year's loss was very upsetting after the Hawk's saw their potential victory slip away. Iowa State will be a tough competitor, but HTO.com wants you to know that this date has been circled on calendars for a very long time now. This is the biggest game of the year for many Hawkeye players, literally, and for the Hawkeye program overall.
It was reported yesterday here at HTO.com that Aramis Haralson does plan to transfer to Florida Atlantic. That may not be the end of scholarships being opened before the Hawks will start out the year of 2003. The Hawks appear to be very loaded at certain positions, and as some of the recruiting class of 00' continues to grow older, there may be another departure yet. This is not a bad sign at all in speculation on the staff or players, but does show this program is growing and elevating its talent level. Playing time is desired by all, and this fall could be the last chance for a few to significantly upgrade their status before younger talent slips by.
David Walker and Ray Perkins are both very talented newcomers and have entered the program in an impressive fashion. Ray has already established himself as one of the fastest players on the team, and this spring the question will be what position he will be featured at. Ray should be a future special teams demon, but also could be a candidate for WR or CB. Unless Ray shows he is capable of being the starting RB, his talents could be better used at other positions. It will be very interesting to see the approach used by the staff after the season.
Throughout this week HTO.com is expecting many questions to be raised before the trip to Oxford, Ohio. While no opponent can be taken lightly, do not be mistaken in believing the Alamo Bowl was full satisifcation for the Hawks. The players are still on a mission, and it will not stop with a trip to Oxford, Ohio!