The Shadow Knows Non-Conference Football

My cell phone rang as I was leaving the gym on Wednesday. Caller ID quickly identified that it was my Dark Friend. "I'm calling from outside the Iowa football practice facility and I would like to meet with you ASAP", he said. "I have some news and views that I would like to share with the readers of HTO.com. Football and recruiting will be the topics. Meet me at the Wig", he added. So, I rushed home to get my Visa card and headed to Dick Querry's establishment for a night of news and booze.

1. The writing on the wall could be appearing for Matt Bohnet very soon. Matt has had problems showing he can be what is expected of a field general under Coach Ferentz since he arrived. Understanding the offense hasn't clicked yet for Matt. His problems at the position have been compounded by the emergence of Jason Manson and Lance Phillips. Therefore, a move to fullback could be occurring this spring. Matt is a physically tough football player and has good size at 6'3 225.

2. With Jason Manson sitting out currently with mono, this has been the perfect time for Lance Phillips to really impress in practice. At 6'6 230, he has the great physical build that Coach O'Keefe loves plus the fact he has shown an even stronger arm than Nate Chandler. However, Lance has also been a little slow in picking up the offensive system and that is why you can probably still list him behind Jason Manson at this time. However, I would reserve all judgment on a move to TE as Lance's future clearly appears to be at QB at this time.

3. I had been telling everyone to watch out for the re-emergence of Jermelle Lewis since last spring. Coupled with Aaron Greving's continuing saga of injury problems, this should provide a perfect storybook opportunity for Jermelle to explode onto the scene. However, Jermelle still has to prove he can be consistent on the field and hit holes quicker (his goaline runs last week were not quite as impressive as his open field running). He must hit the hole harder in short yardage situations. Look for Jermelle to be getting his opportunity this fall to clearly establish himself to be the #1 running back going into spring practice.

4. Will the Hawkeyes be throwing deep this fall? As long as Clint Solomon continues to receive playing time they should be. Clint has shown the uncanny ability to go up and get anything thrown in his path in long routes. He has impressed all of Iowa's quarterbacks. Although we saw a potential deep threat in Mo Brown last week, Solomon could be the best deep threat to play for Iowa in a long time. Better yet, he is only a freshman!

5. Speaking of another true freshman, Jovon Johnson's interception last week raised some questions that it was bad coverage. However, there is only way to characterize Jovon's play. He is a "ball hawk." During practice, the most impressive part about Jovon was the fact he always very near the vicinity of the ball. Often, he had his hands close enough to the ball to intercept or bat it down. That is the type of defender Bob Sanders has proven to be, and you can expect Jovon's playing time to steadily increase throughout the fall.

6. Are Howard Hodges and Jared Clauss on the hot seat? Not yet, certainly not after a game against Akron. But they need to know that two young potential stars in Fabian Dodd and Matt Roth are breathing down their necks. You can expect both Dodd and Roth to receive plenty of time as #3's this fall. Although I would not go as far as saying Hodges or Clauss are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Howard Hodges has had the billing of being Iowa's sackmaster since his move to DE two years ago, and Coach Aiken had bold predictions for Jared Clauss, stating he had potential All Big Ten written all over him. Therefore, I don't think these are two guys the staff is ready to push over anytime soon.

7. HTO.com has brought up the name of JUCO LB Phil Macklin on more than one occassion, but the Shadow was able to deliver some much needed information. Macklin, a native of Proviso, IL where he signed with Illinois out of high school, has a major league body as is evidenced in the picture above. Phil will be sitting out this year to get his academics in order, but will also be returning to Rainey Harper for the 2003 season. Right now, it appears Phil will be a mid-year transfer in December of 2003. It seems like a win-win situation for the Hawks, as he would have two years to start after the departure of Grant Steen and George Lewis. Phil is not a guy to worry about this recruiting season, but do not be surprised if you hear the name Phil Macklin brought up in the future of Hawkeye recruiting.

8. Andy Thorn has decided to transfer to a D1-AA school. While this can be expected somewhat with some positions being stacked with young players, is there a possibility of another position switch soon? Defensive end is getting pretty loaded. Could there be a potential youngster moving to the defensive tackle position?

9. Tight end has been the position most discussed in speculating about player movement. It still may be occurring with the possibility of 6'7 265 TE CJ Barkema being moved to OL. CJ is not in any hurry to move to OL, as he wants a chance at TE. After being at 275, CJ has lost 10 pounds and will continue to work very hard on improving his agility and explosiveness. Although the staff does want CJ to improve his speed in order to be a starting TE, I would not expect CJ to move over to the OL easily anytime soon.

10. The football team is ready for Iowa State. Expect balls to the wall performance, as the players are ready to play a more physical team than the MAC could provide. There are formations and plays on offense that have been well practiced but not yet shown during a game. In addition, the defense that the Hawks have shown is a mere shadow (there I go again) of what they really have. Seneca Wallace has received a lot of attention in practice, as he will in the game. Look for some big time hits to be applied to Seneca early in order to slow him down. Brad Banks and his receivers are eager to show that Iowa also has a big time aerial game. However, passing will be used to keep the Clones off balance as the Hawks are going to run, run, run the ball down Iowa State's throat.

Look for the Hawks to dominate both lines of scrimmage in a 44-31 statement.

That's my take, but what do I know?


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