1. Could this team be ready to take off and win the Big Ten championship? There were a lot of nerves being struck on the sidelines during the 4th quarter against Penn State, but winning in overtime may have been the biggest accomplishment yet for the players. There is a lot of confidence throughout the team, and the loss to Iowa State is no longer in the back of the player's minds. Expect Coach Ferentz to have them ready each week for every opponent. Can I get to Ann Arbor soon enough?
2. Fred Russell has quickly emerged as one of the top guns in the Big Ten alongside Charles Rogers. With some big games ahead, if Fred can continue to carry the load, does this mean All-American is ahead? Well, one thing for sure is that his season has caught the eye of many top running backs around the country. Iowa should have a real good shot at Pennsylvania RB's Travis Thomas and Darrell Blackman.
3. The Shadow does not believe there is any way Aaron Greving can be re-inserted into the starting line-up after what has been seen of Fred Russell. While Aaron should still likely receive some carries this fall, where will he be left come this spring? Jermelle Lewis is also quickly coming along, and may pass the injury prone Greving. What about the possibility of 10 or 15 extra pounds on Greving this spring? Could Aaron play fullback? He has the running style and sure hands that would help bring another Jeremy Allen type presence back there.
4. Ray Perkins is another who has made a splash at the RB position, but that has only been seen at practice. The Vanderbilt transfer has already got both Coach Parker's on the defensive side of the ball asking for his speed and size. The staff will have an ultimate decision to make this fall in where he will be placed. There could be an opening in the two deeps at cornerback, but would the staff finally allow defensive players to be return specialists? The one place you can count on Ray making an impact will be special teams!
5. Speaking of transfers, David Walker has given the staff a lot more confidence about a newly revamped OL this spring. Dave has the mean streak and strength coveted at the guard position for Coach Ferentz. His strength was seen in the weight room when he was able to bench press 410 pounds three times. Repeat, that was three reps at 410! David will be the front-runner to start at LG this fall alongside Kory Borchers at RG.
6. The Shadow has been raving about TE Jonathan Stupar. In fact, he does not believe there is a more coveted offensive prospect on the Hawkeye's board because of Jonathan's ability to stretch defenses. While Iowa will be looking to add impact backs and lineman to offense, Stupar could be a key piece to the future of the Hawkeye passing game. The Stupar family wanted to visit at least one Big Ten school, and Iowa will receive that one visit. Will the Hawks be able to beat out the ACC and Pac-10 for this elite TE, whose family (including former NFL QB uncle Jeff Hostettler) bleeds football.
7. People always begin to start looking for position switches after seeing who fits in where. However, the rumors of last spring concerning Tony Jackson making a move were never warranted, and the same will likely hold true this winter. Tony is at his natural size currently in the 265 area, and has a fine future at TE. Although there are areas he will need to improve on, he is the physical presence Coach Ferentz likes and he has the ability to move downfield.
8. The feeling around the Hawkeye program is that Matt Roth is really coming into his own at the DE position. In fact, there is a lot of promise for the future of DE, but who will be the two starters is still in the air. With Roth's emergence, the DE position will be looked at heavily this spring. There are a lot of young players making their way up at DE, and the Hawks are in on several prime recruits. Is there a possibility someone will be making a move to open room for Roth? There is the potential with Roth and others to have the best DE tandem ever formed at Iowa. That may not last long; however, with Warren McDuffie and the strong recruitment of players like Turk McBride, Raymond Brooks, and others.
9. Alex Willcox was described to The Shadow as "the best lineman to come ever come through Valley." Those are very strong words considering players like Casey Shelton, Jared Clauss, and Jon Cochran. Alex does not match their size, but he is physically tough and moves well in the same mold of Brian Ferentz. The Shadow predicts most likely that you will see Willcox lining up on the offensive side of the ball, at center, as a back up to Ferentz. Also, do not forget Willcox's close relationship with Champ Davis. The Hawks are recruiting Champ primarily as a running back right now, but he could end up at a variety of positions. Either way, fully expect Iowa to receive an official visit from Champ.
10. I am beginning to feel rosy and getting ready for some reveling come Homecoming weekend. Here is the prediction for this weekend's game from the Dark Side:
This would have been a natural let down game for Iowa if the score last Saturday had been 52-17. However, the furious Penn State rally in the fourth quarter should have gotten the player's attention. The Iowa pass defense knows that they will be severely tested. Certain adjustments may be made to impede the Boilers aerial circus. The Iowa offense is clicking on all cylinders. I see no reason to think it will stop here.