Countdown 2008: Brandon Myers

Brandon Myers might not be a prominent name on opposing scouting reports heading into the 2008 season, but by the third or fourth game, he might be. Even if Myers doesn't have Dallas Clark-like numbers by that time, he may have proven to be an integral asset to what Iowa wants to do schematically in 2008...

The annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon will be held on July 24th and 25th, which is less than 60 days from today.  It's an event that many view as the unofficial ‘kickoff' to the Big Ten football season, which is why is providing a player by player snapshot analysis of the 2008 Iowa football roster.


We will begin by taking a look at the players that were on Iowa's spring depth chart, then proceed through the rest of the roster's scholarship players and key walkons, and finish with a look at the new faces that made up Iowa's recruiting class of 2008.


Next Up:  Hawkeye Tight End Brandon Myers



2007 by the Numbers:  Listed as second team tight end following spring practice . . . two receptions for 12 yards vs. Northern Illinois, including a five-yard scoring reception for first career touchdown . . . collected two receptions for 13 yards vs. Syracuse, along with one assisted tackle . . . three receptions for 44 yards vs. Indiana, including a 10-yard touchdown reception . . . three receptions for 38 yards vs. Illinois, including a 20-yard scoring reception in the third quarter for the only touchdown in a 10-6 win . . . collected two receptions for 28 yards and one touchdown vs. Minnesota . . . grabbed deflected pass for eight-yard scoring catch to give Iowa 7-0 first quarter lead and added a 20-yard reception in the second half . . . collected career-best six receptions for career-best 59 yards vs. Western Michigan, including three-yard touchdown reception in fourth quarter.


Analysis:  On many Big Ten teams, Brandon Myers would be considered a primary weapon.  That's not to say that he won't be for Iowa in 2008; it's just that in my opinion he and Tony Moeaki make up one of the best tight end tandems in the country.  The rest of the nation might not know that right now, but if Myers and Moeaki stay healthy this year, they will be utilized in tandem as much any tight end duo at Iowa since Mike Flagg and Marv Cook in the mid 1980's.


My friend Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a couple of classifications for tight ends; they are either tool boxes or deer's.  A ‘tool box' tight end does the dirty work, is a competent to good blocker, can make the underneath grab for you, but is shy on the sizzle. 


A ‘deer' tight end is one that has excellent ball skills and hurt you in the open field.  Dallas Clark was a deer, Erik Jensen was more of a tool box.  Both contributed to the Hawkeye offense.


I think with Myers, Iowa has a little bit of both in one package.  He has grown into being more than just a competent blocker.  I would not rate him in the ‘great' department for that topic, but he is more than just serviceable.  And we saw flashes of ‘deerism' last year when he was pressed into more action when Moeaki went down to injury against Wisconsin.


He has emerging ball skills, and if teams ‘sleep' on him this year, he should be able to make them pay.  If you can't tell from reading these items yet, I am a little bullish on Iowa's offense in 2008. 


On the one hand, they can't really play much worse than they did last year, so that's why I am a ‘buyer' for this year.


Plus, I foresee numerous instances where Iowa can have the same personnel group on the field and get multiple formations from the same group of players.


That's a fairly big deal, because it doesn't allow a defense to make substitutions based on who you are running on and off the field.  Remember back to 2003, whenever Fred Russell came out of the game and Edgar Cervantes either came in or stayed in the backfield in a one-back set?


That was a cue for the opponent to bring in their nickel personnel package, because Iowa threw out of that set up more often than not…at least 80 to 90 percent of the time, in fact.  The Michigan game in 2003 was a glaring example of that.


This year, I am not sure that I see an ‘old school' fullback on the roster.  I know that Jordan McGlaughlin will get reps as a fullback, but I think we will see a significant drop off from what we saw out of Tom Busch, Cervantes before him, Jeremy Allen before him, etc.


Allen was another player that allowed Iowa to keep defenses on their toes, because he was a very good runner and could catch a pass out of the backfield.


Back to my point, related to this year…I don't see a fullback on the field as much as we have become accustomed to seeing, and that might have as much to do with Myers as anything else.


Having two ‘ball skills' tight ends on the team that you feel good about allows you to use one of them as an ‘H' back in some instances, something the pro's do quite a bit of.  You don't see too many old school fullbacks in the NFL anymore; you see ‘H' backs.


Those players have to be accounted for by the defense as a pass catching threat, but they also have to be respected as a lead blocker in the running game, therefore you cannot sell out with a nickel package or a base package and get cute on tendencies, trying to predict what the Hawks will do.


You could also flex both Myers and Moeaki in the slot with two wide receivers and one running back.  You can go double tight with a one back and run some full house zone schemes.  You can run some three by one, with a tight end in the slot, two wide receivers, one tight end at the line of scrimmage and a one back set.


See what I mean?  We are talking options here, and we haven't made a substitution.  If the defense wants to roll the dice on subbing based on down and distance, you will have that.  But if we are talking 3rd and 3 in the Cervantes days, you might roll in your nickel package.  This year, that choice may not be as simple.  It should also give Iowa some audible opportunities as well.


If Iowa's offense is to vastly improve this year, I expect to see Brandon Myers right in the thick of things.  Will he put up numbers to challenge for first team all conference?  Probably not, as many of those opportunities may go to Tony Moeaki, who is the all around package. 


But Myers isn't chopped liver, and if opposing defensive coordinators look past him, he has the ability to beat you.


Myers' Collegiate Stats
































Career Receiving Bests
Catches:  6 vs. Western Michigan, 11/17/07
Yards:     59 vs. Western Michigan, 11/17/07
TDs:        1, five times, last vs. W. Mich., 11/17/07
Long:       22 vs. Indiana, 9/29/07


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