Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
2004 Record: 2-1
Returning starters: 3 offense, 7 defense, and punter
Passing: Drew Tate: 37/63 - 400 yds - 58.7% - 3 INT 3 TD -
Rushing: Jermelle Lewis: 40 att. - 116 yds. - 2.9 avg. - 0 TD
Receiving: Ed Hinkel: 9 rec. - 130 yds. - 14.4 avg. - 1 TD
Tackles: Chad Greenway - 32
TFL: Jonathan Babineaux - 8 for 28 yds
Sacks: Jonathan Babineaux- 3 for 18 yds
INT: Chad Greenway- 2 for 54 yds
Breakups: Chad Greenway- 2
Stat-Big Ten Ranking
Scoring offense (9th) 21.0 pts
Scoring defense (8th) 20.3 pts
Pass offense (9th) 162.3 yds
Pass defense (7th) 242.7 yds
Rushing offense (10th) 118.3 yds
Rushing defense (1st) 1.5 avg.
Total offense (11th) 280.7 yds
Total defense (5th) 285.7 yds
Punt returns (1st) 21.6 avg.
Kick returns (6th) 20.1 avg.
QB: Drew Tate (So) Eric McCollom (Rs Fr.)
RB: Jermelle Lewis (Sr.) Marques Simmons (So)
FB:Aaron Mickens (Sr.) Tom Busch (Rs. Fr.)
SE: Warren Holloway (Sr.) Clinton Solomon (Jr.)
FL: Ed Hinkel (Jr.) James Townsend (So.)
LT: Lee Gray (Jr.) C.J Barkema (Jr.)
LG: Mike Jones (So.) Seth Olsen (Fr.)
C: Mike Elgin (So.) Ben Cronin (Jr.)
RG: Ben Gates (Jr.) Jacob Bowers (Sr.)
RT: Pete McMahon (Sr.) Chris Felder (So.)
TE: Tony Jackson (Sr.) Mike Follett (Jr.)
DE: Matt Roth (Sr.) Bryan Mattison (Rs. Fr.)
DE: Derreck Robinson (Sr.) Ken Iwebema (Rs. Fr.)
DT: Jonathan Babineaux (Sr.) Alex Wilcox (Rs. Fr.)
DT: Tyler Luebke (Sr.) George Eshareturi (Rs. Fr.)
WLB: Chad Greenway (Jr.) Mike Humpal (Rs. Fr.)
MLB: Abdul Hodge (Jr.) Mike Klinkenborg (Rs. Fr.)
SLB: George Lewis (Sr.) Edmond Miles (So.)
CB: Jovon Johnson (Jr.) Chigozie Ejiasi (Sr.)
CB: Antwan Allen (Jr.) Walner Belleus (Jr.)
FS: Sean Considine (Sr.) Chris Brevi (Rs. Fr.)
SS: Marcus Paschal (So.) Miguel Merrick (So.)
K: Kyle Schlicher (So.)
P: David Bradley (Sr.)
PR: Ed Hinkel (Jr.) Walner Belleus (Jr.)
KR: Ed Hinkel (Jr.) Warren Holloway (Sr.)
Offense MVP: RB Jermelle Lewis (though he hasn't shown it
Strength: Runningback (believe it or not)
Weakness: Inconsistent offensive line play, playmaking receivers
Key to success: QB Drew Tate
Surprise player: RB Marques Simmons (remember that name)
Kirk Ferentz's offense has one goal: be efficient. Iowa's offense won't light up the scoreboard but their goal is to be balanced, protect the football and play off the defense's field position. Look for this year's team to play more like the 02' squad (style wise) because Drew Tate gives them an athletic option unlike the lumbering Nathan Chandler from last season. The Hawkeyes like using play action but the ineffectiveness of the running game so far has caused opposing defenses to lose respect for it. Teams have loaded the box against Iowa, which has led to ineffectiveness in the running game. Unfortunately for the Hawkeye’s, the passing game done little to relieve the pressure. In addition, the tight end’s role has decreased significantly since the loss of Dallas Clark in 02. On the other hand, offensive coordinator Ken O' Keefe has increased the role of his fullbacks lately.
At quarterback is former Texas prep legend Drew Tate. He doesn't have out
of this world ability but he has the potential to run the offense effectively.
He's a smaller guy (6'0) with quick feet and a good enough arm to be a solid
quarterback. So far Tate has struggled. Much of that may attributable to the
fact that he lacks help at the receiver positions and his pass protection has
been terrible at times. "The thing we need to do right now is to give him
(Tate) more support and a chance to operate better. If we can give that to him,
I think we will see him play better" said Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
At tailback will be Jermelle Lewis. He hasn't gotten off to the start he had hoped for after averaging 5.2 yards a carry last season. Again, don't put all the blame solely in Lewis’ lap. The offensive line hasn't played up to their capability so far and Arizona State (their previous opponent) loaded the box most of the game. If the offensive line can give Lewis some running room, he can be productive. Unlike the diminutive yet departed Fred Russell, Lewis is a power guy that can wear down defenses and gain yards the hard way. His backup, Marques Simmons, has game-breaking ability and is a nice change of pace guy. He is more in the mold of Russell… very small and shifty. But unlike Fred, Marques has wheels that few defenders in the entire country can match. Expect this kid to do some damage in the open field, Albert Young and Marcus Schooner should see some carries as well.
Receiver is a position that really needs to step up. Ed Hinkel has been the only decent performer, and he isn't much of a vertical option. He loves working the middle of the field and is reliable short yardage guy. Warren Holloway will start at split-end where he can make some things happen. Holloway can move, (he's a sub 4.4 kid), and it doesn't surprise me that he's finally given a chance to shine in this offense. He doesn't have the experience of some of the other guys, but he injects sorely needed playmaking ability into the line-up. Calvin Davis, last year’s receiving leader has been in Ferentz's doghouse as of late because of his well-known inconsistent hands. Scott Chandler is a guy they like to use in short yardage situations. He definitely is not an after the catch player but he is a unique option with huge size (6'7). Also expect to see Clinton Solomon and James Townsend. Tight end Tony Jackson is about 10 pounds shy of most guards. Needless to say he's not much of a receiving option and will do most of his work blocking.
Up front the Hawkeyes have two outstanding linemen in RT Pete McMahon and LG Mike Jones. McMahon has mammoth size, is a road grader in the running game, and is probably the top lineman on the team. Former Michigan recruit Mike Jones is a star in the making. He started as a true freshman last year and performed well above expectations. He brings some much-needed experience to this year’s group. Mike Elgin is in the middle of things at center. He's nothing special. On his good days he can do a solid job, but really got thrown into the starting job after Brian Ferentz went down to injury. On the left side, Lee Gray has taken over Robert Gallery's vacated tackle spot. Gray is a former defensive tackle that has been learning on the fly and still coming into his own there. At left guard will be Ben Gates who makes his first start filling in for David Walker who will miss the remainder of the season with injury. The offensive line as a whole hasn't performed up to Ferentz specs but they are a young line that will improve given some time.
Defensive MVP: MLB Abdul Hodge
Strength: Front seven
Weakness: Defensive backfield (namely corner)
Key to success: Pass defense
Surprise player: SLB Edmond Miles
Norm Parker has proven why he is one of the top coordinators in the conference with his stingy defenses the past few seasons. Parker, who missed last week’s game because of surgery, will return to reclaim the reins of his defense. Iowa doesn't beat teams with any crazy schemes, rather, it prefers using disciplined personnel and overall talent. He doesn't make things too complicated for his boys. He utilizes a lot of base formations are base and is not afraid to load the box. They will occasionally line SLB George Lewis on the line as a 5th defender. Also, they will put a safety in the box on some situations. That usually is FS Sean Considine, whom is the strongest run defender of the defensive backs. I'm curious to see how Parker will react to his corners getting torched last week. Will it be more conservative or more aggressive? We'll see.
Athletic tackle Jonathan Babineaux has been playing lights out as of late, leading the team in TFL's and sacks. Babineaux is a rare big man that has great quickness and a great first step (he's formerly a defensive end). Expect him to be disruptive. Next to him will be Tyler Luebke, who isn't very big but is a quick gap shooter that can penetrate quickly. However, he can be ridden out of plays if he doesn't beat lineman off the ball. Derrick Robinson is off to a solid year. He has recorded five TFL's and one sack so far. That’s pretty impressive for an end his size (6-5 289). A reason for his success is the attention Matt Roth draws from the edge. Roth is not known for his fundamentally sound style, but he plays with unmatched drive and persistence. He is still one of the Big Ten's top defensive lineman and pass rushers and will be a factor Saturday. Depth is rather shallow here with mostly freshman that lack experience providing depth.
At linebacker, Chad Greenway has been the playmaker of this defense…leading in both tackles and interceptions. He's a stout run defender that isn't very far from the play at any given time. Abdul "Hitman" Hodge can do it all from his middle linebacker spot. He has safety speed but also combines awesome strength with great instincts. That allows him to be very effective in both pass coverage and against the run. He can run a play down or blow it up at the point of attack. He is a true stud at linebacker. George Lewis isn't the specimen that both Greenway and Hodge are, but he can hold is own against the run and will anchor against teams trying to run away from his aforementioned cohorts.. Once again, the depth isn't ideal, but Ed Miles has played well in reserve.
The spotlight is on returning corners Antwan Allen and Jovan Johnson. They both struggled mightily last week against ASU. Both are similar in that they are small corners that are fast and can play well against the run. They aren't excellent cover men but they have experience and the speed needed to make plays in coverage. They will need to step up in a big way this weekend. Marcus Paschal takes over for Bob Sanders at strong safety. He is bigger and supposedly as fast, but lacks the instincts and physical play Sanders exhibited. Free safety Sean Considine is the leader of the secondary. He's a high-energy guy who does a good job of finding the ball in run support.
Nate Kaeding, who was arguably the top kicker in the land the past few seasons, is gone. Sophomore Kyle Schlicher, who doesn’t have a booming leg, but is accurate, will replace him. David Bradley returns at punter where's he's been a consistent starter the last three years. Ed Hinkel will combine with Walner Belleus to return kicks. Hinkel has more experience but Belleus has more game breaking ability, evidenced by his 83-yard punt return touchdown.
If Michigan comes in with its gameplan against Notre Dame it will be very difficult to win this football game. The front seven of Iowa is very very good. The West Coast vanilla offense isn't going to gain much YAC on this disciplined defense. Simply put, a three-yard route won't be much than a three-yard gain. The vertical passing game should be available. Michigan needs to exploit Johnson and Allen downfield. Playing the short game is playing right into their strength. The Wolverines must make them COVER.
Success in running game may be hard to come by. Hodge and Greenway have been shutting down running games since last year and not much will change if Iowa decides to load the box with Lewis and/or Considine. The passing game needs to get downfield or face a sluggish day.
On the other side, Iowa hasn't found much success on offense either. Teams have found easy paths to sacking Tate and the running game faced 8-9 man boxes against ISU and ASU. The passing game has yet to break defenses and draw them back from bringing pressure. Expect a defensive slugfest with Michigan coming out on top due to Iowa's stumbling offense.