Let's dive into Iowa's depth chart for this week's game against Indiana:
|POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING||POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING|
|QB||NATHAN STANLEY (Jr)||PEYTON MANSELL (RS Fr)||DE||ANTHONY NELSON (Jr)||CHAUNCEY GOLSTON (So)|
|RB||IVORY KELLY-MARTIN (So)||
TOREN YOUNG (So) /
MEKHI SARGENT (So)
|DT||SAM BRINCKS (Sr)||CEDRICK LATTIMORE (Jr)|
|FB||BRADY ROSS (Jr)||AUSTIN KELLY (Sr)||DT||MATT NELSON (Sr)||BRADY REIFF(Jr)|
|WR||BRANDON SMITH (So)||KYLE GROENEWEG (Sr)||DE||PARKER HESSE (Sr)||A.J. EPENESA (So)|
|WR||NICK EASLEY (Sr)||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (So)||OLB||BARRINGTON WADE (So)||SETH BENSON (Fr)|
|TE||NOAH FANT (Jr)||SHAUN BEYER (So)||MLB||KRISTIAN WELCH (Jr)||
AMANI JONES (Jr) /
DILLON DOYLE (Fr)
|TE||T.J. HOCKENSON (So)||NATE WIETING (Sr)||WLB||DJIMON COLBERT (RS Fr)||KRISTIAN WELCH (Jr)|
|LT||ALARIC JACKSON (So)||MARK KALLENBERGER (RS Fr)||CB||JULIUS BRENTS (Fr)||MATT HANKINS (So)|
|LG||ROSS REYNOLDS (Sr)||LANDAN PAULSEN (Jr)||SS||AMANI HOOKER (Jr)||JOHN MILANI (Jr)|
|C||KEEGAN RENDER (Sr)||COLE BANWART (So)||FS||JAKE GERVASE (Sr)||GENO STONE (So)|
|RG||DALTON FERGUSON (Sr)||COLE BANWART (So)||CB||
RILEY MOSS (Fr)
||MICHAEL OJEMUDIA (Jr)|
|RT||TRISTAN WIRFS (So)||LEVI PAULSEN (Jr)||LS||JACKSON SUBBERT (Jr)||NATE VEJVODA (Jr)|
|K||MIGUEL RECINOS (Sr)||CALEB SHUDAK (So)||P||COLTEN RASTETTER (Jr)||RYAN GERSONDE (So)|
|KR||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (So)||KYLE GROENEWEG (Sr)||PR||KYLE GROENEWEG (Sr)||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (So)|
A few thoughts:
I don't think there are any changes on the offensive side of things. Which I suppose makes sense -- Iowa's pretty healthy on that side of the ball (*knock on wood*) and they just scored 48 points. Keep doing what you're doing, offense. That said, there may be some changes to the offensive two-deeps during the week, as both Kelly-Martin and Fant left the Minnesota game after hard hits; Ferentz indicated that they're waiting for more news about their availability by mid-week.
The front four of Iowa's defense is also unchanged, thanks to a combination of good health and stellar play. Again: keep doing what you're doing, defensive line.
The back seven of the defense is another story, of course. Regular MLB starter Jack Hockaday is out with an injury, although the good news is that (as of Sunday) Ferentz didn't think that the injury was a season-ender. In his place Iowa has Kristian Welch, Iowa's sometimes starter at WLB this year, as the new starter. Hockaday's regular backup, Amani Jones, is suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Indiana after being ejected for targeting in the final minutes of the Minnesota game. We also have two brand-new names on the linebacker depth chart: true freshmen Dillon Doyle (at MLB) and Seth Benson (at OLB). I'm very curious to see if Doyle gets some first-half snaps at MLB against Indiana.
Meanwhile, Saturday brought surprising news of true freshmen Julius Brents and Riley Moss starting at cornerback and they retain those spots on this depth chart, with Hankins and Ojemudia listed as their backups. That part is a little surprising, although I suspect it's still injury-related -- if Hankins and Ojemudia are healthy, it still seems like they're (probably) still our best options at corner.
- It's also worth noting that Iowa spent a lot of the Minnesota game in nickel looks on defense, with Amani Hooker playing in a hybrid nickel corner/OLB role and Geno Stone replacing Hooker at strong safety. The coaches talked about using Hooker in that role before the season, so it's not too surprising to see them deploy it now (especially with injuries ravaging the back seven). Hooker is extremely versatile and his ability to defend the run and cover receivers is hugely useful. It definitely seems like we could see more of this nickel look against Indiana on Saturday.