Kirk Ferentz has posted his first official two-deep of the regular season, eight days ahead of the Hawkeyes' season opener against Miami of Ohio.
The Hawkeye two-deep for Miami (Ohio) pic.twitter.com/fhf8t7zEXy— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) August 23, 2019
The big changes: Non-existent. The big story: The Ferentzeseses still haven't picked out a backup quarterback, with both Spencer Petras and Peyton Mansell listed as co-second string, trailing Nate Stanley. Ferentz had said earlier this fall that he expected to have a backup chosen with ten days to go, so the competition has been close enough to prevent that from happening (or one player is leading and they don't want the other to jump ship yet, but that's awfully cynical...
I'm sorry, what's that? 2013 is on the line and needs to talk?)
The only other real questions on offense, in the wake of Brian Ferentz's presser Tuesday where running back was effectively settled, was interior line. As expected, Tyler Linderbaum is listed alone on the top line at center. Guard, on the other hand, might have the one real surprise of the day. Not only is fifth-year senior Landan Paulsen listed alone at left guard, a position we thought was still open, but his twin brother Levi has been good enough to get co-first team billing at right guard with returning starter Cole Banwart.
UPDATE: Kakert says it's because Banwart's questionable with a leg injury:
Some quick thoughts on the depth chart. Merriweather holds off Koerner at FS. Sleep-Dalton, as expected is the punter. No clarity with the placekicker. Banwart has been in a walking boot, so Levi Paulsen in there as an option.— Tom Kakert (@HawkeyeReport) August 23, 2019
There isn't much news on defense, either. Iowa lists ten defensive linemen in the two-deep, but Golston/Lattimore/Reiff/Epenesa has been the presumed starting quartet since the end of last year. Outside linebacker Barrington Wade, who played in extremely limited spot duty last year, has apparently beaten out Nick Niemann (whose dad is on the staff now) for the "Leo" position, but Iowa is going to play a lot of 4-2-5 with D.J. Johnson in that role. Kaevon Merriweather is the starting free safety, no "OR" line, no equivocation.
Even special teams has generated no real surprises. Kicker is still a two-man race between Keith Duncan and Caleb Shudak. Michael Sleep-Dalton is finally the man who has ended Colton Rastetter's run at the top of the punter depth chart. Ihmir Smith-Marsette, arguably the best kick returner of the Ferentz era, will return kicks and punts.
If there's one thing we have learned in twenty years under Kirk Ferentz, it's that depth charts days before a game mean very little. All of this is subject to change as Iowa goes to work in its first full game week of the season. But for now, the football roster is surprise- and drama-free.