Ch-ch-changes afoot on the Iowa depth chart? You might expect that after an 0-2 start to the 2020 campaign, but while there are other changes here, they're primarily the result of injuries -- and one notable suspension.
|POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING||POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING|
|QB||SPENCER PETRAS (So)||ALEX PADILLA (RS Fr)||DE||CHAUNCEY GOLSTON (Sr)||JOE EVANS (So)|
|RB||TYLER GOODSON (So)||
MEKHI SARGENT (Sr) /
IVORY KELLY-MARTIN (Jr)
|DT||DAVIYON NIXON (Jr)||NOAH SHANNON (So)|
|FB||MONTE POTTEBAUM (So)||TURNER PALLISSARD (So)||DT||JACK HEFLIN (Sr)||DALLES JACOBUS (Sr)|
|WR||BRANDON SMITH (Sr)||TYRONE TRACY, JR (So)||DE||ZACH VANVALKENBURG (Sr)||JOHN WAGGONER (So)|
|WR||TYRONE TRACY, JR (So)||NICO RAGAINI (So)||LEO / CASH||BARRINGTON WADE (Sr)||
DANE BELTON (So) /
MATT HANKINS (Sr)
|TE||SAM LAPORTA (So)||SHAUN BEYER (Sr)||MLB||SETH BENSON (So)||NICK NIEMANN (Sr)|
|LT||ALARIC JACKSON (Sr)||JACK PLUMB (So)||WLB||NICK NIEMANN (Sr)||JESTIN JACOBS (RS Fr)|
|LG||COLE BANWART (Sr)||CODY INCE (So)||LCB||MATT HANKINS (Sr)||JULIUS BRENTS (So)|
|C||TYLER LINDERBAUM (So)||JUSTIN BRITT (RS Fr)||FS||JACK KOERNER (Jr)||QUINN SCHULTE (RS Fr)|
|RG||KYLER SCHOTT (Jr)||MARK KALLENBERGER (Jr)||SS||KAEVON MERRIWEATHER (So)||DANE BELTON (So)|
|RT||COY CRONK (Sr)||NICK DEJONG (RS Fr)||RCB||RILEY MOSS (Jr)||TERRY ROBERTS (So)|
|K||KEITH DUNCAN (Sr)||CALEB SHUDAK (Sr)||P||TORY TAYLOR (Fr)||
RYAN GERSONDE (JR)
NICK PHELPS (So)
|KR||CHARLIE JONES (Sr)||--||PR||CHARLIE JONES (Jr)||--|
A few thoughts:
The cries of the "Put in Padilla!" partisans have gone unheeded; he remains QB2 to Spencer Petras again this week. Not that we ever expected any different.
The only change on offense is, of course, at wide receiver, where Ihmir Smith-Marsette's suspension-induced absence creates a new opening atop the depth chart. The official name replacing him is Tyrone Tracy, who should definitely see an increase in snaps (and, hopefully, touches) in this game. He had 30 snaps in the Northwestern game to Smith-Marsette's 52. Ragaini had 55 snaps in that game (more than any pass-catcher other than Smith (60) or LaPorta (65)), so we can expect to see plenty of him as well. Charlie Jones could be a recipient of increased touches with ISM out, too; he had two snaps against Northwestern, but he and Tracy should see increased action this week.
No official changes to the OL two-deeps, but Kallenberger saw 49 snaps last week to Cronk's 26 and also graded out much higher per PFF. So that looks like a situation to monitor. Banwart (54 snaps) and Ince (22 snaps) also continued to rotate a bit at the LG spot. The other three OL spots seem very settled; Linderbaum and Jackson played 75 snaps apiece, while Schott had 74.
Also no changes to the DL two-deeps, where there's a clear top-four (Golston, Nixon, Heflin, and VanValkenburg) ahead of the rest; those four all played 64+ snaps on Saturday, while no other DL played more than 19 snaps. There's not much faith in the understudies right now.
Benson's returned from illness to enter the Iowa starting lineup at MLB for Saturday's game and that's reflected on this depth chart, with Niemann sliding out to WLB. Those two played all 78 snaps on Saturday and the coaches clearly view them as Iowa's top two linebackers (at least until Jack Campbell gets back) right now. Iowa used a third linebacker on around a third of their defensive snaps on Saturday, with Barrington Wade appearing 28 times (Jestin Jacobs was only saw three snaps).
A little re-shuffling of the two-deeps in the defensive secondary, with Merriweather being listed as the starter at strong safety. Except based on last week, he's only the starter there when Belton is in the cash role. Belton played 75 snaps to Merriweather's 50 snaps versus Northwestern. When Iowa's in a 4-2-5 with the cash role, Belton is the cash man and Merriweather and Koerner are your safeties; when Iowa's in a 4-3 look, Belton and Koerner are your safeties. The big loser in the secondary this week was Julius Brents, who saw zero snaps after playing extensively against Purdue.
- Finally, Smith-Marsette's absence also impacts the return game; Charlie Jones is now the top-listed option for both kickoff and punt returns. He's done a pretty solid job on punt returns through two games, so it will be interesting to see what he can do on kickoffs (though replacing ISM back there is a daunting task).
Thoughts? Concerns? Let us know.