After a 1-1 start, the Hawkeyes will host a home night game against Nevada on Saturday. Iowa’s offense ranked dead last in the country by total points and yardage.
“I thought our guys really worked hard, missed some opportunities. Not that there were a lot of them, but the ones that were there, couldn’t cash in,” Ferentz said during his opening statement on Saturday. “Did a lot of good things on defense certainly and a lot of big special teams plays, and then stating the obvious, we have work to do, obviously, to move the football, and we’re going to have to score points to be successful. That’s where our focus goes.”
“Just got a locker room full of guys that are really invested, that play hard, that care about each other. Don’t have many answers right now other than we go back to work tomorrow and see what we can figure out and try to move forward.”
I would agree with that comment or that statement if, in fact, that quarterback has built up some credit,” Ferentz said. “He’s got an account going. We’ve been around Spencer three years now. This is his third year playing as a starter, so we’ve been around him, seen him do a lot of really good things, as a person, as a young man, he’s stellar.”
Throughout the Ferentz era, he hasn’t traditonally switched quarterbacks unless there’s an injury, but given the lack of… well… anything on offense– it could be time.
“He’s got all the attributes you’re looking for, but it’s not going well for him right now,” Ferentz said of Petras. “It’s not going well for anybody in the offense quite frankly. If making a change is the best thing, then we’ll consider it. If not, then we’ll just keep pushing forward, seeing what we can do.”
The third game week of the 2022 season is upon us, so HawkeyeInsider took the time to analyze the depth chart. Let’s dive into it.
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Starter: Spencer Petras
Backup: Alex Padilla
Third String: Joey Labas
Iowa’s quarterback play hasn’t gotten any better. On Saturday, Petras finished with 92 yards on 12 of 26 passing and a pick. There is a lot of pressure on fans for a quarterback switch, but Ferentz isn’t committed to doing that quite yet. He believes that Petras hasn’t gotten a ton of help from other positions.
“To me, both these games he’s still not getting enough help to really do a fair assessment. He hasn’t been perfect. Nobody has,” Ferentz said. “We have a lot of moving parts right now on offense, and then we’re shorthanded a little bit at a couple positions. We’ll keep working through it and we’ll talk about it tomorrow and see what happens moving forward.”
“I didn’t say that,” Ferentz said when asked if Petras would start against Nevada. “I said today he played the whole game. In my judgment it was the best way to continue through this game, and gave it some thought, but I felt like it was our best opportunity. We’ll reassess everything tomorrow.”
Through the last 10 games, Petras has thrown one touchdown to nine interceptions. There’s no sugarcoating it, Iowa has to find production out of its quarterback positions otherwise playmakers are deemed worthless.
Starter: Gavin Williams
Backup: Leshon Williams
Starter: Monte Pottebaum
Backup: Turner Pallissard
Gavin Williams returned for the Hawkeyes on Saturday, but only ran the ball twice for 10 yards. He was the primary pass protector in the second half. Leshon Williams scored his first career touchdown on his second carry of the game, but couldn’t get anything else going on the day. He finished with 34 yards on 14 carries
“But Leshon has really practiced well. He’s really grown over the last two years, and I think he’s going to be a really good football player for us.”
Iowa’s offensive line looked like they got some early initial push at the beginning of the game, but Iowa didn’t have any rushes that went for more than 10 yards on Saturday. With all of the heat on Iowa’s quarterbacks, the running game has to find a spark to help alleviate pressure on whoever is leading the Iowa offense on the field.
Keep an eye on freshmen Jaziun Patterson and Kaleb Johnson. Both of them showed flashes during Iowas fall open practice. It’s very possible that one of them doesn’t redshirt this season if Iowa wants to play three running backs.
WR1: Arland Bruce IV
Second String: Jack Johnson
WR2: Alec Wick
Second String: Brody Brecht
It was a frustrating offseason for the Iowa wide receivers. Following the Hawkeyes’ final spring practice, Ferentz revealed that there were some practices where they had as few as four receivers. Still, Iowa returns its top four receivers from last season, including two exciting sophomores in Bruce and Johnson.
On Saturday, Iowa only played one scholarship wide receiver in Bruce. There’s no timetable for Johnson, but should be receiving an update in the next day or so about him.
“I don’t know about that. It’s certainly a factor. It’s not an excuse, but it is a factor if you do the math on it,” Ferentz on Saturday when asked if injuries have been a big problem. “We have, I think, by my count, three guys that were out pretty much from the start of camp that play outside on the perimeter. Not so much Nico was during camp, and then Diante Vines got hurt during camp, too, so you take those two guys, Brecht was out, Keagan Johnson has been out. That’s four players that last December I would have told you we were counting on.”
“I think there’s some reasons for it. We have some young guys playing and some guys that have missed significant time in practice, so you’re never quite sure what it’s going to look like on the game field. But we have to do a better job collectively, and we’ll have a better chance to evaluate what’s going on.”
Bruce finished with one reception for nine yards on 11 targets. Alec Wick had one catch for 14 yards.
TE1: Sam LaPorta
Second String: Luke Lachey
Third String Steven Stillianos
After a quiet week one, LaPorta bounced back on Saturday. He finished with a team-high eight receptions for 55 yards. Luke Lachey also added two catches for 14 yards. The Hawkeye passing offense is still lacking any sort of explosion, but it’ll be interesting to see if the tight ends are going to continue to be a focal point of a team desperate for energy.
LaPorta returning to the Hawkeyes this season is one of the more underrated storylines. If he wanted to, LaPorta could have been selected during the 2022 NFL Draft. The athletic tight end finished last season with 53 receptions to go along with 670 receiving yards.
“He’s got a confidence about him, an air about him, just the way he is naturally,” Ferentz said. “He’s one of those guys that people gravitate towards. Some guys just have a certain knack or air about them. He’s had that. It’s a little bit ironic because he was not a five-star recruit. It took us a little while to figure it out. Thank goodness we did.”
“I hope it’s an amazing year for myself and my teammates alike,” LaPorta said. “I think we all have high expectations and high goals set for ourselves, and we’re really excited for the season. I’m so glad every day I made that decision to come back.”
Left Tackle: Mason Richman
Second String: Jack Plumb
Left Guard: Nick DeJong
Second String: Tyler Elsbury
Center: Logan Jones
Second String: Michael Myslinski
Right Guard: Connor Colby
Second String: Beau Stephens
Right Tackle: Jack Plumb
Second String: Matt Fagan
It was a long, difficult day for the Iowa offensive line. The Hawkeyes only managed 58 yards on 25 carries, which results to 2.3 yards per carry. The pass protection hasn’t been consistent, but it hasn’t been poor. There has been time to make throws given the plays that are being called. One player that is continuing to develop is Jones, but Ferentz is optimistic about his outlook.
“Yeah, it’s really tough to evaluate the line in total without seeing tape, but procedurally, with Logan last week, he was having a hard time getting the ball snapped. His mind is going a million miles an hour. It was all new to him. I don’t think we had that issue today. How he blocked, I’ll have to wait and see, but the thing I’d say about him in particular, like I said, I think last week — just everything about him, everything he does is high quality.”
So you know, I’m not saying he’s going to be a great player here, but I’m pretty confident he’ll be really good here in time. He’s practiced as well as anybody we’ve got on our football team, so that’s that.”
LDE: John Waggoner
Second String: Ethan Hurkett
LDT: Noah Shannon
Second String: Lukas Van Ness
RDT: Logan Lee
Second String: Louie Stec
RDE: Joe Evans
Second String: Deontae Craig
Logan Lee is off to a hot start this season. After a week one that included, six tackles, including 1.5 sacks– he recorded another eight tackles on Saturday against Iowa State.
Lukas Van Ness burst on the scene last season for the Hawkeyes and was one of its most impactful and surprising players. According to Pro Football Focus, Van Ness played 462 snaps at defensive tackle in 2021. He was second on the team in tackles for a loss with 8.5 and tied Joe Evans for most sacks on the roster with seven.
Van Ness continues to impress as he blocked two punts on Saturday that gave the Hawkeyes the ball in the red-zone. He’s going to be a player to watch as the season goes along.
“He played inside almost exclusively last fall, and just the opposite this spring,” Iowa assistant defensive line coach Jay Niemann said. “It’s been good to watch him grow on the outside, too. He does have a skill set that allows him to have the flexibility to be either [inside] or [outside]. Typically, if you look back over the years here, we’ve typically had a player or two that have had that flexibility as well.”
“Right now, I think he’s a guy that could contribute either inside or out,” Niemann added. “It gets more complex [playing edge] depending on the team you’re playing. There are some things mentally that you have to do to evolve at that position that you don’t have to do on the inside. It’s a long answer to a short question, but it’s a work in progress. It’s a good thing for us that we have a guy like him who is capable of doing either.”
Yahya Black isn’t listed for the second straight week after injuring his foot in the season-opener.
MIKE: Jack Campbell
Second String: Jay Higgins
Weakside LB: Seth Benson
Second String: Kyler Fisher
Outside LB/CASH: Logan Klemp/Cooper DeJean
Jack Campbell is two tackles away from 200 for his career. Against Iowa State, he finished with nine tackles and a quarterback hurry.
All three of Iowa’s starters were limited this spring, but that has given Wallace and the younger Iowa linebackers a chance to develop. Higgins, Harrell, Kyler Fisher and several others have received an extensive workload over the course of 15 practices. That’s only going to benefit them in the long run.
“You try to get the other ones in there, because they need to see the fastball, the curveball, the changeup,” Wallace said. “It’s the kind of variables that your young guys, your backups, need to see. If they see it in the spring, it isn’t new, they aren’t playing catch-up in the fall. That midsection of the depth chart, you’re trying to move them from middle reliever into a starting spot.”
All three linebackers were named to the Dick Butkus Award Watch List, which goes to the nation’s best linebacker. There’s a confidence around the program that this could be the best linebacker unit in the Ferentz era.
Left Corner: Terry Roberts
Second String: Cooper DeJean
RCB Riley Moss
Second String: Brenden Desfernandes
Terry Roberts has been one of Iowa’s best defenders this season. On Saturday, Roberts intercepted a ball from Hunter Dekkers and nearly took it back to the house, but lost his footing. He also added on six tackles.
It also helps when you have Riley Moss back after winning the Big Ten’s DB of the Year Award. Moss finished the 2021 season with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, deflected five passes and had 39 total tackles. His speed, 6-foot-1 frame and on-ball instincts are a good combination of skills that will allow him to contend for highly-touted accolades.
“Absolutely, my goal is to win the Jim Thorpe Award and be a first-team all-American. Hopefully, I win first team all-Big Ten and player of the year. That comes with doing your job. Those are my individual goals and I’m going to work toward those goals because it’ll make the team better as well.”
Terry Roberts was a standout on Saturday by finishing with four tackles and two pass breakups in addition to several solid special teams plays.
Iowa’s defense might go down as one of the best of the Ferentz era.
Strong Safety: Kaevon Merriweather
Second String: Sebastian Castro
Free Safety: Quinn Schulte
Second String: Reggie Bracy
Merriweather is coming into 2022 with a giant chip on his shoulder. The charismatic safety said earlier this month that he was the only member of Iowa’s secondary that didn’t receive any postseason recognition. This offseason, despite limited availability, he’s attacked it in all aspects of the game, especially mentally. While he has played safety throughout his Iowa career, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field and showcase his talent.
“Wherever (Parker) needs me to plug in and play, I think I’ll be able to do that for him.”
Cooper DeJean has emerged as one of the team’s most versatile players. He played some CASH, cornerback and made a couple of special teams plays.
“Cooper, he’s a hell of an athlete,” Roberts said. “It’s out of this world. He can jump. He was a bit faster than I thought. I got to run next to him, side by side, during the season. I was like ‘Whoa, this kid’s fast.’
“He’s going to be a dangerous player.”
Quinn Schulte was a huge standout on Saturday. He only finished with one tackle, but recorded four pass breakups, most of which were on collisions with wide receivers.
P Tory Taylor
K Aaron Blom
Long snapper Luke Elkin
PR: Arland Bruce IV or Cooper DeJean or Alec Wick
KR: Riley Moss or Cooper DeJean or Arland Bruce IV
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