2007 Record: 6-6, 4-4 Big Ten Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
Iowa Players Drafted:
Charles Godfrey - CB - Round 3 - Carolina
Kenny Iwebema - DE - Round 4 - Arizona
Mike Humpal - OLB - Round 6 - Pittsburgh
Top Recruits for the Hawkeyes:
Riley Reiff - DE - 6’6” - 250 - Parkston, SD
Nate Guillory - RB - 5’10” - 180 - Houston, TX
James Ferentz - OL - 6’2” - 250 - Iowa City, IA
John Wienke - QB - 6’5” - 220 - Tuscola IL
Demarco Paine - CB - 5’10” - 175 - St. Louis, MO
Khalif Staten - LB - 6’3” - 220 - Brooklyn, NY
Jeff Brinson - RB - 5’11” - 210 - St. Petersburg, FL
Key Players Returning for Iowa:
Seth Olsen - OG - Jr.
Jake Christensen - QB - Soph.
Andy Brodell - WR - Jr.
Mitch King - DT - Jr.
A.J. Edds - LB - Jr.
Matt Kroul - DT - Sr.
Harold Dalton - SS - Sr.
Brett Greenwood - FS -Soph.
Rafael Eubanks - C - Jr.
Bradley Fletcher - CB - Sr.
Darrell Johnson-Koulianos - WR - Soph.
Junior Jake Christensen had a nice first season statistically as a starter last season throwing for 2,269 yard, 17 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. Despite decent numbers, the overall offensive output was not what the Hawkeyes had hoped for from the lefty. The offense averaged 18.5 points per game, and it often appeared that Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe had a difficult time finding a rhythm with Christensen. The offense had been a strength for the Hawkeyes and O’Keefe in previous seasons, so there is hope that Iowa will get things straightened out in 2008 with a more experienced Christensen.
Nate Guillory, a junior college transfer, will have the first opportunity to try to replace the loss of Albert Young and Damian Sims at running back. The expected return of Shonn Green after academic issues will be a boost for the offense. The 225-pound Green has quietly made strides academically to make what is hopefully a booming return to the Hawkeyes. Freshman Jeff Brinson comes to the Hawkeyes with hopes of finding time with the first-string. Iowa will have a difficult time replacing Young and Sims, but there is talent that can ease the transition.
The depth at wide receiver will provide Christensen with plenty of viable targets. Senior Andy Brodell has battled back from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss half of the 2007 season. Brodell has big-play ability, and sophomore Darrell Johnson-Koulianos is back after leading the Hawkeyes with 38 receptions last year. Junior Trey Stross had a solid showing in the spring game catching two TD passes. Stross is developing into a threat to catch long passes. Senior TE Tony Moeaki adds to the possible targets after a decent 2007 season when he caught 14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
The offensive line never found a rhythm last year with Christensen who was sacked 46 times, although, there is more experience on the offensive line in 2008. Seth Olsen is the only senior projected to start on the line. Olsen will start for the third straight year at RG.
Sophomore Bryan Beluga will start at LT. Junior Kyle Calloway is expected to hold onto the RT position, but senior Dace Richardson is another option for Ferentz. Junior Rafeal Eubanks will start at C, and junior Dan Doering at LG. Sophomore Julian Vandervelde also has experience starting at guard. The depth on the line will provide options for Ferentz to find a combination that works best for the Hawkeyes.
Ken Iwebema will be missed on the defensive line, but seniors Mitch King and Matt Kroul are back as the defensive tackles. King is a true leader, and along with Kroul provides experience that comes with plenty of starts on the Hawkey defense. Kroul has started 37 straight games, and King is right behind him with 32 consecutive starts for Iowa. Two sophomores will start at defensive end. Christian Ballard had 2.5 sacks as a freshman, and Adrian Clayborn notched two sacks last year.
The Hawkeyes will be without two of their top defensive players from last season in Mike Humpal and Mike Klinkenberg. Sophomore Jacody Coleman steps in as the starting MLB this season. The coaching staff is high on Coleman who showed promise when he had opportunities as a freshman. Pat Angerer, a junior, will also see time at MLB with Coleman. Junior A.J. Edds piled up 80 tackles in 2007 and returns as a starting OLB. Sophomores Jeff Tarpinian and Jerimiah Hunter will most likely split time at the other outside linebacker position.
Two more key losses from last season’s defense come at cornerback with the departure of Adam Shada and Charles Godfrey. Sophomore Jordan Bernstine and senior Bradley Fletcher will assume the CB spots. Fletcher had two interceptions last year to go along with 53 tackles. Both safeties return for the Hawkeyes. Senior Harold Dalton brings the most experience to the defensive backfield after starting all 12 games last year. Sophomore Brett Greenwood has seven starts under his belt and intercepted two passes in 2007.
2008 Iowa Special Teams
Sophomore Daniel Murray will try to hold on to the kicking job he won last season. Murray is capable of hitting from outside of 50 yards, but junior Austin Signor is still in the mix. Ryan Donahue solidified his spot as the punter averaging 41.1 yards per punt last season. Donahue’s leg will be relied upon heavily if the offense sputters again this year. Last season he was called upon to punt 86 times.
Andy Brodell can return punts, but his injury last season may give Ferentz reason to turn to Paul Chaney or Colin Sandeman. Darrell Johnson-Koulianos averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return last season.
2008 Iowa Prediction
The Hawkeyes look for more consistency from the offense in 2008. Christensen needs to show more control of the offense this season, and a large part of that will come as he and the offense line get a better feel for each other. The offensive line was not completely to blame for the 46 times Christensen was sacked last season. Decision making by Christensen can help reduce that large number. The offense will also need players at the skilled positions to step up and become reliable. Despite the loss of many key starters last year, the defense should keep games within reach as long as the offense holds up and keeps them from playing too many minutes.
A glaring part of the schedule is actually what does not appear in 2008. Absent from the schedule are Ohio State and Michigan. The Hawkeyes also catch a break by having Wisconsin and Penn State at Kinnick Stadium. Eight wins is expected for the Hawkeyes this season.