Iowa Spring Football Game: 5 Things That Matter
What do you need to know about what happened in the Iowa spring football game?
1. The One Guy Who Really, Really Needed To Show Up, Did
The loss of safety Brandon Snyder this spring to a knee injury – apparently, a torn ACL – took out the team’s third-leading tackler and ball-hawking presence. One of the Big Ten’s rising-star defensive playmakers, he came up with 85 tackles and three picks. So while it’s just a spring game, and there’s still plenty of concern about the spot, the performance of former walk-on Jake Gervase mattered.
The new guy in the mix with Snyder out, for one big scrimmage, at least, Gervase was amazing with three picks. taking one for a score. While no one’s thinking he’ll take over and be another Snyder, for one night, Iowa looked like the free safety position might be okay.
2. And The Quarterbacks …
It’s still up in the air, and it’s going to take fall practice to figure out who’s going to replace C.J. Beathard. The two main options were okay, but neither one took over the job on Friday night.
6-4, 225-pound Tyler Wiegers is a big bomber with a live arm and a little bit of experience from two seasons ago. He hit 11-of-19 throws for 94 yards with two interceptions. 6-5, 212-pound Nathan Stanley has the slightest of edges, but he struggles in the scrimmage, hitting 6-of-16 throws for 17 yards and a score. But even though the quarterbacks were mediocre …
3. It’s Not Like The Receivers Showed Off Anything
The nation’s 118th-best passing game didn’t get a good year out of Beathard, but the receivers didn’t help the cause, either. One of the problem areas going into the spring, the Hawkeyes needed to find wideouts to help the new starting quarterback shine. Consider this a major work in progress.
Getting Matt VandeBerg back from a foot problem should eventually help the cause – he missed nine games last season – and leading receiving wideout, Jerminic Smith, didn’t play thanks to a few academic issues. By the fall, these two will be the main men, but none of the other wideouts blew up. The tight ends were fine, but until VandeBerg is back, the explosion might be missing.
4. The Iowa Strength Should Eventually Be …
The offensive line and the ground game. Akrum Wadley should come up with a huge season after leading the team with 1,081 yards and ten scores, averaging well over six yards per try. Wadley hasn’t hit in the spring game, but backups Toren Young and Toks Akinribade looked great. Young is the thunder, Akinribade is the thunder, and between the two, they should help keep Wadley fresh.
5. The One Under-The-Radar Thing Big Ten Fans Should Probably Care About
Brian Ferentz as the new offensive coordinator will try to open things – but not just with the wideouts. The offense is changing things up a wee bit, but it’s not going through a massive transformation. There will be more passes to Wadley out of the backfield – he was second on the team with 36 catches for 315 yards and three scores – and the tight ends will be a massive part of the attack. The goal is to spread the ball around even more than the passing game did last season. Tight end is one of the team’s deepest areas, and it should show right away.