Preview 2018: Iowa Hawkeyes. This Needs To Be The Year

Preview 2018: Iowa Hawkeyes. This Needs To Be The Year

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Iowa Hawkeyes. This Needs To Be The Year


What You Need To Know About The Iowa Offense

–  Okay, Iowa. It’s time to make the offense work again. Even with a great group of backs, a solid quarterback, and an always great line, the Hawkeyes just couldn’t make the O work. They sputtered and coughed to 330 yards and 28 points per game, but when it worked – hello, Ohio State and Nebraska – it was fantastic. Now they need to do a whole lot more of that.

It starts by getting back Nathan Stanley under center after an okay season, but an inconsistent one. He didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes, but he struggled way too much with his accuracy. With backup Tyler Wiegers off to Eastern Michigan, it’s Stanley’s job alone to get this moving.

– The receivers are just good enough to get by. The recruiting class is bringing in some nice new options, but leading receiver Nick Easley is a decent No. 1 guy to count on, and Nick Fant might just be the Big Ten’s best tight end. After that, the young options have to show up and Stanley has to make everyone around him better.

– How did the ground game only average 139 yards per game? Akrum Wadley and James Butler were too talented for the Hawkeyes to not be even more amazing – Wadley ran for over 1,100 yards, though. Part of the reason was a line that had some moments when it all came together, but struggled way too often at keeping the better defenses out of the backfield.

Ivory Kelly-Martin is a speedy back who got his feet wet as a true freshman, and Toren Young finished third on the team with 193 yards and two scores. These two will try to be the new Wadley and Butler, but they need the blocking.

Star center James Daniels is done along with a rock of a guard in Sean Welsh. Everyone else returns, though, with the hope for the freshman tackles from last season to be a whole lot stronger. Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs are right-sized blockers who need to grow into all-stars.

Biggest Key To The Iowa Offense

It really is this simple for Iowa – run, and win. Yes, the downfield passing game has to be better, and yes, moving the chains more would be nice, but as long as the Hawkeyes are grinding things out and controlling the tempo, everything else seems to come into place.

The ground doesn’t even need to dominate; it just needs to be effective.

Last season, Iowa was 8-0 when running for just 100 yards or more. It was 0-5 when it didn’t.

To take this further as a program, Iowa is 0-for-its-last-22 when not running for 100 yards, going all the way back to an early win over Pitt in 2011 for the last time it couldn’t run and won.

NEXT: Defense Breakdown, Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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