4. College Football News Preview 2020: Iowa Hawkeyes Defense 3 Things To Know
– Longtime Iowa assistant and defensive coordinator Phil Parker has a bunch of work to do to build back up the nation’s 12th-best defense that allowed just 308 yards and 14 points per game.
How strong was the Hawkeye D? It didn’t allow more than 24 points, and it cave up fewer than 20 nine times.
But now the line needs a bit of an overhaul.
DE Chauncey Golston is back at one end – he should be among the team’s best pass rushers – but the other three starters are gone up front, including new Buffalo Bill AJ Epenesa and both starting tackles – Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff were killers against the run.
Iowa is great at filling in the gaps and keeping the production going, needing Daviyon Nixon bring the 305-pound bulk to a bigger role at one tackle, and with a rotation at the other spot around junior Austin Schulte. Hybrid sophomore pass rusher Joe Evans will get the first look on the other side of Golston.
– The line might be a concern, but it’ll be fine with a little bit of time – and the same goes for the linebacking corps.
Leading tackler Kristian Welch is done, but Dijmon Colbert is a good-sized linebacker who can move on the outside. The middle would’ve been fine with Dillon Doyle taking over for Welch, but he left for Baylor after this dad, strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, reached an agreement and parted ways with the program.
Nick Neimann is a good veteran who can do a variety of things as a dangerous player in the backfield on the other side of Colbert.
– Losing three starters from the secondary certainly doesn’t help the cause – not having Geno Stone around at strong safety hurts – but this group is in the best shape right away. The depth was there last year, and it’ll payoff this season with enough options and position battles to quickly make up for the losses.
Jack Koerner returns after finishing second on the team with 81 tackles, and Matt Hankins is a decent-hitting corner who made 58 tackles with two picks. The rest of the parts – like Riley Moss at the other corner and sophomore Dane Belton taking over for Stone – will be fine.