Iowa Hawkeyes Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Iowa season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Iowa Hawkeyes Preview
Head Coach:Kirk Ferentz, 24th year at Iowa, 178-110
27th year overallL 190-131, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 10-4, Conference: 7-3
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Iowa Top 10 Players | Iowa Schedule & Analysis
Iowa Hawkeyes Preview 2022
Yeah, Iowa got stomped by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship, but …
Iowa got to the Big Ten Championship.
Yeah, Iowa lost a bowl game for the first time since 2016, but …
Iowa got to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.
Yeah, the end of the season might have soured things a bit to come so far only to struggle late, but …
Iowa won ten games, and got to the Big Ten Championship, and went to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl even though it wasn’t very good in a few massive areas – like scoring in the red zone, and scoring consistently, and throwing the ball down the field, and …
Oh, the defense was terrific. It was great against the run, better at taking the ball away – it led the nation with 25 interceptions – and gave up 19 points per game.
But the other side of the ball had a few issues.
Here’s the fun part. The defense might be every big as good with the pieces coming back, which means if the Hawkeyes can get any improvement on …
Iowa Hawkeyes Preview 2022: Offense
It was a grind. Iowa finished 13th in the Big Ten in total offense – averaging 304 yards per game – and it wasn’t because it took it easy and didn’t take chances so the defense could carry the load.
The passing game has been just okay for a while, and it’s been a huge struggle over the last few years to generate enough big things down the field. That has to be adjusted, and the running game has to be better, and …
Seriously, Iowa? The offensive line was a problem? That’s the most amazing part about the 2021 run to the Big Ten Championship – Iowa was able to do that even though the program’s signature position group was way too ineffective for way too long.
Oh sure, Tyler Linderbaum was a special center, and there was all-star consideration at some other spots, but the line was dead last in the Big Ten in tackles for loss allowed, struggled in pass protection, and blocked for the 101st-ranked running game in the country.
The interior needs a reboot with all the lost parts, but Mason Richmond is a good young tackle, there’s experience at right tackle, and it’s Iowa. This is going to be fixed.
Even with all of the problems, Tyler Goodson still ran for 1,151 yards and six scores. He’s done, but Gavin Williams got his feet wet with 305 yards.
And then there’s the passing game. Yeah, blame the line a wee bit for the problems with the lack of a downfield attack, but the Hawkeyes simply couldn’t bomb away like it needed to.
The good news – leading receiver Sam LaPorta is back after catching 53 passes. The bad news – the leading receiver was a midrange receiving tight end. However, Keagan Johnson averaged 19.6 yards per catch and Nico Ragaini is a good veteran. And then there’s the worse news – star return man and solid receiver Charlie Jones is in the transfer portal.
The quarterback job is way too up for grabs considering the veterans in the mix. Spencer Petras has the tools and the inside track, but he hasn’t been set the world on fire. Alex Padilla is giving him a push, but he failed to hit half of his passes last year. It’s an open competition – redshirt freshman Joe Lebas will get a shot – through fall camp.
And then there’s the …
Iowa Hawkeyes Preview 2022: Defense
It wasn’t always perfect, and it got hammered by Michigan and Purdue, but it finished ninth in the nation in yards allowed, gave up just 20 points per game, and it came up with lots and lots of turnovers.
The takeaways slowed in the middle of the season, but they also showed just how important the defense was for a team that struggled so much offensively. The 20 turnovers in the first six games set the tone for the rest of the season, and they picked back up late.
The 2021 D might not come up with 25 interceptions again, but overall it’ll be every bit as strong.
The secondary welcomes back ball-hawking star corner Riley Moss after he missed time hurt last season with a knee injury. He’s one of the best playmakers in the country, but there are just enough replacements for the other star defensive backs to need a little bit to be as good as last year. It’s an experienced group, though, that will be more than fine.
Now they need the pass rush to be there, and it will. Ends Lukas Van Ness and Joe Evans combined for 14 sacks, and even with the loss of Zach VanValkenburg – who led the team with 14 tackles for loss – the line will hold up.
If the linebackers aren’t the best in the Big Ten, they’re close. Jack Campbell is a tackling machine who’ll be an All-Big Ten star again, and Seth Benson – 105 tackles to Campbell’s 143 – will start to get more attention as one of the league’s best all-around defenders.