On line -- DT Carl Davis

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The depth chart coming out of spring practice had Carl Davis listed as a starter. Can he hold on to it?

The overall look of Iowa's '11 defense could ride on left defensive tackle.

Look at Iowa's defensive line for '11: You have veteran ends in Broderick Binns and Lebron Daniel. You have Mike Daniels at one tackle, coming off a breakout season. And then you have left DT, where Davis, a 6-foot-5, 310-pounder will battle Steve Bigach (missed spring with a shoulder injury) and (maybe) Mike Hardy.

I'm not convinced Iowa is considering changes in its philosophy and alignment. But logic dictates -- with Ohio State and Wisconsin off the schedule replaced by more spread-type offenses -- that it's worth a look.

If Binns from '09 shows up, Daniel and Daniels show some disruption and D-line coach Rick Kaczenski finds another DT that keeps O-line's honest, Iowa probably sticks with Norm Parker's 4-3, which (Iowa has held opponents to a stellar 3.34 the last five years) has more than served the Hawkeyes well.

Three most interesting bio items a year in . . . 1) recorded 58 tackles as a senior, including six QB sacks at Detroit Stevenson; 2) helped prep team post 10-2 mark as a junior and 13-1 record as a senior, advancing to state championship game at Ford Field in his final season; 3) also lettered in basketball and track and field.

Key quote . . . Defensive coordinator Norm Parker: "Well, Carl is a big guy. He’s probably 6 -- close to 6-5. He’s 300-some pounds, but quite athletic. I mean, he moves his hands. He doesn’t look like a 300-pound slow guy out there. He moves his hands. He’s athletic. He’s a 300-pounder that can dunk a basketball and do all that stuff.

"I think the problem was with a lot of those kids like that, they have never really played against anybody their own size before. In high school, they are always the biggest guy, and all of a sudden, they are playing against guys that swing back at them; you know, punch you back. He’s got to get through that.

"He missed a little bit of the spring. He got hurt in the Dance-A-Thon. He hurt his knee in a -- dancing over there. But he’ll be all right. But he’s a nice kid and he’s working hard. He’s working hard and he takes coaching. You know, Rick coaches them, he coaches them hard. It’s not a field day out there for those guys."

Standing after spring . . . Davis had a slow start to spring because he suffered a tweaked knee during the UI Dance Marathon (truth). To say his progression holds the key to Iowa's defense is overly dramatic, but it was clear after the spring game (how many zone blitzes did we see?) that coaches are looking for something on the D-line. Davis is very much in the mix. In the handful of practices I've seen in the last year and a half, Davis has been coached hard. Davis needs to find a hardness and bring it every snap.

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