Opening night: Stats, quick impressions
-- OK, all the evidence points to Jake Rudock as the starting QB. But Kirk Ferentz didn't go there after Saturday night's scrimmage, so it might be over, but it's not over officially.
-- Rudock has a decent arm and can move. Looked natural running the ball and moved well in the zone read. Beathard made some great throws, looked natural. I wonder if it's not the high-level reads that need to be made pre-snap at the LOS that aren't holding him back. I didn't see anything wrong with Sokol's game. He was a more accurate passer than he was this spring. He also didn't throw the ball up for grabs. The only interception that almost happened was when B.J. Lowery jumped a short pass from Rudock.
Maybe it's this: Rudock started with an advantage because he was in the system a little longer than the other two, and he's a pre-med student. He's really, really smart. Thinking is a big part of this, and if that's Rudock's advantage, it appears the other two haven't thrown up enough fireworks to knock him out of the box.
Ferentz threw in the "it's not quite over over," but it'd be a shock if Rudock wasn't named starter.
How political would this deal get? We'll see.
-- Sure looks as though true freshman RB LeShun Daniels is going to play. He ran with a forward lean, he ran with abandon. He's a lot faster than I thought he would be. Defenders have a hard time getting into in. He's an armadillo.
-- If Iowa went looking for speed when it checked Damond Powell's video from Snow College, they found it. Powell runs like a rabbit. He's not just fast, either. He has moves. He's a weapon if . . . he keeps learning and immersing himself in the offense. The physical skills are there, and Ferentz said he's learned the offense faster than they thought he would. (Remember, Powell got here the Thursday before camp.) He was fun.
-- I'd like to see more of sophomore WR Tevaun Smith. If he wasn't tagged with an offensive pass interference penalty, he would've caught two passes for 109 yards.
-- WR Kevonte Martin-Manley was very productive. He's earned No. 1 WR.
-- The defense was disruptive at times.
Cornerback play was outstanding. The secondary was very good overall. If this is the difference between Phil Parker just being coordinator and him being DC and secondary coach, pay the man his money.
Sophomore Jordan Lomax broke up a few passes. He got one on giant TE C.J. Fiedorowicz in the end zone and he celebrated it pretty hard. That tells me that CJF probably has been a pain-in-the-buttpads for the defense during camp (KF did say that CJF was having a great camp).
-- SS John Lowdermilk seems to be the starter over Nico Law. Lowdermilk started Saturday night. He appears to have won the race.
Redshirt freshman safeties Ruben Lile and Anthony Gair were pretty good, too.
-- The first-team D-line picked up three sacks Saturday (Dominic Alvis, Drew Ott and Carl Davis).
Alvis told us afterward that Iowa's practices have become 1 vs. 1s all the time. The D-line seems to have grown from that.
-- Senior Conor Boffeli has one guard spot locked down. Nolan MacMillan, Jordan Walsh and Andrew Donnal are fighting it out for the other guard spot. I think Donnal. He was the one called on for the job last season.
-- Here were Connor Kornbrath's punts (keep in mind, a couple of these were in the "pooch" range): 32, 37, 49, 33, 39 and 32. These numbers are completely unofficial.
-- Is kicker Mike Meyer hurt? He tried FGs from 43, 43 and 38 and made just the 38-yarder. Marshall Koehn took two during the scrimmage and made both (25 and 45). Alden Haffar also made a 43-yarder.
-- Here's who was out with injury: Boffeli, CB Maurice Fleming, DE Riley McMinn, RB Barkley Hill. No injuries were disclosed. Ferentz called them "camp injuries" and said everyone would be ready in two weeks. McMinn had missed "four or five days," Ferentz said.
-- OL Eric Simmons went down with what looked like a knee injury during the scrimmage. He came back, played and looked OK.
-- TEs didn't have much of a night, but that will change.
Jake Rudock (started the scrimmage)
Drive 1 0 of 2 (three and out)
Drive 2 1-2-(-4) yards (CB B.J. Lowery blitzed and knocked the ball back into Rudock's hands, so his first completion was to himself)
Drive 3 2-3-34 yards (Haffar 43 FG; Rudock overthrew WR Riley McCarron, who broken open for what might've been a 33-yard TD)
Drive 4 0-1 (three and out)
Drive 5 1-1-7 yards (three and out; Rudock tried to force a ball into a tight window; Jordan Lomax knocked it in the air and CJF caught it for a 7-yard gain)
Drive 6 0-1 (three-and-out)
Drive 7 4-6-48 (Rudock hit WR Jordan Cotton for a 23-yard TD)
Goal line 1 0-1
Goal line 2 0-1
Totals 8 of 18 for 85 yards (one TD pass; led two scoring drives)
C.J. Beathard (took No. 2 snaps)
Drive 1 2-3-33 (Beathard complete a bullet to WR Damond Powell for a 29-yard TD)
Drive 2 1-2-21 (punt)
Drive 3 4-5-33 (Marshall Koehn 45 FG)
Goal line 1 1-1-1 (1-yard TD pass to TE Ray Hamilton)
Goal line 2 0-1
Totals 8 of 12 for 88 yards and two TDs (led three scoring drives including the goal line throw; took all of his snaps with the second-team offense)
Cody Sokol (took snaps with 2nd unit after Beathard)
Drive 1 2-4-69 (Koehn 25 FG)
Drive 2 2-2-41 (RB LeShun Daniels scored on a 2-yard run)
Drive 3 2-3-11 (punt)
Drive 4 2-4-24 (Turnover on downs)
Goal line 1 0-1
Totals 8 of 14 for 145 (Led two scoring drives)
RB Mark Weisman 4 carries for 14 yards (Sound as though he's been nicked up in camp; KF said they've seen him tackled and don't need to see it much more)
RB Damon Bullock 2 for 4 (Bullock played in the slot and at WR a lot; said afterward he's still very much an RB)
RB Jordan Canzeri 7 for 24 (Mix of carries with the 1s and 2s)
RB LeShun Daniels 13 for 73 three TDs (Scored on runs of 2, 1 and 1; sure sounds as though the true freshman is playing)
RB Michael Malloy 10 for 14 TD (Scored on a 2-yard run; looked good as a receiver)
QB Jake Rudock 5 for 15
RB Jonathan Parker 14 for 10 (Took most of the third-team snaps)
QB Nic Shimonek 2 for (-3) yards (Fumbled three center exchanges, one with C Steve Ferentz that LB John Kenny returned 30 yards for a TD)
QB Cody Sokol -- 1-0
QB C.J. Beathard 1-3
WR Damond Powell 1 for 5 (He got the one jet sweep)
RB Akrum Wadley 5 for 33 (Showed some burst)
WR Damond Powell 4 for 88 yards TD (He took a smack from Nico Law on the 29-yard TD and hung on; a runner like Iowa hasn't had in a while)
TE Ray Hamilton 2 for 6 TD
RB Jordan Canzeri 1 for 2
QB Jake Rudock 1 for (-4)
WR Tevaun Smith 1 for 59 (He made a beautiful, diving catch on a 60-yard completion from Beathard, but was called for an offensive PI. Ref made a definitive call, so not getting out of it)
WR Jordan Cotton 1 for 23 TD (Made a huge play on pass from Rudock, catching it and getting one foot in bounds)
WR Kevonte Martin-Manley 5 for 69 (The lead dog at receiver)
WR Derrick Mitchell 2 for 25
RB Michael Malloy 3 for 35 (Made a great catch and run on a well executed screen pass)
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 1 for 7 (He was targeted a lot)
TE George Kittle 1 for 7
WR Blake Haluska 1 for 7
WR Riley McCarron 2 for 7
WR Andre Harris 1 for 15
TE Henry Krieger Coble 1 for 8
WR Derrick Willies 2 for 60 (Great catch and run on 56 TD; outran the defender to the pylon and had the strength to finish just in bounds)
RB Akrum Wadley 1 for 70 (Caught a short pass and turned it into a 70-yard thrill ride)
Here's how the units shaped up (minus the injuries to Conor Boffeli, Maurice Fleming and Riley McMinn)
LT Brandon Scherff; LG Andrew Donnal; C Austin Blythe; RG Jordan Walsh; RT Brett Van Sloten; TE C.J. Fiedorowicz; WR Don Shumpert; WR Kevonte Martin-Manley; WR Damon Bullock; RB Mark Weisman; QB Jake Rudock
Others: TE -- Ray Hamilton; WR Jacob Hillyer; RB Bullock, Jordan Canzeri, LeShun Daniels; FB Adam Cox; G Nolan MacMillan
DE Drew Ott, Dominic Alvis; DT Carl Davis, Louis Trinca-Pasat; MLB James Morris; WLB Anthony Hitchens; OLB Christian Kirksey; CB B.J. Lowery; CB Jordan Lomax; SS John Lowdermilk; FS Tanner Miller
Others: S Ruben Lile; CB Sean Draper
LT Nolan MacMillan/Cole Croston; LG Reid Sealby; C Tommy Gaul; RG Eric Simmons/Mitch Keppy; RT Croston/Ryan Ward; TE George Kittle/Jake Duzey/Henry Krieger Coble; WR Tevaun Smith, Jordan Cotton, Riley McCarron/Damond Powell; RB Canzeri/Daniels/Mike Malloy; QB C.J. Beathard/Cody Sokol
DE Faith Ekakitie/Nate Meier, Mike Hardy; DT Jaleel Johnson, Darian Cooper; MLB Quinton Alston; WLB Marcus Collins/Cole Fisher; OLB Travis Perry; CB Sean Draper, Gavin Smith; SS Nico Law/Ruben Lile (nickel); FS Anthony Gair
(L-R) Gavin Smith, Jordan Lomax, Jacob Hillyer, Cole Fisher, Christian Kirksey, John Lowdermilk, Quinton Alston, Nico Law, Tanner Miller, Sean Draper; K Mike Meyer
(L-R) B.J. Lowery, Don Shumpert, George Kittle, Cole Fisher, Anthony Hitchens, Ruben Lile, Marcus Collins, John Kenny, Greg Mabin, Malik Rucker
(L-R) Jake Duzey, Ray Hamilton, Jordan Walsh, Nolan MacMillan, Casey Kreiter (snapper), Brandon Scherff, Andrew Donnel, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Henry Krieger Coble; Holder Connor Kornbrath; Kicker Mike Meyer
(L-R) Anthony Hitchens, Macon Plewa, Casey Krieter (snapper), Jake Duzey, Travis Perry; Gunners -- B.J. Lowery, Jordan Cotton; Wings -- Tanner Miller, John Lowdermilk; Upback James Morris; Punter Connor Kornbrath
A few other thoughts
- Iowa is secure at offensive tackle. Brandon Scherff and Brett Van Sloten neutralized whoever crossed their face. That's not necessarily a negative against defensive ends Drew Ott and Dominic Alvis, who especially was active. But it shows Iowa's strength at that position.
- Carl Davis continues to ruin Christmas for interior offensive linemen. I'm very interested in watching how Davis competes against other offensive lineman. The light is on and shining bright. He was engaged and disruptive. In fact, I thought all of Iowa's top four defensive tackles were tough.
- The secondary is sharp. B.J. Lowery might be Iowa's top cover cornerback since the middle part of the last decade. That includes some NFL players like Micah Hyde, Shaun Prater, Amari Spievey and Charles Godfrey. Lowery had little problem one-on-one with his opponent. He broke up at least three passes and knocked down another on a blitz.
- Communication problems and the inconsistency that plagued the secondary last year seem to evaporated.
- I'm very interested in watching the quarterback position grow this year and beyond. Rudock's poise and confidence cannot be understated. He's self-assured and accurate. But you've got to like Beathard's big arm and potential. He's got a similar build as former Iowa QB Rick Stanzi but throws with more velocity. Rudock might be the right guy today and this season. But if Beathard continues to grow, it might be a competition in the future, too.
- LeShun Daniels is that big back Ferentz likes, plus he's quick into the hole and has decent speed. He's built in similar fashion as Marcus Coker and runs like both Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton.
- I want to see more tight end.