116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Big Ten element added quite a bit more work to these, but that should give you (and me, frankly) a working knowledge of who's who around the conference.
Click the position and it will take you to the "Four Downs."
Quarterbacks -- James Vandenberg is the guy. He threw just eight passes in 2010, but he has two starts (including de facto 2009 Big Ten title game at Ohio State) and the coaches' respect.
Running backs -- Marcus Coker and then . . . well, that's an open audition. Iowa again will lean on freshmen to fill in the depth chart and be the offensive MVP in the bowl game against the No. 12 team in the country. (Kidding.) You will be extremely focused on how the freshmen RBs do in fall camp next season, specifically Rodney Coe and Mika'il McCall. And that's OK, it's a big story. At fullback, the news that Brad Rogers is out and still being monitored because of a cardiac concern is terrible. Kid is too young for that worry.
Wide receivers -- This is Keenan Davis' time. He hasn't been asked to do a lot behind Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt. Johnson-Koulianos is gone. McNutt needs a complementary wide receiver. This is Keenan Davis' time.
Offensive line -- As expected, Adam Gettis and Nolan MacMillan are listed as first-team guards going into spring practice. Lots of bodies, lots of competition. I think the top two challengers are Conor Boffeli and Brandon Scherff. Look on Ferentz's face during Wednesday's newser when asked about Scherff kind of gave that away.
Defensive line -- It's the team hotspot. Lots of proving to do. A few totally new faces with giant responsibilities (especially with the way Iowa plays its defense). This isn't an "all is lost" suggestion, but how much do you really know about some of the names in the hopper here?
Linebackers -- Newness here, too, outside of sophomore James Morris and senior Tyler Nielsen. Ferentz sounded as though he was interested in seeing some more move out of the weakside position during the new conference. I'm sure we'll be exploring that notion here this upcoming week.
Defensive backs -- Interesting prospect came up with Ferentz's mention of junior Micah Hyde getting a look at safety this spring. If that sticks, it probably doesn't change things as much as you think. Iowa will still be breaking in two new defensive backs next fall. The hard part with this is what do coaches need to see? What are Hyde's thoughts on this? Is he totally invested in being a safety after one season as a corner under his belt? Ferentz did say best combination, so keep that in mind. That probably overrides all.
Special teams -- Iowa has a kicker, probably. Mike Meyer still faces competition, but he seems to be the guy. Iowa has an opening at punter. Eric Guthrie is No. 1 going into spring practice. I expect this to run right up to the opener against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 3. Maybe the most interesting thing in this post is the fact that 21 of the 55 spots used in the Insight Bowl were filled by departing seniors.