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IOWA CITY - Iowa released a depth chart to kick off spring football Monday, but the next few weeks of practices will be crucial in refining it. Iowa's senior class left vacancies on offensive and defensive line, wide receiver, tight end and running back.
Most notable are the vacancies on the defensive line, which loses three players. Iowa has played 22 straight games without giving up 25 points, which is the longest streak in the nation among Power Five teams.
'It really hit me on Monday, you're out there on the field and there's Chauncey (Golston), Daviyon (Nixon) and Jack (Heflin) and it dawned on me: you can only start four so there's another year we're graduating three guys and we've done that in the past two,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'What you're hoping to see is a story like Zach's (VanValkenburg), the improvement he made last year as opposed to the year before is just night and day. I think that's an illustration of how college football works.”
The depth chart lists VanValkenburg, Noah Shannon, Joe Evans and John Waggoner as returning letterwinners to the defensive line. Center Tyler Linderbaum is a set piece on the offensive line, which also returns letterwinners Jack Plumb, Kyler Schott, Justin Britt, Cody Ince and Nick DeJong.
Bigger questions are at skill positions like wide receiver and running back. Tyler Goodson and Ivory Kelly-Martin are listed as running backs on the depth chart, but Kelly-Martin will not be working out during the spring.
There are four running backs on the roster, including freshman early enrollee Arland Bruce IV. He earned the 2019 Thomas A. Simone Award, which goes to the top high school football player in the Kansas City area, and as a junior rushed for 2,351 yards and 45 touchdowns.
New running backs assistant coach Ladell Betts won the same award in 1996.
'Our preference right now (is) to see what he can do at receiver,” Ferentz said. 'He would be a guy that potentially could move. I'd like to see him playing receiver and see how that goes and then we'll go from there. I'd rather not move a younger player around a lot.”
But the depth chart is subject to change over the coming weeks, even when fall practice begins. As Ferentz reflected on last year, he said the hardest part was not having a veteran quarterback.
Now, spring football is back, and while nothing is set in stone, it's comforting to know Spencer Petras has one season under his belt.
'One of his highlights might have been Illinois because first half as a team, we played poorly, he played poorly, but for him to come back and fill in that, make some of the throws he made ... to me, that gives me encouragement that there's a pretty good quarterback here,” Ferentz said. 'I'm really excited about Spencer and watching his growth, and I'm excited to see the other guys too, Alex (Padilla) and Deuce (Hogan).”
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