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Time for Iowa football to explode, in a good way
Iowa running back Tyler Goodson says Doak Walker Award is his goal
IOWA CITY — Here’s what can be said with conviction about the Iowa football team now that spring practice has ended:
With Tyler Goodson at running back and Tyrone Tracy Jr. at wide receiver, shame on the Hawkeyes if they don’t take full advantage of those two talents this fall.
“Tyrone’s going to be Tyrone,” Goodson said Saturday after the Hawkeyes’ open practice at Kinnick Stadium. “He’s a playmaker. You put the ball in the man’s hands, you never know what he’s going to do.
“We like to call ourselves ’TNT.’ Because we like to be explosive and he’s every bit of that, very explosive, and he’s going to be great for this team.”
Tracy was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage, but the public got a good enough look at him two weeks earlier at the other open workout of the spring at Kinnick to love what it saw.
And Goodson? “I want to be the Doak Walker Award winner,” he said.
In the word of Jerry Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo, hello! We have a little actual verbal meat on the bone from the Hawkeye football camp. You see, the first unanimous first-team All-American in Iowa State history will be a junior this fall, and he happens to be a running back.
Breece Hall was so good last year that he got most of the Cyclones’ snaps at running back though they had Kene Nwangwu, a good enough runner to be a fourth-round NFL draft choice Saturday.
Hall rushed for 1,572 yards in 12 games last season, 5.6 yards a carry. He scored 23 touchdowns. Like Iowa basketballer Luka Garza, who was presented the Naismith Award at Kinnick Saturday, Hall gets the bump from big numbers the previous season.
Goodson wasn’t a garden-variety RB himself in his sophomore year last season, accumulating 762 rushing yards and earning first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Bring on Sept. 11, when the Hawkeyes play at Iowa State.
Is there a Hall-Goodson rivalry? Not yet. Is there a Hall-Goodson friendship?
“We probably have no relationship at all,” said Goodson, “but I would like to get to know him a little bit and see what he’s about. I feel like he’d be a pretty cool guy to hang around.”
Hall plays with one of the nation’s top returning quarterbacks in Brock Purdy. High-level quarterback play is one of the things Iowa needs from Spencer Petras to do what Iowa State did last season, which is reach a conference championship game and a major bowl.
Petras got a baptism under fire at quarterback, but his last four games were his best four games.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes should at least be as good as last year when they averaged 31.8 points playing nothing but Big Ten opposition. Center Tyler Linderbaum is nothing less than great, and the rest of the offensive line has some promising players.
Tight end Sam LaPorta may make it “TNT + Sam KaBlam.” He’s a difference-maker, ready to enter the George Kittle-T. J. Hockenson-Noah Fant ionosphere.
So go ahead and put the burden of expectations on the 2021 Hawkeyes. It’s time Iowa won its second Big Ten division title in 11 tries and first since 2015.
One league championship game per decade isn’t the ratio you’re looking for if you’re a Top 25 program, which Iowa has been at the end of the last three seasons.
The Hawkeyes were as good as anyone in the Big Ten West last year, but that didn’t translate because they lost their first two games. By December, the Hawkeyes were 6-2.
They would have been 8-2 had their hastily scheduled game with Michigan and their Music City Bowl against Missouri not been canceled because of COVID-19 issues with both opponents.
This is 2021, with vaccine available to all, fans back in the Kinnick stands, and a clean slate. Oh, and there’s also a West division without a team that should intimidate Iowa. Like last year.
The Hawkeyes have TNT at running back and wide receiver, the running back tells us. His team should blow up, in a good way. It’s time.
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