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Iowa Preview 2006 - Offense
Iowa Hawkeyes
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2006


Iowa Hawkeyes Preview 2006 - Iowa Hawkeye Offense

What you need to know ... The Iowa offense will be much like the 2005 version with balance, occasional explosion, and a few moments of baffling rough spots. There won't be many down moments if Drew Tate is a Big Ten Player of the Year caliber quarterback he's supposed to be, but he can't get banged up. Albert Young leads a talented backfield that should combine for close to 2,000 yards behind a talented line with a nice mix of steady veterans and great young prospects. The receiving corps is fast but inexperienced, while the tight ends will be the stars right away with three great options.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Drew Tate
219-352, 2,828 yds, 22 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Albert Young
249 carries, 1,334 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Scott Chandler
47 catches, 552 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Drew Tate
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Calvin Davis
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Dace Richardson
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Scott Chandler
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Tate, 2) RB Albert Young, 3) Chandler
Strength of the offense: Tight end, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Inexperienced receivers and reserves on the line

Quarterbacks
Can Drew Tate close out with an All-American bang? One of the tougher competitors in college football, Tate brings the attitude to the Hawkeyes. He's efficient and experienced, and now he has to make sure he can stay healthy after missing time here and there throughout last season. Jason Manson and Jake Christensen are capable backups, but Iowa needs Tate to have any chance of becoming a Big Ten champion.
The key to the unit: Keep Drew Tate healthy and develop Jake Christensen so he's ready to roll next season.
Quarterback Rating: 9

Projected Starter
- Drew Tate, Sr. - 219-352, 62%, 2,828 yds, 22 TD, 7 INT, 44 carries, 41 yds, 2 TD
Tate cut down on his interceptions and improved his decision making by leaps and bounds from his sophomore year, and now he appears ready to make the jump to All-America status as a senior. He got better as last season went on finishing up by throwing for 351 yards and four touchdowns against Minnesota and 346 yards and three scores in the loss to Florida. He's a tough, gritty player who isn't afraid to throw his body around to try to get the tough yards, and he's great in the system. He should be among the nation's most efficient passers and on the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year short list.

Top Backups
- Jason Manson, Sr. - 24-48, 50%, 230 yds, 1 INT, 11 carries, 54 yds
Likely to spend most of his time at receiver, Manson is strictly a mop-up emergency option behind Drew Tate. He has a live arm and is far more mobile than Tate. Thrown into the fire in the loss to Iowa State, he struggled completing only ten of 31 passes in the loss. However, he has enough practice experience to step in and be fine.
- Jake Christensen, RFr.
Considered the star of the future, Christensen was a one of the team's top recruits last season and will be groomed for the 2007 starting job. He isn't all that big, but he has a great arm along with decent mobility. With Jason Manson seeing time at receiver, Christensen will look to step up into the number two role.

Running Backs
The running game bounced back in a big way after the nightmare of 2004 when every available back got hurt. Albert Young got healthy and developed into one of the Big Ten's most productive backs both as a runner and a receiver. He has help to carry the workload with speedy Damian Sims and powerful sophomore Shonn Green good enough to each carry it at least 5-7 times a game. Redshirt freshman Dana Brown should see some carries if he can prove he can hang on to the ball. The fullbacks have mostly been blockers in recent seasons, but that'll likely change with Tom Busch, Champ Davis, and newcomer Kalvin Bailey all certain to be involved more.
The key to the unit: Get another big year of production out of Albert Young while keeping him fresh and healthy by getting Damian Sims and Shonn Greene a significant number of carries.
Running Back Rating: 9

Projected Starters
- Albert Young, Jr. - 249 carries, 1,334 yds, 5.4 ypc, 8 TD, 24 catches, 244 yds, 10.2 ypc
One of the nation's top unsung rushers, Young returned from a leg injury that cost him all of 2004 to run for eight 100-yard games while rushing for 1,002 yards in Iowa's eight Big Ten games. He blends decent power with tremendous speed and great hands. He has the ability to tear off yards in chunks, but his longest run last season was only 36 yards. Expect that to change. The scary part is that he's even faster after being a year removed from the injury.

- Fullback Tom Busch, Jr. - 9 carries, 31 yds, 3.4 ypc, 4 catches, 29 yds
A pure blocker last season, the 231-pound junior has the skills to be used more as a power back as well as a receiver. He'll pave the way for the Hawkeye tailbacks and should grow into more of a playmaker as the season goes on.

Top Backups
- Damian Sims, Jr. - 30 carries, 296 yd,s 9.9 ypc, 4 TD, 3 catches, 30 yds, 10 ypc
Sims might not have seen many carries, but he made the most of his opportunities highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown run against Minnesota. He's a quick little scat back who's great at making defenders miss, and now he needs to get the ball more in the open field.
- Shonn Greene, Soph. - 37 carries, 173 yds, 4.7 ypc, 1 TD
Greene saw most of his action as a true freshman in the opening day blowout over Ball State rushing for 116 yards. He's the power runner in the attack at 5-11 and 210 pounds adding more of a between-the-tackles option than Albert Young and Damian Sims. He has the hands to be used as a receiver even though he didn't catch a pass last season.
- Fullback Champ Davis, Sr. - 1 carry, 10 yds, 8 catches, 58 yds, 7.2 ypc, 1 TD
The 6-2, 238-pound senior is a physical blocker and a surprisingly dangerous receiver. He won't run the ball much and will have to fight off Kalvin Bailey for the number two job, but he's too experienced not to be part of the mix.

Receivers
There's not a lot of experience after losing Clinton Solomon and Ed Hinkel, but there's a whole bunch of speed. Calvin Davis, Andy Brodell and Herb Grigsby can move, really move, and Eric McCollum is a promising possession receiver. The tight end situation is fantastic with three who are good enough to start. 6-7 Scott Chandler will be one of the Big Ten's top receiving tight ends, Ryan Majerus is a reliable veteran, and Tony Moeaki has the potential to be the best of the bunch.
The key to the unit: Hope for the speed to turn into production with at least two wide receivers becoming reliable targets to complement the tight ends.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Calvin Davis, Sr. - 8 catches, 79 yds, 9.9 ypc
Davis was an Iowa high school track star winning the state title with a 10.73 100-meter dash and set records in the 200 and 400. Now he's expected to bring that speed at split end taking over Clinton Solomon's old spot where he needs to become a consistent deep threat right off the bat.

- Herb Grigsby, Jr. - 25 catches, 335 yds, 13.4 ypc, 3 TD
Grigsby finally got in the mix after missing most of his sophomore season and ended up seeing starting time after Ed Hinkel broke his arm. Now he appeared to be the number one target.  He finished the season as the fourth leading receiver catching 18 of his 25 passes over the final five games. He can also be used as a kick returner.

- Tight end Scott Chandler, Sr. - 47 catches, 552 yds, 11.7 ypc, 2 TD
Chandler became the team's leading receiver and should once again be one of Drew Tate's top targets. The former wide receiver has terrific hands and great size at 6-7 and 257 pounds. While he's not the most dominant blocker around, he's good enough to not be a liability appearing to be improved this spring. With his size and skills, he could develop into a more dangerous goal line target.

Top Backups
- Andy Brodell, Soph. - 6 catches, 69 yds, 11.5 ypc
There's speed in the Iowa receiving corps, and Brodell might be the fastest of the bunch after running a 10.4 100-meter dash and tore off a 21.4 in the 200. He's not just fast, he's big at 6-3 and 193 pounds at split end. His one big day came at Northwestern with four grabs for 46 yards.
- Eric McCollom, Jr. - 2 catches, 19 yds, 9.5 ypc
Part receiver and part quarterback, the sophomore caught two passes in the opening day blowout and didn't see the ball from then on. He's a smart, athletic inside receiver who brings more size than Herb Grigsby.
- Tight end Tony Moeaki, Soph. - 8 catches, 112 yds, 14 ypc
He'll be one of the stars in the passing attack soon. While not huge at 6-4 and 250 pounds, he's a fantastic receiver and tough enough to grow into a strong blocker.
- Tight end Ryan Majerus, Sr. - 10 catches, 95 yds, 9.5 ypc, 2 TD

A starter just about anywhere else, the 6-3 senior is a steady, midrange receiver. The former linebacker is the third man in the mix but will still see plenty of passes his way. He'll also see work on special teams.

Offensive Linemen
There are enough good veterans to allow several talented young players to grow into their roles. There are also enough versatile linemen to come up with several combinations and adjust on the fly if injuries hit. Mike Elgin has been a good guard and now will be the quarterback of the line at center, Marshal Yanda can play either guard or tackle and will start out on the outside, and Mike Jones will an all-star at left guard. Dace Richardson is a rising star at left tackle while the return of Lee Gray and the emergence of Dan Doering provides good depth.

The key to the unit: The reserves need to quickly develop to allow for a good rotation as the season goes on. Over the first half of the year the line needs to stay healthy and intact so they all can get used to their roles.
Offensive Line Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- OT Dace Richardson, Soph.
The 6-6, 306-pound sophomore saw time as a true freshman showing the potential to grow into an All-Big Ten performer at left tackle if he can be far better in pass protection. He's not just big, he's athletic, but he has to be stronger than he was in spring ball.
- OG Mike Jones, Sr.
Able to play tackle or guard, the 302-pound senior started last season at both tackle spots before settling in at left guard where he'll stay ... for now. He's an All-Big Ten caliber blocker no matter where he lines up.
- C Mike Elgin, Sr.
Elgin is an academic All-American who became an all-star caliber performer at guard. Now he'll move to center where he should once again be one of the best technicians on the line. He beefed up to 288 pounds and should be even more physical.
- OG Seth Olsen, Soph.
Olsen got one starting assignment at tackle before spending the rest of the season as a reserve guard. He's 301 pounds and a mauling run blocker who should grow into a rock on the right side.
- OT Marshal Yanda, Sr.
The JUCO All-American turned into a reliable starter at both right tackle and left guard. He's leaner and quicker and should be even more productive at right tackle

Top Backups
- OT Lee Gray, Sr.
The former defensive lineman was growing into a star on the offensive line before getting knocked out with a knee injury in 2005 preseason practice. He's a fast 6-6 and 320 pounds and finally appears ready to get back in the mix at one of the tackle spots.
- OT Dan Doering, RFr.
One of the team's most talented prospects, the 6-7, 290-pound redshirt freshman still has room on his frame for another 15 pounds without looking heavy. He'll someday be an All-Big Ten performer but will start out behind Marshal Yanda on the right side.

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