Preview 2008 - CFN Iowa Preview
Iowa DT Mitch King
Iowa DT Mitch King
Posted Apr 28, 2008

Off-the-field issues, a nightmare of an injury problem, and a stunning gag against Western Michigan made last year one to forget for Iowa. But now, with a favorable schedule, most of the banged up players back, and a great tackle pair, led by Mitch King, this could be a sleeper in the Big Ten race. Check out the CFN Iowa Preview.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN Iowa Preview | 2008 Iowa Offense

- 2008 Iowa Defense | 2008 Iowa Depth Chart
- 2007 CFN Iowa Preview | 2006 CFN Iowa Preview 

Where did Iowa go?

Head coach Kirk Ferentz had earned the reputation of being one of college football’s premier coaches, able to crank out consistently great teams even without the cream-of-the-crop talent, and then Iowa became very, very ordinary in a very, very big hurry.

Head coach: Kirk Ferentz
10th year: 61-49
13th year overall: 73-70
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 26, Def, 22, DT 4
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Iowa Players
1. DT Mitch King, Sr.
2. DT Matt Kroul, Sr.
3. WR Andy Brodell, Sr.
4. TE Tony Moeaki, Sr.
5. LB A.J. Edds, Jr.
6. C Rafael Eubanks, Jr.
7. QB Jake Christensen, Jr.
8. WR Trey Stross, Jr.
9. OG Seth Olsen, Sr.
10. FS Brett Greenwood, Soph.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 Maine
Sept. 6 FIU
Sept. 13 Iowa State
Sept. 20 at Pitt
Sept. 27 Northwestern
Oct. 4 at Michigan State
Oct. 11 at Indiana
Oct. 18 Wisconsin
Nov. 1 at Illinois
Nov. 8 Penn State
Nov. 15 Purdue
Nov. 22 at Minnesota

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 NIU (in Chic.) W 16-3
Sept. 8
Syracuse W 35-0
Sept. 15 at Iowa State L 15-13
Sept. 22 at Wisconsin L 17-13
Sept. 29
Indiana L 38-20
Oct. 6 at Penn State L 27-7
Oct. 13
Illinois W 10-6
Oct. 20 at Purdue L 31-6
Oct. 27 Mich St W 34-27 2OT
Nov. 3
at Nwestern W 28-17
Nov. 10 Minnesota W 21-16
Nov. 17 Western Mich L 28-19

The biggest problem, at least last year, was a rash of injuries, especially to the skill players and on the offensive line. If you were sitting in the stands and could play wide receiver, there was a spot for you. Now Iowa has a new problem: off-the-field issues.

No fewer than 14 players have gotten picked up and/or charged with a crime in the last year, and now there's the new issue with the investigation into an alleged sexual assault charge involving two former players, keeping the focus off the team and on just about everything other than football, while calling into question just how much control Ferentz has over the program. Worse yet, considering how the handling of former basketball star Pierre Pierce's sexual assault case became a shameful embarrassment to the athletic department and the university, now Ferentz is being scrutinized under a microscope.

Two things can happen when a program is facing a slew of problems like Iowa is dealing with. It can either implode and hit rock-bottom before starting fresh, and that includes a new coaching staff, or everyone can band together and take on the us-against-the-world mentality complete with the nobody-believes-in-us cliché. Iowa seems to be doing the latter.

The schedule is a joke. There's no Ohio State or Michigan, and Wisconsin and Penn State have to come to Iowa City. For good and bad, just about all the key parts are back on offense, the defensive line should be among the best in the Big Ten if the production comes through on the end, and then there’s Ferentz, who is making a point to tighten up the program.

On the field, the biggest boost should come with health. The offense went into the tank last season after an insane problem with injuries, and in all, 31 freshmen ended up being thrown to the wolves on both sides of the ball. Getting players like WRs Andy Brodell and Trey Stross back, along with soon-to-be NFL tight end Tony Moeaki, and several key offensive linemen, things should turn around in a hurry.

This could be one of the Big Ten’s big sleepers, but it needs get its house in order first. Considering the nightmare of this off-season, both in the athletic department and with Mother Nature, Iowa needs something positive to get excited about. This team should come through.

What to watch for on offense: The running back situation. The passing game will go from awful to explosive with the return of Brodell, Stross and Moeaki, but the running game needs to provide some help with Albert Young and Damian Sims gone, and Jevon Pugh leaving. Paki O'Meara was the star of the spring, but he's not going to carry an offense, so it'll be up to JUCO transfer Nate Guillory and former Hawkeye, who later went the JUCO route, Shonn Greene to provide more help.

What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. Mike Humpal, A.J. Edds, and Mike Klinkenborg finished 1-2-3 in tackling last season, and only Edds is back. Jacody Coleman, Jeff Tarpinian, Jeremiha Hunter, and Dezman Moses are all sophomores, they're all athletic, and they're all in desperate need of playing time. If this group doesn't produce, the run defense that allowed just 122 yards per game will be a problem.

The team will be far better if … the O line stays healthy. With the exception of Dace Richardson, everyone who got hurt and missed time last year will be back, and that could make all the difference for the offense. There are reserves, decent battles for each spot, and enough talent to be night-and-day better after the Hawkeyes finished dead last in the Big Ten in sacks allowed and did nothing for the ground game.

The Schedule: There are two nice warm-up scrimmages against Maine and Florida International before the always tough rivalry showdown against Iowa State and a nasty road trip to face an improved Pitt. All things considered, the Big Ten road schedule couldn't be too much easier getting a week off before facing Illinois and going away to deal with Michigan State and Indiana in back-to-back October weeks. If the Hawkeyes are good, they should be able to win at least two of three at home against Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue. With no Ohio State or Michigan, this will be the year to come up with a big rebound.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Andy Brodell. The NFL types are going to like TE Tony Moeaki more, but Brodell is the key to the offense. He's the playmaker who opens things up and can do big things with the ball in his hands. He started out last year with 12 catches in his first three games, and averaged a whopping 14.4 yards per punt return, caught a pass against Wisconsin. Tore a hamstring. Ball game. Now he's back and ready to roll.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DTs Mitch King and Matt Kroul. These two are undersized, but very, very productive. King might be the Big Ten's best tackle, with tremendous quickness and a good rush into the backfield. Kroul, like King, is a former linebacker who doesn't do much to get to the quarterback, but he's tough against the run and a good running mate for King.

Key player to a successful season: Junior RB Nate Guillory. Paki O'Meara might have been a star this spring and will be certain to see plenty of carries, but if the former walk-on is the main man, the ground game is in trouble. Shonn Greene will be a big help, but if Iowa wants to run the ball effectively, it needs to be Guillory, an ultra-productive 5-10, 185-pound JUCO transfer with the talent to be a gamebreaking workhorse.

The season will be a success if ... the Hawkeyes win ten games. Last year's team won six despite all the injuries, all the youth, and all the inexperience. A healthy, veteran team would've beaten Iowa State, Wisconsin, and Western Michigan; that's three wins right there. With the schedule working out so well, there's no reason to shoot for anything lower than nine regular season wins and a bowl victory. No, the team isn't that good, but it's good enough.

Key game: Oct. 4 at Michigan State. The Big Ten road games are at Indiana (winnable), Illinois (fine, chalk that up as a likely loss), and Minnesota (a.k.a. Kinnick Stadium North). If the Hawkeyes can pull off a win against a good Spartan team in East Lansing, and win two out of three at home against Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue (while assuming the Northwestern game is a win), they might be in the thick of the Big Ten title chase.

2007 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Opponents 46 for 271 yards – 27 for 197 yards
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 56 – Iowa 31
- Yards per game: Opponents 351.2 – Iowa 316.3