2010 Iowa Preview – Offense
Iowa QB Marvin McNutt
Iowa QB Marvin McNutt
Posted Jun 30, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Iowa Hawkeye Offense

Iowa Hawkeyes

Preview 2010 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: The offense wasn't consistent, gave the ball away way too often, and sputtered and struggled finishing tenth in the Big Ten in both yards and points, was 99th in the nation in rushing yards, and 83rd in passing efficiency. Three all-star linemen are gone, tight end Tony Moeaki is off to the NFL, and the other parts are back from a group that didn't do enough. So why is there so much excitement? Everyone should be better. QB Ricky Stanzi is a mid-level NFL prospect who has a habit of digging his team into massive holes only to save the day time and again, the running game should be stronger with the return of Jewel Hampton to go with promising sophomores Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher, and the 1-2 receiving punch of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt will be among the Big Ten's most dangerous. The line might have to make a few big replacements, but the blocking wasn't always stellar even with Bryan Bulaga, Kyle Calloway, and Rafael Eubanks paving the way.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi
171-304, 2,417 yds, 17 TD, 15 INT
Rushing: Adam Robinson
181 carries, 834 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos
45 catches, 750 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Ricky Stanzi
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Markus Zusevics
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OG Adam Gettis
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Johnson-Koulianos, 2) WR Marvin McNutt, 3) Stanzi
Strength of the offense: Receivers, Running Back Options
Weakness of the offense: Proven Consistency, Proven Reserve Linemen


Projected Starter: Senior Ricky Stanzi isn't pretty, he's inconsistent, and he's not accurate, but he has built his reputation as a winner and a tremendous leader who has a knack for making things happen. While he completed 56% of his throws for 2,417 yards and 17 touchdowns, he also threw 15 interceptions including five against Indiana in a meltdown … before leading the team back for a 42-24 win. He suffered an ankle injury against Northwestern and missed the Ohio State games, and while it's not quite fair to pin the losses on backup James Vandenberg, the defeats only made Stanzi's reputation as a winner get even bigger. At 6-4 and 230 pounds he has great size and a decent enough arm to get a look in an NFL camp, but he's not mobile and he makes way too many mistakes. Yes, he has a magical ability to lead the team back from the brink, but he also has a habit of digging the hole in the first place. Along with the Indiana game, he stunk against Michigan State, completing 11-of-27 passes for 138 yards and a score, but that one touchdown came at the last second of the final game-winning drive for the win.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore James Vandenberg was thrown into a tough situation, and he came through relatively well. After Ricky Stanzi got hurt, Vandenberg was thrown to the wolves against Northwestern and struggled completing 9-of-27 passes for 82 yards and an interception in the team's first loss. He rebounded with a shockingly-good 20-of-33, 233-yard, two score performance in the heartbreaking loss to Ohio State. While he threw three picks in the loss to the Buckeyes, and he finished the season completing just 48% of his throws with five picks and two touchdown passes, he showed enough upside to be excited about a post-Stanzi future. The 2007 Iowa High School Player of the Year is 6-3 and 212 pounds with a big arm and a nice prep résumé, throwing for 7,709 yards and 93 touchdown passes, and he's now seen as a reliable No. 2.

Can John Wienke get back in the mix? The 6-5, 220-pound sophomore threw for 6,070 yards and 68 touchdown passes in high school, and made 113 tackles and six sacks along with being an Illinois all-state punter. But he didn't do much this offseason and will have to show something special to hold off other prospects.

True freshman A.J. Derby was the team's top recruit … as what? The 6-4, 225-pounder has a huge arm, prototype size, and has just enough athleticism to be dangerous on the move running for 752 yards as a senior, but he might end up moving to either linebacker or safety. He's not quite fast enough to be a top defensive back, but he could be a whale of a weakside linebacker with the toughness to handle the work. However, don't assume he's not the quarterback of the future, and watch out for him to potentially be used in a specialist Tim Tebow-type of role.

Watch Out For … more to be demanded of Stanzi. While it was cute how he was able to lead the team back from the brink time and again, the bar is being raised. He's a legitimate pro prospect, and his performance in the Orange Bowl showed that he can be accurate and more of a caretaker against a top defense.
Strength: A very nice pecking order. Stanzi is the clear No. 1, Vandenberg is a reliable No. 2 who can step in and produce when needed, and there are big, promising emergency options to develop for the near future.
Weakness: Passing efficiency. The Hawkeye quarterbacks threw 19 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions on the way to finishing tenth in the Big Ten and 83rd in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Outlook: As long as Stanzi is healthy, the Hawkeyes have a leader with moxie, a winning résumé, and the respect of the rest of the team. Vandenberg might not have put up strong stats, but he showed enough to assume he can shine if needed, and there are Wienke and Derby might see time in mop-up duty.
Unit Rating: 7.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: While Adam Robinson might be the team's leading returning rusher, he's hardly a lock for the starting job. The 5-9, 205-pound sophomore is extremely quick and has a little bit of power between the tackles, and he's a proven workhorse running for 834 yards and five scores on 181 carries. However, he wore down a bit late, missing the Indiana and Northwestern games, and he was out this offseason recovering from shoulder surgery. He can carry the ball 20 times a game and he can make a few catches here and there, but he won't have to shoulder the whole workload.

Senior Brett Morse is a blaster of a blocker who's always going full-tilt and is a strong runner and special teamer. The 6-3, 238-pounder is a bit tall for the position, but he still gets low and he's great at coming up with big hits while also serving as a decent receiver making eight catches for 34 yards and a score and running five times for 35 yards. The former high school quarterback is athletic, tough, and ultra-reliable.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-11, 206-pound Brandon Wegher was a nice recruit who got the full-court press from Penn State, Nebraska, and Illinois, but no one expected him to be a major factor right away. He stepped in as a true freshman cranking out 641 yards and eight touchdowns with a 118-yard, three score day against Indiana, and a backbreaking 113-yard, one touchdown performance in the Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech. A slasher with good home run hitting speed, he can be used as a dangerous runner inside and out. While he's tough to bring down and he has workhorse potential, he has to stay healthy after getting dinged up last year and missing time this offseason with a shoulder injury. While he only caught 13 passes for 112 yards, he can be used more as a receiver.

Sophomore Jewel Hampton was supposed to step up and shine as another Shonn Greene-like playmaker for the ground game, but he suffered a knee injury and was lost before the year even began. The 5-9, 210-pound sophomore got hurt early enough to give him time to heal and be back before the start of the season, but he's not going to be a workhorse with so many other good options to handle the load. Great as a true freshman running for 463 yards and seven scores, averaging 5.1 yards per carry, he's a quick, darting back who's a perfect fit for what the Iowa offense wants to do. Staying on the field will always be an issue, but he'll put up big numbers whenever he gets his chances.

With everyone out hurt this spring, redshirt freshman Brad Rogers got his chances to show he could carry the ball from time to time and be a powerback. He ran for 1,228 yards in high school, but he was a better defender. At 5-10 and 215 pounds, he's compact, tough, and quick.

6-0, 240-pound junior Wade Leppert is the No. 2 fullback and good special teamer, but he can step in whenever needed and pound away for the ground game. The walk-on hasn't carried the ball yet and he won't get many passes his way, but he's a strong veteran who can produce as a bigger physical presence.

Watch Out For … Hampton. While Robinson and Wegher showed what they could do last year after some nightmare moments with little production, Hampton is the best option if everyone is 100% healthy and ready to roll. He was supposed to be Shonn Green Part 2, and now he'll get his chance.
Strength: Options. With the addition of Hampton, the Hawkeyes have three good rushing options to do more for the ground game. Robinson and Wegher had their moments, and now the running attack might actually be a plus.
Weakness: Steady production. Considering the offensive line was loaded, 1,485 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns were a bit paltry. The line will be a bit worse, and even though the running backs should be better the stats might not be appreciably stronger against the better defensive front sevens.
Outlook: It might not be a return to 2008 when the ground game dominated, but there will be more production with a steady rotation of backs. One will emerge from the bunch and be the go-to guy, but there will be enough good options to go with the hot hand depending on the opponent. The backs might be better than the production.
Unit Rating: 7.5


Projected Starters: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos went from the doghouse to the top receiver job leading the way with 45 catches for 750 yards and two touchdowns averaging 16.7 yards per catch. While the 6-1, 200-pound senior is a deep threat, he doesn't do all the little things right, isn't consistent, and he doesn't always come up with the routine plays, he's deadly whenever he has the ball in his hands. The negatives aren't all that bad and they're easily fixable; he's a next-level talent who manages to blow up enough to be considered the team's No. 1 receiver. Now he has to be more of a well-rounded target and he has to be more of a scoring threat.

Junior Marvin McNutt went from being a dangerous quarterback option to a scary receiver with 6-4, 215-pound size and excellent speed. A natural playmaker, he averaged 19.8 yards per catch making 34 grabs for 674 yards and eight touchdowns including the seven-yarder in the final seconds to beat Michigan State. He scores six times in the final six games, and while he might not be the pure deep threat that Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is, he could turn out to be the team's best receiver with a little more time.

While Tony Moeaki was the NFL-caliber tight end who came up with a good final year, senior Alan Reisner should be more than fine as the replacement. After catching 11 passes for 200 yards as a sophomore, the 6-3, 248-pound senior made 14 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown as a nice No. 2 tight end. However, his production tailed off over the second half of the year a Moeaki became a bigger part of the attack, and even though he only made one catch for nine yards over the final six games, he has the talent to be a 25-grab receiver as well as a decent blocker.

Projected Top Reserves: Veteran Colin Sandeman has been a decent punt returner and a solid backup receiver making 14 catches for 136 yards and a score highlighted by a four-catch, 136-yard, one touchdown performance against Georgia Tech. At 6-1 and 200 pounds, he has decent size and enough speed to stretch the field working behind Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.

A good recruit last year, 6-3, 215-pound sophomore Keenan Davis is a very big, very physical target who caught four passes for 55 yards and a score in a limited role. He'll work behind Marvin McNutt and will get more action in three and four-wide sets with the potential to be a No. 1 target in a little bit of time. Quick for his size with decent deep speed, he can be used as an inside target or at the outside X.

While he's not going to push Allen Reisner out of a job, star recruit C.J. Fiedorowicz will be a dangerous playmaker sooner than later. At 6-7 and 250 pounds, he's a big, athletic target who was a great high school basketball player while finishing his high school career with 183 catches for 3,121 yards and 42 scores. A matchup problem for fast defensive backs because of his size, and for tough linebackers because of his speed, he'll quickly become a good one.

Watch Out For … Fiedorowicz. He's too good a recruit not to be a part of the passing game early on. Considering Iowa isn't afraid to use several tight ends in a rotation, he could quickly become a favorite for the quarterbacks as a dangerous safety valve.
Strength: Deep plays. Johnson-Koulianos averaged 16.7 yards per catch, and McNutt averaged 19.8 yards per grab. That's not going to stop with Ricky Stanzi back at quarterback, and there's a chance the receivers could combine to average a solid 14 yards per catch.
Weakness: Consistency. Both Johnson-Koulianos and McNutt disappeared at times, and while they made enough big plays to be dangerous game-changers, they each have to do more on mid-range plays and for a full sixty minutes.
Outlook: The receiving corps could be phenomenal if Sandeman and Davis can be good parts of the rotation to go along with the scary-good veterans. There will be many home runs, many exciting plays, and many reasons to think the passing game can be better. The tight end situation should be fine if Fiedorowicz and Riesner play up to their potential.
Unit Rating: 8

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: The team needs a new, dominant blocker to work around, and the hope will be that sophomore Riley Reiff can be the star. The 6-6, 300-pound sophomore has the body and he has the frame, but now he has to be steady at left tackle after seeing time at right tackle and at guard. A consistent starter, he might not bury people like Bryan Bulaga, but he'll be an all-star who'll be tough to get around.

Needing to replace Kyle Calloway on the right side will be junior Markus Zusevics , a 6-5, 295-pound junior who saw a little time as a reserve, but will be relatively green to start the season. While he's not a mauler, he's a tough blocker with just enough athleticism to get by on the right side. He's not a left tackle and will need to produce early on to keep the job.

6-3, 300-pound Julian Vandervelde should end up being the anchor at left guard with good size, senior leadership, and the time logged in with 24 starts to know what he's doing. At the very least, he's a very smart, very tough interior blocker who'll be the one the team runs behind for key yards after improving week after week last season.

Junior Adam Gettis has been excellent in the offseasons of the last two seasons and is expected to be more than fine at right guard. While he's tough, he's not all that huge at 6-4 and 280 pounds built more like a tackle. Very athletic with good upside, he should be a fixture for the next two seasons once he gets used to being a regular starter.

There will be a battle for the starting center job with senior Josh Koeppel getting the first look. The 6-2, 273-pounder earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, but he has yet to do much of anything on the field seeing a little bit of time filling in here and there, primarily against Arizona. He has been a part of the rotation, and now he has to use his smarts to be a leader right away for a rebuilding line.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore James Ferentz , the coach's son, was a great recruit who has yet to show anything thanks to a few off-the-field issues, but he's a talented center who'll soon be the starter. He's neck-and-neck with Josh Koeppel for the job, and while he's not huge and doesn't have any experience, he's ready to see the field.

Junior Woody Orne came over from South Dakota State and is expected to be an instant factor at guard. While he won't push out Julian Vandervelde from a spot, he could see time on the right side or would be a valuable fill-in if needed. At 6-5 and 295 pounds he's built like a tackle and is tough like a guard. How athletic is he? He was a good enough high jumper to get into the Iowa high school state championships.

Former defensive tackle Cody Hundertmark moved over to the offensive side and was good enough to grab the No. 2 spot at right guard behind Adam Gettis. The 6-4, 285-pounder is extremely strong, very smart, and tough enough to grow into the job over the next few years. The junior isn't likely to be a starter, but he'll be a valuable reserve.

Watch Out For … Gettis. Has been waiting his turn, and now he should blossom. While a right guard is almost never the key to the front, he'll be a prime blocker who should be a good one over the next few years.
Strength: Iowa. While the Hawkeye lines have gotten by on reputation as much as anything else, the school has become a factory for cranking out all-star talent. No one takes good prospects and coaches them up as well as Kirk Ferentz, and he isn't exactly starting from scratch. The starting five, even with all the big losses, will be more than fine, but …
Weakness: Bryan Bulaga, Rafael Eubanks, and Kyle Calloway. There's going to be some rebounding time after losing three all-stars, is going to hurt. And even with all the talent that was in place, the pass protection was mediocre and the running game was merely average.
Outlook: The line allowed 29 sacks while the running game was tenth in the Big Ten and finished 99th in the nation … even with all the talent that was in place. The line will be good, even with so much rebuilding and replacing, but it might take a while for everything to jell and the backup situation is sketchy going into the year.
Unit Rating: 7

- 2010 Iowa Preview | 2010 Iowa Offense
- 2010 Iowa Defense | 2010 Iowa Depth Chart
- Iowa Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006