March 21, 2007

A closer look at the new two deeps

While the Iowa Hawkeyes had two practices earlier this month before spring break, the real meat and potatoes of spring ball begins this week when they put the pads on for the first time. With the new two deeps released this week, we take a closer look at the 2007 Hawkeyes.

Offensive Line

LT - Dace Richardson, Kyle Calloway
LG - Andy Kuempel, Dan Doering
C - Rafael Eubanks, Rob Bruggeman
RG - Wes Aeschliman, Travis Meade
RT - Seth Olsen, Tyler Blum or Alex Kanellis

Analysis: Three players return with starting experience in Eubanks, Olsen, and Richardson, so it's no surprise to see them listed on the first team. They will definitely be pushed for their spots, but the real battle seems to be for the other two starting jobs. Olsen has shown the ability to play right tackle and right guard, so his position could depend on which five players separate themselves from the others, although right now things are pointing to tackle for him. Probably the two most interesting names in the two deeps at OL are Olsen's backups in Tyler Blum and Alex Kanellis, who are both going through their first spring at the position. Blum is a former DE and TE, who has really filled out and is up around 290 pounds, while Kanellis, who played DE his first two years, will bring the physical type of play the coaches are looking for from their offensive line. Both will probably take their lumps learning the position, but the coaches wouldn't have moved them if they didn't think they might have a chance to make an impact. Backup center Rob Bruggeman, who was among the top 7-8 offensive lineman on the team last year according to Kirk Ferentz, could also play guard and compete against Kuempel, Aeschliman, Meade, Doering, etc. Overall, the line has a lot of versatility with several guys who have played multiple positions on the OL, so as usual there could be some moving around before the coaches settle on their top five.


Receiver

SE - Andy Brodell, James Cleveland
WR - Dominique Douglas, Trey Stross
TE - Tony Moeaki, Brandon Myers

Analysis: Dominique Douglas and Andy Brodell are back as starters at wide receiver and both look to build upon their success last year. For Douglas, it will be his first go around in spring ball, as he emerged onto the scene last season as a true freshman and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup. Brodell, who had 318 yards and three touchdowns in Iowa's last two games, looks to carry over that confidence and productivity to 2007. Trey Stross and James Cleveland lead a large and talented group looking to make their own impact on the two deeps. Cleveland is kind of the forgotten man at times, but the Texas native is a smooth receiver who would have played last year as a true freshman before academics held him back a little. Now that everything is in order in that department, he is ready to jump into the rotation. Anthony Bowman, Paul Chaney, and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos are all in the mix behind the top four. At tight end, Tony Moeaki returns and will get his chance at the No. 1 spot with the graduation of Scott Chandler. Moeaki has shown flashes at times while working at the No. 2 TE the last couple of years and definitely has the potential, so it will be interesting to see him step up this season. A solid No. 2 behind Moeaki is Brandon Myers, who has played a lot of special teams his first two years, and now gets to show some of his pass catching skills. Iowa loves to use multiple tight ends, so it will be important for a third option to step up from the group that includes Michael Sabers, Kyle Spading, and Lucas Cox, among others.

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