Wine Online: Defense Could Be The Difference...Again - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
Football hawkeyesports.com
Wine Online: Defense Could Be The Difference...Again
Iowa's 2009 defensive unit appears solid, very solid
Fans of Coach Kirk Ferentz's defense can check the Hawkeyes out for themselves on Saturday when Iowa stages its annual 'Kids at Kinnick' event.  Gates open at 11 and the team's practice starts at noon.
Fans of Coach Kirk Ferentz's defense can check the Hawkeyes out for themselves on Saturday when Iowa stages its annual 'Kids at Kinnick' event. Gates open at 11 and the team's practice starts at noon.
Football Home

HEADLINES
Worth the Hype

Media Days Indicate Camp is Near

Scherff Twitter Q-and-A Recap

RELATED LINKS
Follow all of the college football action at CollegeSports.com

Email this to a friend


Aug. 12, 2009

Wednesday, Aug. 12, Practice Photo Gallery (a.m.)  | Video interview with B. Bulaga

  • 24 Hawkeyes to Watch (2009-10 season)
  • 2009 Fall Preseason Camp Central
  • 2009 Football Media Fact Book
  • 2009 Football Media Guide
  • 2008 Highlight Video
  • New and renewal season ticket customers: Purchase yours online!
  • Iowa and the Big Ten Network
  • gohawks.com
  • Iowa Football wallpaper



    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In the 10 years Kirk Ferentz has been head football coach, Iowa has generally had good defenses. Under coordinator Norm Parker and his staff, some have been very good.

    Perhaps the best was in 2004. That's the season every scholarship tailback went down with an injury, leaving the Hawkeyes without a running game. A stout defense was critical in a Big Ten championship and a lot of narrow victories (three by two points each), plus a five-point win in the memorable Capital One bowl.


    Last year's defense was very good. It did not allow a touchdown the first three games and was a big reason the Hawkeyes won six of their last seven games, including a 31-10 rout of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

    Final 2008 Big Ten statistics showed Iowa first in scoring defense and second in both total defense and rushing defense. The Hawkeyes' pass defense ranked No. 1 in interceptions (23) and touchdowns allowed (9).

    One of the reasons Iowa is ranked in the 2009 pre-season polls is because it returns eight starters from that very good defensive unit of a year ago. Yet there is something unusual about this defense: The pre-season two-deep includes only two senior starters, linebackers A.J. Edds and Pat Angerer, and there is only one senior, tackle Travis Meade, on the second unit.

    Most exceptional defenses are veteran, which means they have a lot of seniors. Can the Hawkeyes field a top-flight unit with so few seniors? They did a year ago, with only three senior starters. Tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul, along with corner Bradley Fletcher, all made their last season of college football their best. They provided the leadership and helped create the chemistry that resulted in nine victories.

    This season the spotlight is on Edds and Angerer, along with junior cornerback Amari Spievey and junior ends Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard. If they stay healthy and play well the Hawkeyes could have another very good defense and perhaps another very good season.

    On offense, the Hawkeyes are a little more seasoned, with five senior starters -- guard Dace Richardson, tackle Kyle Calloway, center Rafael Eubanks, tight end Tony Moeaki and wide receiver Trey Stross. On the No. 2 unit are guards Dan Doering and Andy Kuempel. The offense will get a huge boost if Moeaki enjoys an injury-free season. A tremendous talent, he's had a series of ailments disrupt his career at Iowa.





    One of the reasons Iowa is ranked in the 2009 pre-season polls is because it returns eight starters from that very good defensive unit of a year ago. Yet there is something unusual about this defense: The pre-season two-deep includes only two senior starters, linebackers A.J. Edds and Pat Angerer, and there is only one senior, tackle Travis Meade, on the second unit.


    A year ago at this time there was concern about Iowa's running game. Shonn Greene solved that dilemma with a breakout season that won him the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the best running back in college football. Green skipped his senior season and is now playing in the NFL for the New York Jets. But Jewel Hampton performed well as a first-year freshman and actually makes the running back position look better than it did last August when here was much uncertainty at that spot.

    Another offensive positive is quarterback, which was not settled until the fifth game last season. Ricky Stanzi won the job and was a big reason the Hawkeyes finished the season with a flourish. Now a junior, he is bigger, stonger and more experienced and has a firm hold on No. 1.

    There is no reason to think the kicking games won't be at least as good as a year ago, when they were an asset. Junior Ryan Donahue returns to do the punting. Junior Daniel Murray and sophomore Trent Mossbrucker are back to handle placements and kickoffs.

    This Hawkeye team does not have an abundance of seniors, but it does have potential star power. Five players are on national watch lists, meaning they have the potential to be the best at their position. They are Spievey, Angerer, Donohue, Moeaki and junior offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga.

    Every season has its surprises, sometimes big ones. No one saw the Shonn Greene story coming a year ago. It was the kind of development that makes college football so much fun. He joined Brad Banks, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders and Robert Gallery as players who have unexpectedly burst into national prominence during the Ferentz era.

    Is there such a Hawkeye on this season's horizon? Hey, it's happened before and will surely happen again, maybe this year.

  • Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago