Last week, the Iowa Hawkeyes and head coach Kirk Ferentz wound up spring practice with an open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium.
There weren't too many huge surprises on the depth chart (via Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette), but the tenor of the spring game, as well as the Des Moines open practice, seemed to indicate that every position was open for competition.
That competition will open up more this summer, and some names will climb up and onto the depth chart by the time Iowa takes the field on Aug. 31 against the Northern Illinois Huskies.
The following will look at five players who will be in the two-deep depth chart by the time the season starts.
Trinca-Pasat started 12 games last year but missed spring ball due to a shoulder injury.
He was arguably Iowa's best lineman early in the year, but he hit a wall in November. Ferentz described him as having "dead legs" (via Hawkeyenation.com), which isn't surprising given his relative youth and inexperience combined with the number of downs he played.
Look for Trinca-Pasat to move back into the starting position this summer.
Also, look for him to have a more complete year as he is not only older and a veteran, but Iowa will have at least two other defensive tackles to rotate into the game.
In effect, Trinca-Pasat will bring his September game into November.
In 2010, Nolan MacMillan looked to be the next great Iowa lineman.
Like Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff before him, the 6'6" MacMillan, then a freshman, started six games at right guard. With his height, an eventual move outside seemed obvious.
Then Macmillan struggled with injuries and played sparingly through the final half of 2010. Nevertheless, via his Hawkeyesports.com profile, he was still named to multiple freshman All-America teams.
He missed 2011 with a sports hernia, a year in which, according to Kirk Ferentz (via CBS Sports), "nothing went right for him."
Hopes were high that he would return to form in 2012, but he played sparingly, and he looked rusty when he did play.
He once again missed 2013 spring practice with injuries.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine him becoming a major contributor at this point, but he can add solid depth if he can get healthy.
The final spring depth chart had Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock sharing duties as the first-string tailback with Jordan Canzeri running with the second-stringers.
However, Canzeri was one of the all-stars of both the Des Moines open practice and the spring game. Moreover, Bullock (via Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette) said that though he is officially listed as a running back, "when practice is (going) and no media around, I’m always around the receivers."
This would explain Bullock's uniform number change from No. 32 to the more wide receiver-friendly No. 5.
Look for Bullock to make a full-time move to wide receiver this summer.
Canzeri and Weisman will share No. 1 duties, which will leave Malloy as the No. 2 back.
Malloy is officially a walk-on, but he would have had a scholarship if not for a late-high school run-in with the law.
In other words, Malloy is scholarship talent, and that talent will push him onto the depth chart.
Collins has yet to appear on a two-deep depth chart, but according to various sources—here is one via Iowa blog Blackheartgoldpants.com—he is regularly on the field with the top two units.
Hawkeyes Gamefilm on Hawkeyenation.com describes him as:
Undersized but is an high motor, high energy player. He flies around the field and has excellent closing speed. He looks a little raw as far as instincts and finding the football at times, but there’s definitely no lack of effort from him.
Fast and high-motor is exactly the type of linebacker needed in this world of no-huddle, spread, offense-heavy football.
Look for Collins to improve upon those instincts this summer and begin the season as the No. 2 strong-side linebacker.
Last season, Iowa wide receivers were really bad.
According to Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Hawkeyes receivers dropped eight passes against Iowa State. Against Michigan, receivers only caught two passes for seven yards.
New receivers coach Bobby Kennedy described his crew (via the Des Moines Register) as, "probably a little embarrassed about last year."
A large part of the issue was the transition from old offensive coordinator, (OC) Ken O'Keefe-style receivers, to new OC Greg Davis receivers.
According to recruiting analyst Rob Howe of Hawkeyeinsider.com (per HawkCentral.com),
They are trying to add a different kind of receiver. From what you saw with (offensive coordinator) Greg Davis last year, they are looking for guys that can catch short passes and make plays with the ball in their hands. … Yards after catch.
Enter JUCO-transfer Damond Powell.
Last season, playing for Snow College in Utah, Powell led the country (JUCO ranks) in yards per catch (30.00), was third in total yards (1,231) and touchdowns (14) and was fourth in yards per game (102.6).
Look for Powell to grab immediate playing time and possibly a starting slot receiver position.