The Hawkeyes will look to continue their late season success in 08, stomping Rival Minnesota in the final game at the Metrodome and the Big Ten’s only Bowl win against South Carolina.
This could be a Year the Hawkeyes creep into the national radar and make a Big Ten title run. Iowa returns a solid core and a talented recruiting class as well as a new WR coach.
However, it will be a tough task to try and fill the shoes of Shonn Greene, the nation’s leading rusher last year. The Hawks have had their offseason off the field issues as well and have made national headlines to the dismay of Kirk Ferentz.
Line: It all starts up front and the Hawkeyes are returning key linemen three starters from last season: Tackles Baluga and Calloway, and Guard Vandervelde.
The Starting line should be Baluga, Calloway, Richardson, Vandervelde, and possibly Frentz or Kopel to fill an open center position.
WR/TE: Iowa welcomes new WR coach, “Soup” Campbell, who looks to improve the Hawkeyes' passing game. Returning wide outs Darrel Johnson-Koulianos, Tress Stross, and Marvin McNutt have size and speed to play with anyone.
The Hawks also have Colin Sandeman and incoming four star recruit Keenan Davis waiting in the wings. Iowa hopes to have a healthy Moeki, who, when healthy, is one of the nation’s best pass catching tight ends.
QB: Ricky Stanzi will be taking snaps. The returning Junior should gain from a year's experience and snaps with the first team. Stanzi has some big games under his belt and looks to pick up his game.
He has the tools to work with.
RB: The biggest question, who will step up in place of Shonn Greene?
Jewel Hampton is the man asked to fill those shoes. Hampton has an ability to hit the hole quickly and is tough to bring down in the open field. Hampton had 500 yards rushing behind Greene last season.
Look for Red-shirt Freshman Jeff Brinson and highly recruited incoming freshman Brandon Wegher to contribute this year as well.
D Line: Iowa Returns both DE, loses both DT. Clayborn and Ballard are the returning starting DEs. Both had great seasons last season and will continue to improve.
DT will be by committee this season. Kroul and King will be missed. Karl Klug will look to fill those shoes. Mike Daniels is the other DT out of spring.
He is said to be very capable as well and gained some experience last season.
Edds, Angerer, and Hunter. These three starters will be one of the best units in the country. Backup Jeff Tarpinian has a shot for the starting weak side spot. Iowa has four solid backups in Tarpinian, Coleman, Johnson, and Neilson.
DB: Return three of four starters. Greenwood, Sash and Spievey anchor the backfield. Sash is a playmaker and had five picks last year. Norm Parker has said that Amari Spievey has a chance to be the best cornerback he has ever coached at Iowa!
The Hawkeyes have a tough Big Ten schedule, facing: Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State all on the road. They do have a good chance to go undefeated at home.
Iowa will play three prime time games this year at Penn State, Michigan State, and home against Michigan. The '09 Hawkeyes have high expectations and a lot of talent.
Iowa is returning to artificial surface this year, which should be to their advantage with their speed. Look for the Hawkeyes to be Bowling again in January 2010.
The Hawkeyes have received some bad news this past week. First Jewel Hampton the man replacing Shonn Greene could be out for the season with a knee injury. Look for Jeff Brinson to be the starting RB in the fall. Also Lineman Julian Vandervelde well be undergoing surgery and there is no timetable for his return. Linebacker Jacody Coleman will be tranfering do to family issues. The hawkeyes have depth at both the linebacker and Offensive line but the injury to Hampton could spell troubles to the Hawkeyes. Hampton is schduled to have an MRI done this week.