With Iowa’s practice set to begin this week, the first depth chart of the season was released as part of the Hawkeye media guides handed out at Big Ten Media Days.
Depth charts this far out before the first game don’t mean a great deal. They prove as more of a litmus test or benchmark to get the expectation ball rolling.
A quick glance of the chart reveals nothing shockingly out of the ordinary. A closer look hints at a few interesting things to keep an eye on one practice hits full stride.
WR: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (Sr.) or Colin Sandeman (Sr.)
LT: Riley Reiff (So.), Matt Tobin (So.)
LG: Julian Vandervelde (Sr.), Woody Orne (Jr.)
C: Josh Koeppel (Sr.) or James Ferentz (So.), Conor Boffeli (Fr.)
RG: Adam Gettis (Jr.), Cody Hundertmark (Jr.)
RT: Markus Zusevics (Jr.), Brett Van Sloten (Fr.)
TE: Allen Reisner (Sr.), Brad Herman (Jr.)
WR: Marvin McNutt (Jr.), Keenan Davis (So.)
QB: Ricky Stanzi (Sr.), James Vandenberg (So.)
RB: Adam Robinson (So.), Brandon Wegher (So.), Jewel Hampton (So.)
FB: Brett Morse (Sr.), Wade Leppert (Jr.)
PK: Daniel Murray (Sr.) or Trent Mossbrucker (So.)
DE: Adrian Clayborn (Sr.), Lebron Daniel (Jr.)
DT: Karl Klug (Sr.), Thomas Nardo (Jr.)
DT: Christian Ballard (Sr.), Mike Daniels (Jr.)
DE: Broderick Binns (Jr.), Joe Forgy (Jr.)
LB: Tyler Nielsen (Jr.), Ross Petersen (Sr)
LB: Jeff Tarpinian (Sr.), Bruce Davis (Jr.)
LB: Jeremiha Hunter (Sr.), Troy Johnson (Sr.)
CB: Shaun Prater (Jr.), Greg Castillo (So.)
FS: Brett Greenwood (Sr.), Kyle Steinbrecher (Jr.), Jack Swanson (So.)
SS: Tyler Sash (Jr.), Tom Donatell (Jr.), Nick Nielsen (So.)
CB: Micah Hyde (So.), Jordan Bernstine (Jr.)
P: Ryan Donahue (Sr.), Eric Guthrie (Jr.)
As the chart might suggest, the competition between Hyde and Bernstine will be a fun one to keep an eye on this season.
Heading into the start of practice, Hyde appears to have the starting nod at the right corner position. This is partly because of Bernstine’s mishap over the summer, as well as Hyde's strong performance on the field toward the end of the season.
Bernstine also has the disadvantage of trying to return after last year’s injury. He has some work ahead of him to earn the starting job.
The linebacker position is noticeably thick with team veterans, and should produce more position battles to keep an eye on.
Troy Johnson is listed as a backup, which might surprise a few. Sporting News had labeled him Iowa's "next big thing" in their preseason preview magazine. Johnson was Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week during Iowa’s victory over Minnesota in 2009, and was thought to be a possibility for Pat Angerer's open spot.
Instead, Tarpinian takes over for Angerer heading into camp and Johnson lines up behind Hunter.
A few names on the chart might be unfamiliar for some, like Joe Forgy. Forgy is the backup to starting defensive end Binns and was an honorable mention All-American junior college transfer prior to using his redshirt last season.
Forgy could start against Eastern Illinois as the result of Binns’ one-game suspension for his drunken driving incident. Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker might decide to go with a more-experienced Daniel for the start in the opening game, but Forgy looks to be the next man in.
Unlike last year, Vandenberg starts the season as the clear-cut backup for the Hawkeyes at quarterback. Throughout much of the 2009 season, Vandenberg wore the co-backup label with fellow freshman John Wienke.
The first two-deep of the season helps to draw a map of what to look for this year, but will evolve on a weekly basis from here on out as practice swings into high gear.