Iowa Football: Projecting the Offensive Depth Chart for the Season Opener
Despite a disappointing record, Iowa's offense was actually more consistent than it has been in quite some time in 2010.
Star quarterback Ricky Stanzi was extremely accurate, the running back situation finally sorted itself out at the end, the wide receivers were strong and the offensive line improved greatly as the season progressed.
However, now that Iowa's largest senior class of the Kirk Ferentz era has graduated, it's back to the drawing board for the Iowa offense.
Check out the Hawkeyes' projected offensive depth chart for the season opener.
QB: James Vandenberg
Vandenberg is best known by Big Ten fans—and Iowa fans, for that matter—as the freshman who nearly led his team to a victory against Ohio State in Columbus while making his first collegiate start.
Vandenberg was far from perfect in that game, but showed the types of skills necessary to be a Big Ten quarterback.
He has a very strong arm, good leadership skills and raving reviews from the coaches. Iowa seems to be in good hands at quarterback for the next two years, but now Vandenberg needs to prove himself on the field.
Backups: John Wienke and AJ Derby
RB: Marcus Coker
Coker was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, but after an injury in fall camp last season, his production was limited during the first half of the year.
However, after Iowa’s problems at running back, which saw three layers leave the team or get kicked off, Coker received much more responsibility later in the season.
After an incredible Insight Bowl performance in which he rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri, Coker will be expected to carry the load for the Hawkeyes this season.
He’s a big, bruising back who still has speed and quickness, and he runs a lot like former Iowa star Shonn Greene. He still needs to prove he can be consistent, but Coker looks like a star in the making for the Hawkeyes.
Backup: James White
FB: Brad Rogers
Rogers will be one of the most unheralded players on the Iowa offense, namely because most teams don’t play with fullbacks anymore, but he should do a good job this season.
He’s a versatile player who is typically called on in goal line and short-yardage situations. However, he’s also an outstanding blocker.
Rogers may be asked to run the ball more this season in order to allow Marcus Coker occasional breaks, as the Hawkeyes will be very inexperienced at running back this year.
Backup: Jonathan Gimm
WR: Marvin McNutt
Since transferring from quarterback to wide receiver between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, McNutt has become a star for the Hawkeyes.
With a big frame and natural athletic ability, McNutt has been known for his acrobatic catches and consistency while in Iowa City.
This year, he will be James Vandenberg’s main target and will lead a very young receiving corps. He should be in line for All-Big Ten honors and possibly All-American honors as well.
Backup: Don Shumpert
WR: Keenan Davis
Davis was a very highly touted recruit coming out of high school, and while he has shown he potential in his two years in Iowa City, he has yet to show his full potential.
He has a very big frame, which allows him to be strong while catching the ball and after the catch.
Davis was very impressive in Iowa’s spring game, making a few acrobatic catches. Now it’s time to show his improvement in the fall.
Backup: Kevonte Martin-Manley
TE: Brad Herman
Iowa has always prided itself in having a “next man in” type of team, and that has been the most evident at tight end.
Iowa City is a tight end factory, and now Herman hopes to be the next successful tight end to come out of the Hawkeye program in taking over for Allen Reisner.
Since Iowa employs a number of two-tight end sets, Herman already has plenty of experience on the field. And as a senior, he’s ready to be the Hawkeyes’ featured tight end.
Backup: CJ Fiedorowicz
LT: Riley Reiff
A three-year starter Reiff is considered one of the top offensive tackles in the country and could be a top 15 NFL draft pick if he decides to leave school early.
With a huge frame, solid athleticism and a lot of experience, Reiff is the prototypical Kirk Ferentz offensive lineman and should be a star at the next level.
Reiff will likely be on many preseason first team All-Big Ten teams and could make a number of All-American lists as well.
Backup: Matt Tobin
LG: Adam Gettis
Although Gettis was listed as Iowa’s starter going into the fall, he started only two games due to injury.
This year, the senior is healthy and should be a staple on the Hawkeyes’ offensive line.
Gettis represents Iowa’s “next man in” policy very well, as he has slowly worked his way up the depth chart throughout his career in Iowa City.
Backup: Woody Orne
C: James Ferentz
After a troublesome start at Iowa, Ferentz has matured and become a solid player on the Hawkeyes’ offensive line.
He got the start at center at the beginning of last season and looks to be Iowa’s future at that position for the next two seasons.
Ferentz improved greatly over the course of the last season and could end up on some All-Big Ten lists by the season’s end.
Backup: Conor Boffeli
RG: Nolan MacMillan
MacMillan started for Iowa at the beginning of last season, but did not play for a majority of the year because of injuries.
This year, he figures to have a clear shot at the starting job.
Only a sophomore, MacMillan is very talented—he was ranked as a fourth team freshman All-American last year by Phil Steele despite his injury—and should have a presence on the Iowa offensive line for the next three years.
Backup: Brandon Scherff
RT: Markus Zusevics
Zusevics showed arguably the most improvement of any Iowa offensive lineman last season and will be a leader on the offensive line this season.
Like many of his teammates, especially his counterparts on the offensive line, he slowly worked his way up the depth chart during his career at Iowa and now could have an All-Big Ten season ahead of him.
Backup: Brett Van Sloten