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Weak-side End: Lebron Daniel/Dominic Alvis, backed up by Joe Forgy.
Weak-side Tackle: Thomas Nardo, backed up by Dominic Alvis/Carl Davis.
Strong-side Tackle: Mike Daniels, backed up by Joe Gaglione.
Strong-side End: Broderick Binns, backed up by Steve Bigach.
Breakdown: This unit worries me a lot. I have heard a ton of bad feedback coming out of Fort Kinnick this summer. In fact, about the only universally positive thing I've heard about the defensive line is that Mike Daniels is playing like a senior, which is hardly surprising, but nice to hear.
I haven't heard a thing about Binns, who is also loading up for his final year. In his case, no news could be good or bad.
Lebron Daniel waited behind Adrian Clayborn for three years, and the question was, was Clayborn that good, or Daniel that mediocre? The job was Daniel's to lose as the Hawks headed into camp this season. From what I have heard, Daniel has held on to it, less because of anything he has done and more because nobody pushed him.
Meanwhile, I have heard nothing but good things about Alvis for two seasons, and that continued through spring practices. He has been a strong-side end through much of his career, but he entered fall camp as the starting weak-side tackle.
Unfortunately, he missed a large portion of camp with undisclosed injuries, and now he seems to be splitting his time between weak-side end and backup weak-side tackle.
Personally, I prefer him at end. Given his history of injuries, his 250-pound body would be finished by the Big Ten season if he lined up inside. In short, I wouldn't be surprised if Alvis wrestles the starting weak-side end spot away from Daniel by the time Iowa suits up to play Pitt.
Then there is Carl Davis. Iowa needs the 315-pound redshirt freshman this season, and he has reputedly not stepped up. Reports floating out of multiple open practices were that the 275-pound James Ferentz consistently pushed Davis all over the field.
Bigach has been working both inside and out, and though I hear he is better inside, the coaches apparently like him as an end.
Finally, I think Thomas Nardo is something like Tyler Luebke on the 2004 team. Luebke knew his role, and as he was surrounded by multiple All-Conference linemen, his weaknesses were never exposed. If Daniels, Binns, etc. step up, Nardo could have a productive season. If not, teams will run right at him.
One other player of note is true freshman Darian Cooper. Usually, Iowa likes to redshirt its linemen, but I have heard that regardless what the depth chart says, Cooper has been one of the Hawks' three best inside men. This says a great deal about both Cooper's talents and the veterans not showing up.
Look for Cooper to burn his redshirt.