The Iowa offense looked explosive at points, and they finished on a high note, outscoring the Iowa defense 61-37.
The offense rotated through three groups of offense after each possession and each performed on a high level, although the group led by C.J. Beathard scored two of the three touchdowns scored on the day.
The defense looked like a typical Iowa defense, with strong offensive line play and disciplined linebackers. The Iowa linebackers should be the strongest unit on the defense and showed that today with solid play from Christian Kirksey and Nico Law.
RB Jordan Canzeri was the most explosive of the backs and had two huge runs of 20+ yards. Canzeri is coming off of a torn ACL, but he is running with great cutting ability and may make this a three horse race also at the running back posision.
FB Adam Cox really looked great catching passes out of the backfield. He had two routes in which his speed as a fullback was showcased. The redshirt freshman looked very crisp running routes and I wouldn’t doubt if he got some serious playing time, he fits in well with the offense.
QB C.J. Beathard really showed that this is a three horse race. He looked really good in the pocket and more comfortable than the others. He wasn’t the best at rolling out, but just as a pure pocket passer was the best of the group.
WR Tevaun Smith – Iowa really lacked speed on the outside last season and it looks like they’ve found it with Smith. On multiple occasions he burned Iowa cornerbacks only to either drop the pass or have it fly over his head. Regardless his speed was very impressive.
WR Blake Haluska– The sophomore out of Carrol, Iowa may have earned himself some playing time after some superb plays out of the slot position. With Kevonte Martin-Manley now the No. 1 receiver, it gives players like Haluska a chance to get on the field. I’m not sure how much playing time he’ll receive, but out of this group of receivers he definitely has a chance.
DL Carl Davis – The guy is just a really big player. Plays his size and has the strength to back it up, he was in the backfield multiple times
Some likable things:
The first thing I noticed was the switch up in the offensive line. Jordan Walsh was in there with the starting offensive line. Walsh filled in last year after some injuries and looked more and more comfortable as the starts piled up. He played like a starter today and dealt very well with Darian Cooper and Carl Davis.
Andrew Donnal was listed as the starter coming into the day on the two-deep, but Donnal spent his time running on the offensive line with Beathard playing left tackle rather than right guard.
The quarterback rotation was a great way to give good looks to all of the candidates. All of them had their moments, and none of them really took the lead in the battle for starting quarterback.
If I had to list them from best to worst performances it would be Beathard, Rudock and then Sokol. I think if any of them eliminated themselves it would be Sokol, he got really flustered in the second quarter and had multiple passes tipped and one stripped by the defense.
The punting on the day was great; Kornbrath looks like he finally will be able to kick with some consistency. Last season he showed flashes of great punting but never really was able to consistently show that ability.
Some question marks:
Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock looked pretty average during the spring game. I’m not sure if that was a product of how the spring game was conducted or whether they just played average. Weisman didn’t have any plays longer than four or five yards and Bullock didn’t spend any time split out like we expected.
The three-yard out seemed to dominate the beginning of the game but as we progressed Iowa became a little more aggressive which opened up the entire offense.
In the second half the Iowa offense took advantage of the scoring system and had multiple “explosive plays” (run of 12+ yards or pass of 16+ yards) to give them the advantage over the defense.
The tight end situation seemed odd on Saturday with Ray Hamilton seemingly taking more snaps than C.J. Fiedorowicz. Fiedorowicz is coming off of a disappointing junior season and elected to come back for one more season, but I’m not sure his numbers can get much better, especially with this much competition at the position.