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  1. #16

    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnyhawkeye View Post
    I am adding Clayborn and Ballard to this list. We played all of the mentioned players early and reaped the benefits for years to come. Let's do it again.
    Note that the higher recruiting-rated players performed better, sooner. This just shows that while recruiting rankings are a decent predictor of how good a player will be, they are an even better predictor of how quickly that player will be able to help a team.

    Doesn't guarantee anything, of course. But historically Iowa has had to build its defensive lines from scratch over a period of years, converting smaller players from other positions into high performing DTs (King, Kroul, Klug, Babineaux, Roth, Kampman). It's only relatively recently that they've recruited players who actually were highly ranked and had the size to play as DTs and DEs coming in right away (Clayborn, Ballard, Davis, and especially these most recent recruits.)

    I'm hopeful this will also help in the future, as this long develop strategy really can derail a team for years if players don't pan out for whatever reason.

  2. #17
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    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    I think momentum will be a huge factor this year. The schedules sets up for the Hawkeyes to build really positive momentum the first six weeks, and they need to capitalize. If Septembers sees the line units can gel, a RB or 2 stepping up, and a couple early dominant wins, the team could overachieve and win 9+ games. If September sees the line units falter, RB by bad committee, and a couple of frustrating losses, the team could spiral down and lose 6 games.

  3. #18
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    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by thejumper5 View Post
    I think momentum will be a huge factor this year. The schedules sets up for the Hawkeyes to build really positive momentum the first six weeks, and they need to capitalize. If Septembers sees the line units can gel, a RB or 2 stepping up, and a couple early dominant wins, the team could overachieve and win 9+ games. If September sees the line units falter, RB by bad committee, and a couple of frustrating losses, the team could spiral down and lose 6 games.
    i think you're 100% correct. but i think the ceiling is lower than that. 9 at best case scenario.

  4. #19
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    Re:Key to the 2012 Season

    I think the d-line will be adequate at worst, to above average, and possibly a strength as the year progresses. They showed a lot of growth last year and some guys have real motors (Bigach & Alvis) and will make plays. They did a pretty decent job of contain last year, but will need to provide that push more regularly. The back 7 should be fantastic and hopefully will create a lot of turnovers.
    I'm jonesing for some football! The DVR's from last season aren't cutting it anymore.

  5. #20

    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    As OP notes, the DL will likely be more than serviceable. With a talented back-7 to complement this DL, the defense should manage respectable middle-of-the-pack (4-7 place) B10 standings. The D will NOT however be good enough to carry Iowa to victories, equal parts of the load must be shouldered by the Offense and STs.

    On offense, Vandy has enough talent around him (as can be surmised, I am not too worried about the RB spot) to sleepwalk to 7-wins. But every year, there are a 1-3 games where the QB and FG-kicker can manufacture wins based on 1-2 clutch plays. If Vandenberg and Meyer deliver, I expect the unexpected (10+ wins).

    So individual keys: Vandy, Meyer
    Team keys: balanced load sharing by O, D, ST (yet none have to be superlative)

  6. #21
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    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    back 7s effectiveness is predicated on the front 4. remember during greenway's last yr it seemed like he struggled at times. it was because his dl struggled keeping blockers from getting to the second level. hopefully a few more blitzes or press coverage can help that but those things also open up holes. it is like swinging for a homerun. yea you hit some out but you also swing and miss more because of it. need the dl to step up or we will struggle. they need to play at an average level and then the above average back 7 can take over. but if they can be single blocked it will be a long time on defense.

  7. #22

    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Love the optimism, but this defense is still a year away IMO.

  8. #23
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    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthFlorida View Post
    Love the optimism, but this defense is still a year away IMO.
    It only needs to be 5 games away. Don't discount the gift Iowa has in this schedule.

    Staying healthy is the true key to this season. If the top performers are identified early and given significant playing time, and they are still able to take the field by the time we visit Sparty, we will see some highly competitive football.

    If the injury bug, especially on D, bites then all bets are off

  9. #24

    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthFlorida View Post
    Love the optimism, but this defense is still a year away IMO.
    The defense is indeed a year away from being lights out good but should manage at least a median (B10) performance in 2012. If Iowa's O, D, and ST all place in the 4-6 range as individual units, the final team standing will likely be better than just the sum of the parts. That's where I am hanging my hat on.

    (Aside: When the D is rolling in 2013, let's hope the QB position has at least a serviceable (Vandy type) guy. Would suck to have the O out of sync when the D is good like in 2010).

  10. #25

    Re: Key to the 2012 Season

    Well, after watching the Pitt game and the Michigan game from last year again, JVB better have eyes in the back of his head as our future LT was whiffing alot in both games. On one of the lists, I had Scherff being a key to the offense in 2012 because LT is an important piece of the puzzle. Here's hoping he shows tremendous growth, as you are all alone out there with players that typically have some speed.

    There were alot of mistakes being made in both those games. I rewinded a couple of times just to see what happened, and it was ugly. The good thing, when he gets to you, you are done for that play. He moves you in the run game, but he certainly whiffed on a few too.

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