2010 Breakout Hawkeyes
by Patrick Webb
I am going to take a stab at breakout players at almost every position. I am going to exclude QB,FB, PK, Punter and the returners. Some of these guys are pretty obvious candidates and some of them are not. The beauty of Iowa football is that someone always rises from nowhere to take a prominent role.
Tailback– Brandon Wegher: I am not necessarily expecting Brandon to “carry the mail” so to speak, but I am expecting him to be the big play threat at this position. I think he can make the “game changing” plays for Iowa this season as a runner, receiver, and returner. I also expect him to challenge to maintain his role as the TD leader at the running back position. He should make the traditional leap from year one to year two in which the game slows down and a player is more physically mature.
Wide Receiver– Keenan Davis: Could emerge as the natural replacement for Trey Stross. Has a ton of natural ability, great size and a full year under his belt to adjust for the speed of the game. He is another player who may get a shot to impact on the return side of the game. He must have the coaches’ confidence as he was learning multiple spots in the offense during the spring.
Tight End– Brad Herman: based on his performance last season and his effort in the spring drills and scrimmage I am expecting Herman to hold off Super Frosh CJ Fiedorowicz and maintain most of the reps as the number two TE, which is basically a starter in Iowa’s offense. Herman is a very fluid athlete who looks very natural catching the ball, and seems to be a match-up nightmare for linebackers. He is not known for his blocking and was replaced often last season in favor of Andy Kuempel. However he looked fairly physical in the spring drills and hasn’t had the benefit of a red-shirt year. Entering his third year on campus I think he will have a very solid season.
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Offensive Line– Adam Gettis: Gettis was going to be my pick last season but I never got the article written. Gettis started the UNI game and was basically the seventh o-lineman last season following the UNI game. He has consistently been singled out by the coaching staff for praise and is entering his fourth year on campus. When he was in the game he acquitted himself fairly well. He is very athletic and was a little raw with some of his technique last season going against a veteran UNI d-line in his solitary start. But with another year under his belt I am betting he will transition into a starting role and excel.
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Defensive Line– Mike Daniels: Kind of tough to break through when you rarely see the field but Daniels was a difference maker last season when he did get reps (see Wisconsin), whether it was on goal-line formations or giving Klug or Ballard a breather. The coaching staff has referred to him as a “fifth starter” and so hopefully that will lead to more reps for him this season which would benefit all involved. Daniels has all of the tools to be a very good player in Iowa’s system and can step in at either spot.
Linebacker– Jeff Tarpinian: the leader in the clubhouse to replace Pat Angerer after the Spring, I expect him to hold on to the job and excel. Tarp is a very good cover linebacker and surprised me with his run recognition and speed to the ball carrier from the Mike spot during the spring drills. He has excellent size and did a nice job of sorting through traffic. He also has the speed to make a false step and recover. It will be interesting to see if he can remain healthy all camp and hold on to the job.
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Defensive Back– Jordan Bernstine: Micah Hyde is the leader on the depth chart right now. And in my spring report I wrote that I also thought that Willie Lowe was ahead of him. I still think that Bernstine has the most raw talent of any corner and possibly any defensive back on the roster. If he can stay healthy I think it will be hard to keep him off the one line by the time EIU comes to Kinnick. His sophomore year he was amongst the most physical special teamers and blanketed receivers as a slot defender on nickel and dime packages. His size/speed combo is rare at Iowa and teaming him with Prater would give Iowa the most physical set of corners in the Big Ten. That isn’t to diminish Hyde or Lowe; I don’t think Iowa loses in any of these scenarios. I just think that Bernstine is the most physically gifted option on the team and he will end up as the starter by the beginning of the season.