Hawkeye Keeper League

May 8, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Many of us have played or currently play in a fantasy football league. Some of those leagues are ‘keeper leagues’ where you can keep a player or player from one year to the next.

It’s a given that during the course of every Iowa football season, I think something along the lines of ‘If only player X had one more year.’

In 2009, Iowa’s magical season that began with a nine-game winning streak and ended with an Orange Bowl win, I wondered ‘What if Shonn Greene had stuck around for his senior season? Could this team have won a national championship?’

You never can tell how things would have gone prior to the Northwestern game where Stanzi got hurt, and such talk is fodder for hours of bar stool debate…it can be fun, even if it has little value.

May is the month to ask such lighthearted questions, as June provides a half month of daily looks at college football magazines, putting together our own Iowa football preview and preparing for the home stretch of July where the pigskin parade begins to wind up.

So I ask you this question; if you could play Iowa Football Keeper League and pull back just one player from last year’s roster, who would it be and why?

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Three names instantly come to mind; Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug and Ricky Stanzi. So then I look to the players who will fill in for them this year and decide which position will see the biggest drop off in talent.

I believe James Vandenberg can put up some big numbers in 2011. He’ll be playing behind a line akin to the 2008 crew, whom Stanzi played behind as a first year starter. However, Vandenberg is farther along in the developmental process as a first year starter than Stanzi was and I do not expect to see a 17/15 TD to INT ratio from JVB the way we had it in 2008 from Stanzi. Yeah, JVB won’t be handing the ball off to Greene, but Coker should have a solid year and that line might be just as good if not better than the 2008 line, which was the second best in the Ferentz era. So I draw a line through Stanzi and let him go earn a paycheck holding a clipboard in KC (which is nice work, if you can get it).

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So it’s down to Clayborn or Klug. Regardless of who fills their spots, and it’s going to be their side of the field, the right side, that is totally revamped, we are talking huge unknowns. Did Karl Klug succeed because the player to his right, Clayborn, drew a lot of attention? There is some truth there. But Klug also saw some attention and few dominant players do it all by themselves. While Klug wasn’t dominant, he was quietly disruptive and more than pulled his weight on the line.

However, I am going to go with Clayborn. He’d occupy more attention allowing an unproven player more one on one opportunities.

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I guess this is also an exercise in the area I am most concerned about heading into 2011. I am certainly excited to see the Iowa defensive line philosophy put to the test again next season and get another lesson in in the ‘scheme or personnel’ debate.

So who is your pick? Post your thoughts below or on the Hawkeye Football Message board here on the site.

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