Spring Prospectus: The Overview

April 3, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Each year, Iowa puts forth a Spring Prospectus, and in it they break down the team position by position. It’s interesting to read what the folks inside the hallways of the Hayden Fry football complex approve to be placed inside the prospectus, and we have shared this in position by position looks for a number of years. The comments and opinions below come from the Iowa Football Spring Prospectus, which can be downloaded in its entirety by visiting this link.

PHOTO GALLERIES

April 3rd
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Following a third straight bowl victory to close out the 2010 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2011 will rely on a veteran offensive line to lead the way while Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff work to replace a number of key seniors at the majority of other positions.

The Hawkeyes finished 2010 with an 8-5 record and in a tie for fourth in the Big Ten with a 4-4 mark. The Hawkeyes played one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Iowa played seven ranked opponents and won four of the matchups. The seven ranked foes are the most ever for a Kirk Ferentz coached Iowa team.

Iowa closed last season with a 27-24 win over 12th-ranked Missouri in the Insight Bowl, making the Hawkeyes one of four teams in the nation to win a bowl game following each of the last three seasons. Iowa has posted 28 wins over the last three seasons, including January bowl wins following the 2008 and 2009 campaigns.

Ferentz is beginning his 13th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. He is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree. The Hawkeyes were 80-45 (.640) in the first 10 years of this century (2000-09). That’s the most Iowa wins, ever, in a decade. Since a 2-18 start to the Ferentz era, the Hawkeyes have gone 87-42 (.674). Iowa has competed in nine bowl games over the last 10 years (6-3 record) and six of those contests were January bowl games, with two being BCS contests. Iowa is now 14-10, all-time, in bowl games. Ferentz’ six bowl victories tie for third most ever among Big Ten Conference coaches.

The 2010 season can best be described by misfortune at inopportune times. Iowa won five of its first six games including impressive wins over Iowa State, Penn State and Michigan. Following a last-minute one-point loss to Wisconsin, Iowa responded with consecutive wins over Michigan State and Indiana to improve to 4-1 in league play. Three losses, by a total of seven points, followed against Northwestern, Ohio State and Minnesota. The three-game losing streak in league play was something to which Iowa fans were not accustomed. The win over the 12-ranked (BCS rankings) Missouri team restored faith in how good the Hawkeye program really is.

The Hawkeyes finished the season ranked fifth nationally in total defense (332.1 yds.) and rushing defense (101.5). Iowa committed only 11 turnovers all year to rank second nationally.

Individual honors once again followed Iowa’s success on the field. Senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn was a consensus All-American. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation’s best defensive lineman or linebacker, and for the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the best defensive end. Punter Ryan Donahue was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and quarterback Ricky Stanzi was a finalist for the Unitas Quarterback of the Year Award.

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Hawkeyes earning first team all-Big Ten honors in 2010 included Clayborn (DE), Shaun Prater (DB) and Tyler Sash (DB). Clayborn was a senior while Prater and Sash (who declared himself eligible for the NFL draft) were juniors. Second team all-Big Ten performers included Julian Vandervelde (OL), Riley Reiff (OL), Karl Klug (DT), Marvin McNutt, Jr., (WR), Allen Reisner (TE), Jeremiha Hunter (LB) and Brett Greenwood (DB).

The Hawkeyes had another outstanding year in the classroom, as 16 were named to the 2010 academic all-Big Ten team. The total is 45 over the last three years. Brett Morse, Daniel Murray, Jeff Tarpinian and Julian Vandervelde made the elite team for the fourth straight year. Three Hawkeyes (Vandervelde, Tarpinian and Tyler Nielsen) also made the ESPN/CoSIDA District Seven Academic All-America team. That matched the feat of three Hawkeyes making the elite unit in 2008. Under Kirk Ferentz, 17 Iowa players have been named academic all-American 31 times over the last 12 years.

Seniors Shaun Prater (DB) and Marvin McNutt, Jr., (WR) and junior Riley Reiff (OL) are 2011 All-America candidates. Other Hawkeyes expected to gain pre- or post-season honors include Marcus Coker (RB), James Vandenberg (QB), Adam Gettis (OL), James Ferentz (OL), Nolan MacMillan (OL), Tyler Nielsen (OLB), Mike Daniels (DT), James Morris (LB) and Micah Hyde (DB).

Stability is a key ingredient in Iowa’s success. Over the past 32 years, Iowa has had only two head football coaches. The only team in the Big Ten that can exceed that figure is Penn State. Eight league schools have had at least five head coaching changes in the last three decades (Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State haven’t). Only six assistant coaches have left the Ferentz staff in the last 10 years. Of those six, one retired, three went to the NFL and two left to become coordinators. Iowa has had no coaching changes in the past three years. Iowa and Penn State are the only teams in the Big Ten with the same staff over the last two years.

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The stability has helped give Iowa a great run over the past last 10 years. An appearance in the 2006 Outback Bowl put the Hawkeyes alongside Southern Cal, Georgia and Florida State as the only teams with four straight January bowl appearances. A total of 78 wins over the last nine years (8.7 avg.) ranks with the nation’s best.

The last nine years have been unprecedented in Iowa football history. This period has resulted in two Big Ten championships (2002 & 2004), four wins in six January bowl games and four finishes in the nation’s top ten. A 22-game home winning streak (broken in 2005) and 36 straight home sellouts are additional indicators of a program rich in tradition and consistency. Four January bowl wins over highly regarded teams from the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conferences (Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia Tech) are all notches on the Hawkeye victory belt. The 27-24 win over Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl was Iowa’s third straight bowl victory, something previously never achieved.

Ferentz has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times. He joins the select company of Hayden Fry, Joe Paterno and Bo Schembechler as the only three-time winners of the award. Ferentz was also named the 2002 Associated Press National Coach of the Year. Ferentz, entering his 13th year with the Hawkeyes, ranks second in longevity among league football coaches. He is tied for third, all-time, in bowl victories among league coaches.

Another residual effect of Iowa’s successful program is the fact that Hawkeye players have won the Outland, Mackey, O’Brien, Groza and Doak Walker Awards (and a runner-up to the Heisman) during the Ferentz era. Iowa had numerous semi-finalists and finalists for many individual awards given out following the 2010 season.

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The Hawkeyes have sold out Kinnick Stadium in 49 of the last 51 games. The 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 home attendance average of 70,585 is an Iowa record. The Hawkeyes’ 36 straight home sellouts (2003-08) are a school record. Since 2002, the Hawkeyes have a 49-11(.817) home record, a mark that ranks with the nation’s best.

Iowa fans have an unmatched reputation for following their team. More than 40,000 fans followed Iowa to Soldier Field in order to witness a 2007 season-opening win against Northern Illinois. Hawkeye fans traveling to bowl games have earned a legendary reputation, second to none. Almost 200,000 Hawkeye fans traveled to Iowa’s last eight bowl games (2003 Orange, 50,000; 2004 Outback, 20,000; 2005 Capital One, 30,000; 2006 Outback, 20,000; 2006 Alamo, 15,000; 2009 Outback, 21,000; 2010 Orange, 25,000; 2010 Insight, 15,000). It is no coincidence that Iowa ranks high on the wish list of, virtually, every bowl game in America.

All Iowa games were televised in 2010. In fact, 116 straight Hawkeye football games have been televised. The Hawkeyes appear weekly on national TV networks (ABC, ESPN, Big Ten Network).

The Hawkeyes had an unusually large and outstanding senior class of 25 student-athletes last year. Among the graduates were offensive standouts Ricky Stanzi (QB), Julian Vandervelde (OL), Josh Koeppel (OL), Allen Reisner (TE), Brett Morse (FB) and Colin Sandeman (WR). Defensively, Iowa will be without Adrian Clayborn (DE), Christian Ballard (DE), Karl Klug (DT), Jeremiha Hunter (LB), Brett Greenwood (DB) and Ryan Donahue (P). Another loss was defensive back Tyler Sash, who decided to enter the NFL draft following his junior campaign. The Hawkeyes lost a total of 28 lettermen (14 offense, 11 defense and 2 special teams).

The 2011 Hawkeyes play a 12-game regular season schedule, which includes an attractive seven game home slate. There will be a bye week (Oct. 1st). The home opener is Sept. 3rd, against Tennessee Tech. A highlight on the schedule will be the Nov. 25th contest at Nebraska as the Cornhuskers officially join the Big Ten conference this year. That game, against Nebraska, will be on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

NOTE: The photo is a portion of the cover of the Iowa 2011 Spring Prospectus

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