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Spring Football

Hawk Talk
Jake Rudock will be behind center again for the Hawkeyes this year, his second as a starting quarterback. Last year, Rudock passed for 2,383 yards, 18 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions and Iowa finished 8-5. (file photo by Don Lund)

This is the third part of a review of the University of Iowa football program this spring.
This week, I’ll talk about the quarterbacks and defensive line.
Jake Rudock is the number-one quarterback in spring training.
If Jake stays healthy, I see no reason he won’t be number one in the opening game against UNI Aug. 30.
The 6-3, 208-pound junior was 204-346 (59 percent) passing for 2,383 yards, 18 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions and Iowa finished 8-5.
Since 1983, four other quarterbacks have started as sophomores. Three of them– Chuck Long, Matt Rodgers and Drew Tate– were All-Big Ten at one time or another.
Rick Stanzi was the fourth and he led Iowa to three straight bowl wins. None of the other three did that.
When Chuck Long was a sophomore, the Hawkeyes were 9-2, 7-2 in the Big Ten and lost to Florida 14-6 in the Gator Bowl. Chuck, in his sophomore season in 1983, finished the season 157-265 (59 percent) passing for 2,601 yards, 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.
Matt’s sophomore season was 1989 and Iowa finished 5-6, 3-5 in the Big Ten. I will never forget the last game of that season.
The Hawks hosted Minnesota and if they won, would have been eligible for a bowl game. The Gophers cruised 43-7, and some of the low-life Iowa fans were booing towards the end of the game.
Not pretty.
Of course, the Hawkeyes bounced back the next season, went 8-4, 6-2 in the Big Ten, tied for the Big Ten title and got beat 46-34 by Washington in the Rose Bowl.
Matt was an All-Big Ten quarterback as a junior and senior.
When Matt was a sophomore, he was 178-312 (57 percent) for 2,222 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 picks.
Drew Tate led the Hawkeyes to a co-Big Ten title in his sophomore season in 2004. Drew was first team All-Big Ten that year. He was also named Big Ten Player of the Year by college football news.
Not too many Hawkeye fans will forget Drew’s 56-yard pass to Warren Holloway as time expired and Iowa came from behind in a thrilling 30-25 win over LSU in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on Jan. 1, 2005.
Drew’s stats for his sophomore year were 233-375 (62 percent), 2,786 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Iowa was 10-2, 7-1 in the Big Ten.
Ricky Stanzi had a 26-9 record as starting quarterback for the Hawkeyes. The 26 wins was the second most for an Iowa quarterback. Chuck Long won 35 games as starting quarterback for the Hawks.
In Rick’s sophomore season (2008), the Hawkeyes finished 9-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten. They beat South Carolina 31-10 in the Outback Bowl. Rick started 11 games that year and played in all 13.
For the season, Rick was 150-254 (59 percent) for 1,956 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
So, to stack up Jake with the other four in their sophomore year.

Quarterback Completion % Yards TDs Interceptions
Jake 204-346 59% 2,383 18 13
Ricky 150-254 59% 1,956 14 9
Drew 233-375 62% 2,786 20 14
Matt 178-312 57% 2.222 12 13
Chuck 157-265 59% 2,601 14 12

Not bad company.
Jake had the second most completions, the second most touchdown passes and Iowa averaged 26.6 points per game last year.
In 2012, Iowa averaged 19.3 points per game. James Vandenberg was 223-389 (57 percent) for 2,249 yards, seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
C.J. Beathard proved to be a solid backup.
The 6-2, 203-pound sophomore played in five games last fall, completed 9-27 for 179 yards and one touchdown. He threw two interceptions and ran for a touchdown against Purdue and Nebraska.
C.J. came in when Jake got hurt against Nebraska and helped put away the Cornhuskers, 38-17.
C.J. has a strong arm but still is learning the offense. Right now, Jake makes better decisions and is the starter.
Nic Shimonek (6-4, 212) is redshirt quarterback from Texas recruited by offensive coordinator Greg Davis. Nic put up some good numbers as a high school senior, passing for 2,714 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also rushed for 850 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. It will be interesting to see him at the spring scrimmage April 26.

Defensive line

The d-line should be another strength for the Hawks, with four players that started last season.
The big senior tackles, Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat, will anchor the defense.
Carl has that great size (6-5, 315) that helps being a great run stopper. The big guy from Michigan started every game last year and had 42 tackles including 11 solos.
Louis (6-3, 290) also started every game and had 38 tackles, 18 solos. Louis made that big sack against Northwestern in overtime to end the game with an Iowa win.
The ends include Drew Ott and Mike Hardy.
Drew played in every game last year with 12 starts. The 6-3, 265-pound junior had 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 quarterback sacks.
Mike, a senior, (6-5, 280) started the final six games and played in all 13 games.
In 2012, Iowa gave up 1,945 rushing yards with a 4.1 average per rush and 22.9 points per game.
Last season, the Hawks gave up 1,669 yards rushing with a 3.6 yard average and 18.9 points per game.
The Hawkeyes should have some solid backups with junior Nate Meier and Riley McMinn as backup ends; Darian Cooper, Jaleel Johnson, and Faith Ekakitie are listed as backup tackles.
Nate (6-2, 244) played in every game last year, had three tackles and a sack.
Riley (6-7, 265) has been injured a lot in his career but still played in six games last year.
The coaches talk about Riley having the talent, he just has to stay healthy.
Darian (6-2, 282), who is a tackle, played in every game last season, recorded 18 tackles and a sack.
Jaleel (6-4, 310) has that good size that Iowa needs at tackle. He played in seven games last year.
Faith (6-3, 287) also has that size to play tackle in the Big Ten. He played in three games last year.
Jaleel and Faith were both four-star recruits coming out of high school.
Both of them need to step up as Carl and Lewis are seniors.
Redshirt freshmen Nathan Bazata (6-2, 284) and Brant Gressel (6-2, 280) were also top recruits out of high school.
Nathan was named Division One Player of the Year in Nebraska as a senior in high school.
Brant was all-conference his junior and senior year at Centerville, Ohio.
Reese Morgan, the defensive line coach, likes to have a seven-or-eight man rotation, so depth will be a key in next year’s team.
I like the front four and some of the backups. They should help the new linebackers a lot.

Next week I’ll finish up with the linebackers, defensive backs and special teams.
Will a former Solon prep win the kickoff and field goal spot?