The music started early during Iowa’s fall camp and hasn’t stopped blaring.
There are five seats in this game of musical chairs. When the music stops Saturday for Iowa’s offensive line in Ames, who knows who will have a seat.
“Getting the five in there who are going to be in there for good is going to be a big deal,” left tackle Bryan Bulaga said.
In Iowa’s victory over Northern Iowa last week, Kyle Calloway and Julian Vandervelde didn’t have seats. Against the Cyclones (1-0), they will.
Calloway will return from a one-game suspension that ended a streak of 25 consecutive starts. Vandervelde, who had early summer arm surgery, has been cleared and will see some action. Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t say how much, but Vandervelde’s 15 career starts will be welcomed, especially after last week’s struggles up front.
UNI racked up four first-half sacks, including a forced fumble that led to a field goal, and held the Hawkeyes to 2.8 yards on 31 carries.
“Even after the game, it didn’t feel well, didn’t sit well,” center Rafael Eubanks said. “We’re happy that we won, but at the same time we know we have a lot of work to do.
“We’ve got to play 10 times better than we did on Saturday if we want to have a chance to win.”
Calloway and Vandervelde will certainly reshape the lineup.
Calloway, 6-foot-7, 315-pounds, was second-team all-Big Ten last season. He’s a two-year starter at right tackle. Vandervelde traded time as a starter in 2007 and began last season in the same role before winning left guard outright and starting the final nine weeks.
“Getting guys back who were starters all last year always helps,” Bulaga said. “That’s a big deal for us. Obviously, what they bring will help. Julian is a great offensive guard and Kyle is a two-year starter who’s a very talented guy.”
Vandervelde, regardless of how much he plays, will help immediately inside. Calloway’s return will move senior Dace Richardson to guard. Two will start out of Richardson, senior Dan Doering and sophomore Adam Gettis. Three of the four sacks allowed last week were busts on the inside.
“The best five are going to play, regardless of who it is,” said Gettis, who made his first start last week. “As long as we know we have our best five on the field, that should make everybody happy.”