IOWA CITY - The stats won’t mean much, but we’ll run some numbers, give some lineups and offer some general thoughts on what we saw.
Remember, one practice. Nothing is set in stone.
Damon Bullock — 12 carries for 28 (Workhorse right now.QB James Vandenberg praised him for the strides he’s made since spring; took every first-team snap)
Andre Dawson — 12 for 27 (Didn’t get any carries in the spring game, so these are first steps)
Mark Weisman – 8 for 39 (Sort of an RB/FB hybrid, did it all for the second team)
Nate Meier – 11 for 31 (RB for the third unit; struggled during “thud,” but turned it on in live period)
Impressions — No Greg Garmon, no Barkley Hill, no Brad Rogers. This was Iowa’s ninth consecutive day of practice. Coach Kirk Ferentz said afterward it was not meant to be taken as a showcase. Garmon and Hill took a couple of shots in practice and their absence was purely cautionary.
“We have guys with bumps and bruises,” Ferentz said when pressed on Garmon and Hill. “It’s nothing serious. They have a chance on Monday to be ready, all the guys have a chance to be back Monday. It’s frustrating because you can’t really evaluate anything.”
James Vandenberg — 12 of 20 for 141 yards and a TD (When the offense opened up in two-minute drill, Vandenberg found TE C.J. Fiedorowicz for 32- and 18-yard gains and capped it off with a 25-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley)
Jake Rudock — 7 of 14 for 72 yards with an interception (Rudock held the ball a lot and was hit with the “tap” sack, and quite a few from DE Joe Gaglione; also fumbled a snap and that led to him doing “up-downs” after practice broke up)
Cody Sokol — 8 of 9 for 105 (Did he go 8 of 9? I might’ve missed a few there. Right off the bat, he found TE Jake Duzey for a 62-yard score on a broken coverage. Rudock got first dibs on No. 2 reps, but Sokol was right in there.)
C.J. Beathard — 4 of 8 for 37 yards (Held the ball a lot and took phantom sacks; showed poise for his first time in Kinnick)
Impressions — Passing game was really sluggish. Things took too long to develop and Vandenberg and the receivers weren’t on the same page a few times. One time in particular, Vandenberg lofted a pass into the end zone where WR Keenan Davis should’ve been. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis wasn’t happy afterward and gave the skill units a piece of his mind (and a few bleeps).
The receivers have to read the defense Davis’ system. The chances to make the right read and put it in the end zone are few and far between. This needs some tightening.
Rudock or Sokol? Right now, probably Rudock, but Sokol had the better day Saturday.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz — 3 catches for 57 yards (Fiedorowicz took a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Christian Kirksey and spent some time on the sideline stretching his neck. He brushed it off and re-entered to spur the final drive with a pair of catches for 50 yards.)
WR Jacob Hillyer — 3 for 55 (Ran against the No. 2s and seemed very comfortable; made a good charge at No. 3; took advantage of opportunities)
TE Zach Derby — 3 for 37 (Lined up some in H back; read the defense well and found spots; would’ve led the team in receptions but had a drop)
WR Jordan Cotton — 3 for 17 (A fourth-year junior, seems to be playing with a “time to do this” mentality; also took a reverse 18 yards)
RB Damon Bullock — 3 for 16 (Mostly on checkdowns, but caught one in route; has pass catching on his resume)
TE Jake Duzey — 2 for 65 (Ran a seam uncovered and took a pass that was behind him 62 yards for a score; Ferentz said it was a good day for the TEs and it was)
WR Kevonte Martin-Manley — 2 for 26 (Quiet day until making an incredible sliding grab on an excellent pass from Vandenberg for the 25-yard TD; seems to have a comfort level with the offense)
WR Nick Nielsen — 2 for 22 (A senior who’s made the transition from defense, could snare some playing time)
TE Henry Krieger-Coble — 2 for 19 (Another TE; if this were an NFL, one of these guys would get cut and immediately picked up. The group is solid.)
WR Steven Staggs — 2 for 10 (Took what was there; definitely in the running for a spot in the three through seven at wideout)
WR Cameron Wilson — 1 for 9 (Solid body; could see time on special teams as a true freshmen)
WR Keenan Davis — 1 of 7 (How many targets? Don’t know; this number probably doesn’t mean much, still the No. 1 WR)
TE Steve Ferentz — 1 for 6 (Attack of the TEs; prelude to OL? Wouldn’t it be weird if he stuck at TE?)
FB Mark Weisman — 1 for 5 (Had a drop that would’ve gained 28 yards minimum)
RB Andre Dawson — 1 for 5 (Has improved a lot since spring; they might need him)
FB Jacob Reisen — 1 for 2 (Could find his way to special teams)
Impressions — When Davis yelled at the offensive skill players afterward, a lot of that went toward receiver.
True freshman Tevaun Smith participated, but didn’t catch a pass in scrimmage. True freshman Reese Fleming sat out with an injury. Ferentz said there were a couple of significant sprains. Maybe Fleming was one?
Plays in the passing game developed slowly. The receivers didn’t seem as though they were seeing what they needed to be seeing.
TEs are a solid group. They also blocked well Saturday.
Junior Mike Meyer (number is good, letters are miss) — 35, 30, 37, WL (37), 40, 40, 33
Freshman Marshall Koehn — 35, WL/WR (30), 37, 37, 40, 40, 33
I’m not sure what differentiates them. Meyer’s experience will probably carry the day.
– CB B.J. Lowery sat out with a sprain, according to Ferentz. He has a sprained knee and was held out as a precaution. This sent senior Greg Castillo into the lineup, along with true freshmen Sean Draper and Kevin Buford.
– Castillo still seemed slow after suffering a hamstring injury earlier this week. He was called for a couple of pass interferences after grabbing and holding receivers. Didn’t look 100 percent, though.
– Lots of blitzing. Blitzers came from every position, but the positive news is the defense also got pressure from linemen. It was second unit, but senior DE Joe Gaglione was a terror.
– OLB Travis Perry picked off an underthrow from Rudock.
– Against second team, DE Melvin Spears put pressure on the QB. Strong player who made the switch from LB early last fall.
– Safeties had trouble against Fiedorowicz. That might be something you hear a few more times this year.
– The race between Nico Law and Tommy Donatell at strong safety seems to be a dead heat. Donatell might’ve had more reps with the 1s on Saturday.
– D-line coach Reese Morgan was hit and injured on the sideline. He was down for several minutes. Ferentz said he might’ve suffered a torn hamstring, but medical personnel also seemed to be checking his head also. After nine years as Iowa’s O-line coach, he switched to the defensive line in February. Coach Kirk Ferentz said it was to build players. The results, at least in this one practice, were positive. Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson also coaches the D-line, but if Morgan is out an extended period — and right now, we don’t know — it could be Iowa’s worst injury so far in fall camp.
With several of the players out resting with various “bumps and bruises,” according to Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, it’s unlikely these units are accurate with full strength. The notable players not practicing Saturday include RB Greg Garmon, RB Barkley Hill, FB Brad Rogers, FB Jonathan Gimm, WR Maurice Fleming, CB B.J. Lowery, LB Quinton Alston, DE Riley McMinn, OL Nolan MacMillan and OL Jordan Walsh.
But based on what we saw in our first crack at practice this year, here are the players working out with the various units. (A few players working with the third team inadvertently may have been omitted)
LT – Brandon Scherff; LG – Matt Tobin; C – James Ferentz; RG – Austin Blythe; RT – Brent Van Sloten; TE – C.J. Fiedorowicz; WR – Keenan Davis, Kevonte Martin-Manley; QB – James Vandenberg; RB – Damon Bullock
Other first-team personnel: FB – Mark Weisman; TE – Zach Derby, Jake Duzey; WR – Don Shumpert
LT – Ryan Ward; LG – Eric Simmons; C – Conor Boffeli; RG – Drew Clark; RT – Andrew Donnal; QB – Jake Rudock/Cody Sokol; RB – Andre Dawson
Other second-team personnel: WR – Steven Staggs, Jordan Cotton, Jacob Hillyer, Tevaun Smith; TE – Duzey, Ray Hamilton, Henry Krieger Coble; FB – Jacob Reisen
LT – Cole Croston; LG – Reid Sealby; C – Tommy Gaul; RG – Jalen Chambers; RT – Mitch Keppy; QB – C.J. Beathard; RB – Nate Meier
Other third-team personnel: WR – Nick Nielsen, Greg Mabin, Cameron Wilson; TE – Krieger Coble, Hamilton, Duzey, George Krieger Kittle
DE – Dominic Alvis, Joe Gaglione; DT – Carl Davis, Lucas Trinca-Pasat; OLB – Christian Kirksey; MLB – James Morris; WLB – Anthony Hitchens; CB – Micah Hyde, Greg Castillo; FS – Tanner Miller; SS – Tom Donatell
Other first-team personnel: DE – Steve Bigach; CB – Sean Draper, Kevin Buford; Draper for Hitchens in nickel situations
DE – Bigach, Melvin Spears; DT – Mike Hardy, Darian Cooper; LB – Marcus Collins, Travis Perry, Jim Poggi; CB – Draper, Buford; SS – Nico Law; FS – John Lowdermilk
Other second-team personnel: CB – Gavin Smith, Torrey Campbell; S – Anthony Gair, Jack Swanson, Collin Sleeper
DE – Drew Ott, Daumantas Venckus-Cucchiara; DT – Jaleel Johnson, Faith Ekakitie; LB – Poggi, Cole Fisher, Macon Plewa; CB – Buford, Draper; S – Sleeper, Swanson
Other third-team personnel: DT – Casey McMillan, Wil Rathjen, Dean Tsopanides, DB Dayo Ogendepo
Punters (in order) – John Wienke, Jonny Mullings, Connor Kornbrath
Kickers (in order) – Mike Meyer, Marshall Koehn
Holder – Wienke
Snapper – Casey Kreiter
Punt returners (in order) – Micah Hyde, Keenan Davis, Kevonte Martin-Manley
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