One thing that needs clearing up immediately is the whole “Y back” vs. “B back” thing.
That’s where identical twin sophomores Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger Coble find themselves this fall. They are basically a mobile second (or third, in some cases) tight end. It’s an H back. This probably isn’t a universal statement, but at least going off what Iowa did in spring practice, the B back lines up in the backfield or off the line.
This position, at least in the spring, DID NOT displace the second “inline” tight end. C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ray Hamilton manned those two spots. The B Back roamed and, really, was mostly absent.
Duzey saw time there with the first unit. Krieger Coble was the No. 2 inline TE with the second team.
Is the B back a real thing? Again, just going off what we saw in the spring, it doesn’t appear to be much of a thing.
By the way, it is B back. Here’s offensive coordinator Greg Davis explaining the position last summer:
Key 2012 factors: Let’s not overstate it, Duzey and Krieger Coble got their feet wet last season. Nothing more, nothing less. Duzey caught three passes for 16 yards. Krieger Coble caught four passes for 30 yards and a TD, with all of that coming in the final two games of the season. During the spring game, Duzey, as a genuine “B back,” caught two passes for 29 yards and a TD. HKC had one catch for 7 yards. Does this production reflect the role of the B back in Iowa’s offense? No, don’t think so. It was undefined last season. Perhaps the closest Iowa had to it was Zach Derby’s performance against Purdue (four catches, 38 yards).
Will the position be something in the fall?
Offseason factor: The fact that Kirk Ferentz/Greg Davis defined the B back is a development. The spring two deeps, in fact, dropped fullback in favor of the B. But then during the spring game(s), the fullback played larger roles.
It probably comes down to 1) what the QB is most comfortable with and 2) is the B back better than the fullback, which, keep in mind, could be Mark Weisman (Iowa’s leading rusher last season) on any given play.
“Just what’s our best combination of players out there?” Ferentz said. “And, obviously, the goal is to get your best 11 out there. Down and distance plays into that, but just intense situations . . . I think we’re thin a fullback for sure right now. We’d like to develop that position. I envision us playing with a fullback. I envision with two tight ends at times. Also three wides, that type of thing, the things that we’ve done in the past. It’s just a matter of seeing what we can piece together.”
Competition: Duzey and HKC will be in competition with each other. They’re both 6-4, 245 (or listed at those heights and weights). Does one gravitate toward a B role or does one develop into an inline TE? Fullback will push — or has a chance to push — B back off the field. Including Weisman, the other fullbacks are all walk-ons, Adam Cox, Berkley Grimm and Macon Plewa. If inline TEs — C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ray Hamilton — keep the chains moving, that probably changes how or if the B back is used. With definition at this position, it’s obviously going to take some time to sort out how it works.
Why No. 40:? Lots of factors will go into how much playing time this position gets. Of course, Duzey and HKC could see time as inline TEs. They also will likely find themselves on special teams. Bottom line, these are two pretty good athletes. Iowa’s offense needs to be better (score TDs). Iowa likes TEs (with seven on scholarship). These guys will have opportunity, but it’s hard to say how much.
Outlook: This is the third year on campus for Duzey and Krieger Coble. That’s usually when the football biological clock starts to ring. Three years in and players believe it’s time to play. And with seven (!!) tight ends on scholarship, Duzey and HKC have plenty of incentive.
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