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IOWA HAWKEYES
MALLORY RUBIN
August 16, 2011
Rattled by off-the-field turmoil, a largely green team will rely on a mighty offensive line and skill players who have shown tantalizing flashes of promise
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August 16, 2011

Iowa Hawkeyes

Rattled by off-the-field turmoil, a largely green team will rely on a mighty offensive line and skill players who have shown tantalizing flashes of promise

QB

JAMES VANDENBERG

JOHN WIENKE

RB

MARCUS COKER

JASON WHITE

FB

JONATHAN GIMM

BRAD ROGERS

WR

KEENAN DAVIS

KEVONTE MARTIN-MANLEY

WR

MARVIN MCNUTT JR.*

DON SHUMPERT

TE

BRAD HERMAN

C.J. FIEDOROWICZ

LT

RILEY REIFF*

MATT TOBIN

LG

NOLAN MACMILLAN*

BRANDON SCHERFF

C

JAMES FERENTZ*

CONOR BOFFELI

RG

ADAM GETTIS

WOODY ORNE

RT

MARKUS ZUSEVICS*

BRETT VAN SLOTEN

KIRK FERENTZ IS LOOKING FOR A STORY. "GO BACK TO 2008, when Shonn Greene went from moving furniture in 2007 to winning the Doak Walker Award," Iowa's coach says. "Typically we need a good story or two to emerge if we're going to have a successful season."

The stories haven't been so good for Iowa of late. After a surprise BCS run in 2009, the Hawkeyes stumbled to a disappointing 8--5 finish in '10 before recovering for an Insight Bowl win over Missouri. Things were even worse off the field following a string of arrests of high-profile players including running back Adam Robinson and wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, both on drug charges. (Neither is still with the team.) The negative headlines continued during the off-season, when 13 players were hospitalized with a rare muscle disorder caused by a squat-lifting workout. "That's all behind us," Ferentz said this summer. "We've moved on. This is a new team, a new year."

With only nine starters returning, it truly is a new team. Defensive depth is a concern for the Hawkeyes, especially on the line. Only tackle Mike Daniels and end Broderick Binns have seen significant playing time. Shaun Prater remains a solid presence at corner, and the hope is that junior Micah Hyde can build on his 72-yard interception return for the game-winning touchdown in the Insight Bowl and take over for Tyler Sash as a playmaker in the secondary.

There are fewer question marks on offense. NFL prospect Riley Reiff and likely all-conference performer James Ferentz (the coach's son), both juniors, anchor an offensive line that should be Iowa's bulwark. Junior James Vandenberg takes over at quarterback after serving as Ricky Stanzi's understudy for two seasons, during which time he saw meaningful Big Ten action as Stanzi's injury replacement. Sophomore Marcus Coker assumes the starting running back role after etching his name into the Iowa history books with a record-setting 219-yard day in the Insight Bowl.

Ferentz acknowledges September will be full of adjustments. "The nice thing about an inexperienced team is you have a bigger opportunity for more dramatic improvement," Ferentz said. After all, every story needs a little drama.

THE VITALS

COACH Kirk Ferentz (13th year) 89--60 (53--43 in Big Ten)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Ken O'Keefe

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Norm Parker

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