Spartan Nation 2009 Football Scouting Report:Â Iowa Hawkeyes
Biggest Game:Â October 24, 2009 @ MSU
Predicted record:Â 9-3 (5-3)
Projected Big Ten standing: 5thÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Returning Starters:Â 14; OFFENSE 6,Â DEFENSE 8,Â Â Lettermen returning: 49Â Â Â Â Â
Head Coach:Â Kirk FerentzÂ 11th Season at IowaÂ Â Last Season: 9-4Â Â Lifetime:Â 70-53Â
Top assistant:Â The Spartan Nationâ€™s Own:Â DC Norm Parker
Number of Players on the All Spartan Nation Big Ten Team:Â Three; OT Bryan Bulaga, RB Jewel Hampton, FS Brent Greenwood
Analysis:Â The Hawkeyes struggled with some off-field issues, and I was disappointed to see fans from other schools attacking the integrity of Coach Ferentz because of it.Â Anytime you have 100 kids you are going to have some problems, but his track record over the 10 years prior to this one (his 11th) he has run a tight ship, not cheated and did things the right way.Â
Ferentz is a good man.Â He could have left, once again, for the Kansas City Chiefs job, but stayed in order to coach his son.Â Many close to Ferentz believe that he would leave Iowa City for the PSU job when JoePa retires, but until then look for him to stay until his son graduates.
The Hawkeyes had a disappointing recruiting class in 2009 and that is tied to the off-field issues keeping some kids away, but Ferentz has a tremendous staff with a proven track record of developing talent.
The Hawks have a very good QB in Ricky Stanzi who suffered from some turnover problems last year as a sophomore, but he could be another great Hawk QB before his time is done.Â They also have a very good RB in sophomore Jewel Hampton who ran for nearly 500 yards last year while backing up Shonn Greene who left early for the NFL.Â The Hawks always have a good OL and running game, and Hampton, at times, outplayed Greene.Â He has tremendous vision and balance, and can make people miss.
The Hawks also have the young man that I picked as the best LT in the nation, Bryan Bulaga.Â He is a 6â€™6â€ 319# monster with a mean streak on the field, and is a great kid off of it.Â He plays the game with passion and unless he is blocking against the Spartans, he is fun to watch.Â He has exceptional talent that reminds me a lot of a young Jake Long.Â I donâ€™t think he is as good as Long was when he left UM, but Bulaga could be better when he is done.Â He is a star.
I picked the Hawks game at MSU as their biggest of the season.Â I think they will have a big season, and I see OSU and at PSU as losses.Â I also see them losing at MSU, and if that game had been played in Iowa City, I would have picked it the other way.Â If they could upset the Spartans in East Lansing, they would move to another double digit winning season and in the Big Ten you have to consider that a successful season.
You saw last season when they lost three straight games that they shouldnâ€™t have (MSU included). Ferentzâ€™s tremendous coaching ability kept his kids from quitting. They even upset Penn State on their way to a regular season 8 wins and a humiliated the Ball Coach Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Almost every MSU player you asks talks about the Hawkeyes as one of the toughest and hardest hitting teams on the Spartan schedule.Â This rivalry, although not bitter, is one of my personal favorites as I respect both coaches and staffs, (as they do each other) and I love the way the Hawkeyes play the game of football.
1.Â Â Â Â Â Northern Iowa WIN
2.Â Â Â Â Â @ Iowa State WIN
3.Â Â Â Â Â Arizona WIN
4.Â Â Â Â Â @ PSU LOSS
5.Â Â Â Â Â Arkansas State WIN
6.Â Â Â Â Â Michigan WIN
7.Â Â Â Â Â @ Wisconsin WIN
8.Â Â Â Â Â @ MSU LOSS
9.Â Â Â Â Â Indiana WIN
10.Â Northwestern WIN
11.Â @ Ohio State LOSS