Monday, April 18, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Was the OLine That Good or the DLine That Bad?

That is the question. The annual Spring scrimmage is over and now it's time to over analyze the small sample we were able to see. If anything it gives us football junkies something to do until August. I thought I would start with the most glaring issue, at least to me, the defensive line. I may be overstating it, calling it a glaring issue, but the defense is supposed to be ahead of the offense at this point. Iowa's offensive line has been together for awhile so perhaps the experience was the key, but then again, so has part of the defensive line.

Marc Morehouse, of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, provides us a look at position drills. Each open session he puts these videos into a blog post, awesome stuff. I pulled a video from each post so that you can draw a comparison between last Fall and this Spring. There are more drills to view at these links:

Video — Outside, pass blocking drills - August 14, 2010

Spring video — Some action - April 16, 2011

Here are some images from the Big Ten Network's highlights of Iowa practice. These first three are the same play. You'll see the first team offense versus the first team defense. It's a one back set, tight end motion, Iowa's bread and butter zone read run play. The play begins to the left but watch the cutback lane open on the backside.

See it? Good, De'Andre Johnson does too. I mean how can you miss it? Look at the push Gettis is getting off the backside, the D tackle he is pushing? Carl Davis (#71).

This is a few seconds after, note where Carl Davis is now. You see a nice seal from the WR (KMM) and a safety now out of position. Daniel, Daniels, and Binns are all caught in ring of death there.

These next two images are here to represent the pass protection JV had all day (this particular play was 1st team O vs. 2nd team D). You'll see he had loads of time but the end result was a pick off of a tipped pass. I just wanted to post images to give an idea of what the pass pro looked like most of the day.

Now let's not freak out yet (note to self). Carl Davis has a long way to go. His size is nice but not when he ends up four yards off of the LOS. Dominic Alvis spent some time with the first team DLine at tackle. I think he floats around next fall filling in at both tackle and end positions. Alvis gets nice separation using his long arms and also keeps his pads low despite his height.

Steve Bigach and Tom Nardo didn't participate in the scrimmage and will be part of the rotation Ferentz discussed at the post scrimmage press conference. They'll provide depth but let's be honest, they won't be saviors. Mike Hardy appears to be a DT now and is still learning the position. It will be a work in progress and with the youth and inexperience the DLine will probably not be its best until late in the season. The offensive line, on the other hand, should be ready game one and have an outstanding season.

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