ladies and gentlemen, Adam Jacobi has returned to Black Heart Gold Pants. BHGP is one of the best blogs within the SB Nation college network and their humor and attitude is unmatched. Jacobi is one of the best when it comes to that humor, and he was kind enough to answer my questions about the Hawkeyes:
T-Mill: It is well established the AIRBHG is real and feared. Does Mark Weisman survive the season or is there new blood for the beast?
Adam: AIRBHG is a real thing—if even Phil Steele acknowledges AIRBHG, AIRBHG is official—but Iowa has eight scholarship running backs (and one walk-on fullback) and all are, at this point, healthy and happy to be on the team. The only thing close to someone getting squeezed out of playing time is Damon Bullock, whom Purdue held completely in check last year, and he's transitioning to WR.
The top two backs are Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri, and both figure heavily into Iowa's plans. Canzeri missed last year with a torn ACL and Weisman's running style is so straight-forward that it may be impossible for him not to get dinged up at least once or twice over the course of the year. He's a weight room beast, but he's taking shots to the legs 25+ times a game and he hasn't shown an ability to minimize the hits he takes (Jerome Bettis was the master of this by his third year in the NFL, and it's why he lasted forever and former Iowa wrecking ball Nick Bell was out of the NFL within a couple years). So you may see Bullock back in the backfield by the Iowa-Purdue game, and based on last year, that must make you happy.
There are a host of young guys behind those three; hopefully none are pressed into action (a piano will probably fall on them on the sideline by Week 4 anyway).
T-Mill: Iowa may have been the only school more upset at its coach (Kirk Ferentz) and offensive coordinator (Greg Davis) than Purdue, yet they survived the season. What does Iowa need to do for both to be safe?
Adam: Kirk Ferentz's contract is keeping him safe for several more years. It might be the only reason he's still in Iowa City. Davis doesn't have that luxury—not only do assistants not enjoy massive buyouts, but Iowa assistants are all employed at-will, so the school wouldn't have to eat any future salary if Davis' time has come. So if we expect to see Davis in a third season, Iowa's got to return to mere competence on offense. He's got the personnel to at least run a competent offense, but as laid out at BHGP previously, that offense isn't what Davis runs; it's more along the lines of ~2010 Wisconsin (or as a commenter mentioned, the really good Glen Mason zone run offenses of a decade ago). So if Davis is going to do a decent job coaching the offense this year, either the personnel will have to more
T-Mill: The defense was not that bad last season, giving up less than 23 points per game. Can we expect a similar result?
Adam: Most of the defensive personnel is back for Iowa, and while that's ordinarily good news, the defense had enough innate flaws that it's unlikely we see significant progress from the Hawkeyes. A collapse into defensive submediocrity isn't coming, but losing Micah Hyde at CB is something Iowa can't fix with just plugging someone else in there.
But as meaningful losses go, that's pretty much it, and the litany of returning starters in the front seven (including 3 seniors across the board at LB) means the Hawkeyes won't get blown off the ball in 2013. That's significant and it'll help keep Iowa in plenty of games next season.
T-Mill: Is there any hope at all for the offense to improve?
Adam: The offense has to improve. It can't possibly be as bad again. Paul Myerberg guarantees it'll be substantially better. There's been an influx of WRs that bring more speed and less size, which is sort of what you want in an edge-to-edge passing game (what you really want is not that passing game at all, but Greg Davis is here, so...). There's a four-man competition at QB, and you've got to figure one can at least be more productive than James Vandenberg was last year.
There's also serious talk of a no-huddle system being implemented, but Ferentz has said he can go away from it whenever he needs to so do not expect to see Iowa ever go to no-huddle in any significant, non-2-minute-drill fashion by the time the B1G season rolls around.
T-Mill: We're division rivals after this season. Are you happy now that the hatred is contained to one game per year instead of the small chance at a rematch in the Big Ten title game?
Adam: I'm just wondering where the f**k our trophy is already. Is the thought that there's so much animosity that giving it a physical form will only incite widespread violence and riots as fanbases fight for control of the trophy? Like the Lord of the Rings ring, but instead of giving you superpowers it just lets you say "PURDUE (or IOWA) SUCKS SO BAD"? Because I could understand the reluctance for a trophy at that point.
T-Mill: Who will Iowa hate more now: Rutgers or Maryland?
Adam: Maryland, no question. You don't hate the paste-eating cousin you're forced to hang out with just because someone in your family married the wrong doofus and had a doofus kid. You pity and ignore that cousin. Also Rutgers took really good care of C. Vivian Stringer after she left and that makes us genuinely happy because she's awesome.
Maryland, though. Quit calling yourselves "Terrapins." You're turtles or tortoises or whatever. And their uniforms are horrible and they walked out on the ACC. I just hope they realize nobody likes them and the B1G is just using them for their TV base.
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