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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Iowa spring recap

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

2009 overall record: 11-2

2009 conference record: 6-2 (T-2nd)

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 8, kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Marvin McNutt, WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, RB Adam Robinson, OT Riley Reiff, DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Karl Klug, DE Broderick Binns, S Tyler Sash

Key losses

LT Bryan Bulaga, RT Kyle Calloway, TE Tony Moeaki, G Dace Richardson, C Rafael Eubanks, LB Pat Angerer, LB A.J. Edds, CB Amari Spievey

2009 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Adam Robinson* (834 yards)

Passing: Ricky Stanzi* (2,417 yards)

Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos* (750 yards)

Tackles: Pat Angerer (145)

Sacks: Adrian Clayborn* (11.5)

Interceptions: Tyler Sash* (6)

Spring answers

1. Man in the middle: Jeff Tarpinian emerged from spring ball as Iowa's starting middle linebacker, taking over for first-team All-Big Ten selection Pat Angerer. Tarpinian has big shoes to fill but boasts some experience and stepped up his play this spring. "I'm really pleased with his progress," head coach Kirk Ferentz said of Tarpinian.

2. Separation along O-line: Iowa's offensive line remains its No. 1 area of concern, but six players separated themselves this spring, which is a good sign. Along with returning starters Riley Reiff and Julian Vandervelde, right tackle Markus Zusevics and right guard Adam Gettis emerged as front-runners at their positions. Josh Koeppel and James Ferentz are neck-and-neck at the center spot, and the competition will continue in August.

3. Klug steps up: Adrian Clayborn is the defense's undisputed leader, but defensive tackle Karl Klug established himself as Clayborn's right-hand man this spring. Klug admits he's not the most vocal player, but his experience and attitude command respect on the field. "Karl played well in the fall," Kirk Ferentz said, "but if you surveyed any 10 of our players now, at least nine of them would tell you, maybe 10, that Karl Klug is one of our best leaders and one of our best players."

Fall questions

1. Running back: Iowa boasts depth at running back, but the No. 1 spot is very much up for grabs entering the summer. Robinson missed spring ball following shoulder surgery, Brandon Wegher sprained his shoulder during the spring and Jewel Hampton was held out of contact as he recovers from his knee injury. Iowa needs to keep these guys healthy in camp and figure out how the carries will work this fall.

2. O-line chemistry: The offensive line will be a major area to watch until the season opener and likely beyond. Iowa loses four players with starting experience and will lean heavily on Reiff and Vandervelde to lead the group. Just because the Hawkeyes have a strong record up front doesn't guarantee the line will reload, and Iowa knows it needs to keep Stanzi on the field after last season.

3. Kicking it: Ferentz said the kickers were inconsistent this spring, and Daniel Murray and Trent Mossbrucker will continue to compete throughout fall camp. Murray connected on 19 of 26 field goal attempts last season but missed some chip shots, and Mossbrucker, the team's top kicker for most of 2008, has worked his way back into the mix.