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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Iowa spring wrap

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

2010 overall record: 8-5

2010 conference record: 4-4 (T-4th)

Returning starters

Offense: 4; defense: 5; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

DT Mike Daniels, LB Tyler Nielsen, LB James Morris, DB Micah Hyde, CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin McNutt, LT Riley Reiff, C James Ferentz, RB Marcus Coker

Key losses

DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Karl Klug, DL Christian Ballard, LB Jeremiah Hunter, S Tyler Sash, S Brett Greenwood, QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, TE Allen Reisner, G Julian Vandervelde, RB Adam Robinson

2010 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Adam Robinson (941 yards)

Passing: Ricky Stanzi (3,004 yards)

Receiving: Marvin McNutt* (861 yards)

Tackles: Jeremiha Hunter (90)

Sacks: Karl Klug (5.5)

Interceptions: Brett Greenwood (5)

Spring answers

1. King James: Most of us haven't seen James Vandenberg since he nearly led Iowa to a Big Ten title-winning victory against Ohio State in 2009, but the junior quarterback has made strides on the practice field. Vandenberg impressed the coaches in bowl practice and continued his progression during the winter and into spring ball, where he locked up the starting quarterback spot. Coach Kirk Ferentz had high praise for Vandenberg this spring and seems comfortable with No. 16 as his guy.

2. Davis emerges: Iowa needed a No. 2 wide receiver to emerge this spring, and junior Keenan Davis answered the call. Davis stood out in the spring scrimmage with several nice catches and drew good reviews for his play throughout the 15 practice sessions. After taking a little longer than expected to impact games, Davis seems ready for a bigger role.

3. O-line ready to shine: The team's biggest question mark last spring should be its strongest unit in 2011. Iowa returns three starters, including NFL prospect Riley Reiff at left tackle and center James Ferentz, an All-Big Ten candidate. Guard Adam Gettis drew good reviews this spring after an injury-plagued 2010 season. The overall depth looks good and the line should be able to protect Vandenberg and give Coker rushing lanes this fall.

Fall questions

1. Micah Hyde's position: Hyde, best known for his Insight Bowl pick-six, played safety for much of the spring after starting all 13 games at cornerback last season. Iowa must replace two multiyear starters at safety (Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood), and Hyde certainly could be an answer there. If he makes the move, who starts at cornerback opposite Shaun Prater? Where do guys like Jordan Bernstine fit in? We should learn more about the secondary in preseason camp.

2. Filling out the front seven: Although Iowa lost three starting defensive linemen to the NFL draft and two contributors at linebacker, it has a decent idea of who will step in. The starting line should feature Mike Daniels, Broderick Binns and Lebron Daniel. But who occupies the other defensive tackle spot next to Daniels? Tyler Nielsen and James Morris will occupy two starting linebacker spots, but several players remain in the mix for the third position.

3. Running back depth: Coker built on his record-setting Insight Bowl performance and has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates as Iowa's top running back. But depth at running back has been an issue the past few seasons and it could crop up again this fall. Jason White and De'Andre Johnson got a lot of reps this spring, but several incoming freshmen should be in the mix as well as Iowa must find insurance for Coker. There's also a possibility Adam Robinson, the team's leading rusher in 2010, could be reinstated.