Post-Pre-Conference Update on Kids Day Impressions

HumbleP1e

HR All-American
Jan 11, 2003
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Italics = old post. Bold is an update after rewatching the ISU game. Sorry for the length.

Arrow up (for me from what I expected):
  1. 1) placekicker. I'm not sure if the kicks are getting above the "blocking height", but Shudak and Duncan both drilled, correct me if I'm wrong, EVERY kick from every distance. Never seen that.
    Just so happy with both kickers. The obvious is Duncan's consistency, but Shudak's kickoffs are almost exactly on the goal line and contribute to the great kick coverage. Huge thumbs up.

    2).punter. If the rugby style kick is still in the playbook, it's to be a surprise. Thank God it's out as the modus operandi. To my surprise, I think Rastetter looked very very good. Sleep-Dalton was very good, too. I can't believe I am saying this because I have been critical of the punt game for a few seasons now: Rastetter was slightly more consistent. We have 2 legit options at both kicker spots.
  2. Minus Sleep-Dalton's first kick, he's given us a reminder of the punting that KF wielded during much of his first decade and 2015. Game changing ability. He's been more consistent than ASU fans made us believe he'd be. Huge thumbs up.
  3. 3). Nixon. Not anointing him a difference maker yet, but if his motor matches his tools, we have a significant force in what I thought may be a weaker DT group.
    He's making an impact. I'm not sure the degree of it, but the future is bright. Larger picture, I am surprised how little we've subbed on the defensive line this far.

    4). Martin. He's the real deal. Does everything with great efficiency and looks effortless in doing so. I thought he was probably overrated. He is a difference maker. Hands. Quicks. Routes. High pointing. Please God be eligible.
    I cannot believe he's not seeing more action and targets. I don't necessarily think the coaches are wrong. ISM and BS deserve to start. Ragiani is better than I expected. Tracy doesn't hurt us, and he made a couple plays against Rutgers. I guess I'd like to see this rotation be 5 deep and give Martin at least half of Tracy's snaps.

  4. 5) WR in general. Honestly, it may be the best position group I saw today. Ragiani is legit as a complementary piece. Hutson and Lockett are a ways away but show potential. Smith is way way ahead of the past. ISM could be a star but honestly didn't show a lot today. In an unexpected turn, the offense was WR heavy at times. 4 wides at times...could be a unique season.
    The corps is stronger than any time in Iowa history since I have been be a fan. Huge thumbs up.

    Other Individuals who "showed out":
    Chauncey Golston (Good grief he can be a beast)
    Logan Lee at DT. In few snaps, he just jumps out. Great hands, feet, leverage, and strength beyond his size.
    Joe Evans. He reminds me of many years ago a DE transfer from Notre Dame for Fry but better.
    Spencer Petras. I'm not sure we can win a lot of Big Ten games without Stanley, but SP has the backup job sown up. Effective in reads and putting the ball where it needs to be. Mansell has great feet and feel in the pocket but the ball didn't get where it needed to go very often.

    Honestly, not much translated from that practice to our 3-0 start. Golston has had some impact but not as expected, and that mirrors the whole dline in my opinion.

    Arrow down (from what I expected)
    1) TE. I expected Beyer and Cook with Wieting in support to really not be much of a drop-off. Still may work out like that, but there's nothing there based solely on today. No explosiveness or getting open yet. Granted, we are practicing against a traditional top 20 defense, but...I expect LaPorta and Miamen will not only not redshirt but play in every game. They may have to.
    I was too harsh here. I think Beyer has showed toughness for a few catches. They have blocked well! But, there isn't as much need in the passing game this season. Not sure if the freshmen will emerge.

    2) RB. Sargent barely played. May be a health choice for today (?), but Young was easily best, and there is remarkably little difference in the whole group's styles and abilities. I wonder if their workouts make them "alike". Not sure who it was but a back got to the second level once and just had to run toward the sideline for another 20 yards of open field but didn't see it and weaved back into tacklers for a mere 2 or 3 more yards. I'm not only concerned about our offense now without threats at TE for Stanley but don't see a lot of upside here either. The freshmen are good but more of the same, too, kinda. Goodson may be a real weapon in the passing game.
    I absolutely love how BF has brought Goodson along so far. All have been some level of okay/good so far. I'm curious about how they'll fair against B1G competition. I love the usages so far and hope to see Goodson 35%, Sargent 35%, Young/IKM 30% depending on game needs (toughness, pass receiving, etc.). Good balance!

    3) Tracy. I just don't see it. He's not explosive. Whoever's reporting that...I disagree. Ragiani looked great to my surprise, but I don't expect Tracy to be a factor THIS year. He looked slow and weak at times just as I was surprised last year. Again, nothing would make me happier than to be wrong. I also thought Brandon Smith wasn't a D1 receiver after a game last year, so I can be pretty wrong. Tracy was clearly a playmaker in a high quality HS program, so I'm rooting for him.
    He belongs here and out there. I like a 5 man rotation, and he's better than I expected. He's not as big as Smith, fast as ISM, quick as Ragiani, or (in my opinion) all around as Martin, but he has earned his spot in the WR rotation. I am thrilled for him!

    4) LB. I think there is real talent and depth here. As of yet, each guy seems to have a fly in his ointment. I have no idea how you pick a starter out of that list. Maybe 10 different guys have a chance. Need someone to take over and be a leader.
    I don't know how PP is doing it. Underwhelming (but effective) dline play, decimated dback scenario, and nondescript lb play. It's not that they haven't done good things, but I don't know that any are "stud" backers yet. We've missed some tackles but do what it takes when it seems to matter. I think Campbell plays this year more than 4 games.

    5). OL. Defense always ahead of the offense but Polasek laid into several dudes individually on the sideline. I'm not worried yet, but there were few big holes today, and it isn't because our d line is there yet
I'm incredibly impressed with L-bomb. He may already be among the best centers we've had here. The pass protection continues to be strong, and I think we've grown in proficiency and depth all along the line while losing snaps from an All-american level anchor in Jackson. This against two "odd" defensive fronts in Rutgers and ISU has been maybe the biggest surprise and success so far in my opinion.

In my neverending post, I'll pretend someone is reading and cares for few more thoughts:
* Stanley's mobility is more Big Ben than I remembered. He really doesn't get enough credit for his elusiveness in the passing game. He's incredibly efficient in hitting comeback routes with bullets, too. He's missed a few so far otherwise and likely will miss a few more. He's not perfect, but he's pretty damn good, and that's good enough to win the B1G. Remember if you have any doubts: with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, down 14-6, after an intentional grounding call, his laser beam first down throw. Accurate. Gutsy. Clutch.
*BF is becoming a stud. Dude is creating a diverse offense that takes the best the best of the past and melds it with what we need it to be going forward.
*AJE. I could not believe he wasn't a starter last year, but as fantastic as he is in production and talent, he will keep growing in adjustment to the protection he's facing.
*Togetherness. This team is growing together. Just amazing task centered team focus to overcome injury, the ISU scenario, etc. I don't see 8-4 anymore. Go Hawks!
 
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