Hawkeye football fills void left by suspensions

Many questions were answered by the Hawkeye football Week 1 depth chart, but the question of on-field play remains.

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Hawkeye football fills void left by suspensions

Iowa linebacker Kristian Welch avoids Nebraska wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El after intercepting a deflected pass during the Iowa/Nebraska football game in Memorial Stadium on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 56-14.

Iowa linebacker Kristian Welch avoids Nebraska wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El after intercepting a deflected pass during the Iowa/Nebraska football game in Memorial Stadium on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 56-14.

Joesph Cress

Iowa linebacker Kristian Welch avoids Nebraska wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El after intercepting a deflected pass during the Iowa/Nebraska football game in Memorial Stadium on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 56-14.

Joesph Cress

Joesph Cress

Iowa linebacker Kristian Welch avoids Nebraska wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El after intercepting a deflected pass during the Iowa/Nebraska football game in Memorial Stadium on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 56-14.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

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The official Week 1 depth chart for Iowa football is out, and with uncertainty surrounding positions from losing big names last season and suspensions this season, the start of a game plan to fill the voids is in place.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Hawkeye football going into the Northern Illinois game has been linebacker, with the loss of three strong defensive players.

Sophomore Nick Niemann and junior Amani Jones solidified their starting positions earlier in camp, with junior Kristian Welch being named to the final spot on Monday. Welch has notched 9 tackles and 1 interception in his 24 career games.

Four suspensions for the first game of the season because of violations of team policy have created big voids in the Iowa lineup. Junior defensive ends Brady Reiff and Cedrick Lattimore and junior offensive tackles Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson are unavailable against Northern Illinois.

At the defensive ends, junior Anthony Nelson and senior Parker Hesse are slated to start — nothing new for either of the two. Nelson will make his 15th career start after being named preseason second-team All-Big Ten, and Hesse has started in 34 career games thus far.

Nelson led the Hawkeyes on the edge in 2017, recording 7.5 sacks and 41 tackles overall. Hesse, on the other hand, ranked fourth on the team with 4 sacks to go along with 10.5 tackles for loss, which ranked second. Sophomores Chauncey Golston and A.J. Epenesa will back them up.

Redshirt freshman Mark Kallenberger and senior Dalton Ferguson will each make their first career start. Ferguson missed the majority of last season with an injury but has played in 23 games in his career.

With Jackson and Wirfs out, Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith and the rest of the stout Husky defense have the potential to cause trouble, so Kallenberger and Ferguson will need to step up if the Hawkeyes want to keep the potential havoc at bay.

A number of redshirt freshmen in addition to Kallenberger are listed as backups: Levi Duwa at center, Peyton Mansell coming in behind junior quarterback Nate Stanley, Djimon Colbert at weakside linebacker, and Josh Turner as the right cornerback.

True freshman Tyler Linderbaum comes into Week 1 as the backup for senior defensive tackle San Brincks. Brincks will make his first career start this week, but he collected a career-high 19 tackles last season.

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