Hawkeyes relish deep depth chart

If a starter goes down, the Hawkeyes boast capable replacements at multiple positions.

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Hawkeyes relish deep depth chart

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks during the second day of Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks during the second day of Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks during the second day of Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks during the second day of Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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It’s no secret Kirk Ferentz isn’t a fan of July depth charts.

What becomes a key talking point for fans and media alike, he has very little interest in. After all, the team hasn’t even started fall camp.

But the depth chart continues to be released every summer, and the same thing continues to happen.

With this year’s depth chart getting released just before Big Ten media days commenced last week, The Daily Iowan took a look at where some of Iowa’s backups could have the biggest impact.

Quarterback The Hawkeyes don’t want a backup to have any effect at this position. If one does, Iowa’s season could take a drastic turn.

As it stands, sophomore Peyton Mansell is Nate Stanley’s backup, while redshirt freshman Spencer Petras sits as the third-stringer.

Freshman Alex Padilla has even gotten in on the action, Ferentz said.

Mansell saw action in five games last season, completing 5 of 8 pass attempts for 83 yards and an interception. He also ran eight times for 31 yards and a touchdown.

“This is a really big growth time for young quarterbacks — June, July,” Ferentz said. “They’ve gone through spring practice, they’ve practiced in our offense … Now, when they go back and look at film, they can kind of put themselves in those shoes.”

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But Stanley hasn’t missed a start in his career, even when dealing with thumb issues last season, and the Hawkeyes hope for more of the same in 2019.

Running back Iowa has a deep backfield. That’s a good problem for a team to have.

With Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young, and Ivory Kelly-Martin — each of whom held the starting role at one point or another last season — set as the top three backs, the Hawkeyes probably won’t need a ton of help in the backfield, barring injury.

While Ferentz said the top three slots are filled, he also noted two others who could see time, potentially in garbage time or if an injury comes about: Shadrick Byrd and Tyler Goodson.

Neither player has experience in the college game, and although Ferentz said the position is full, that could change at some point during the season.

“It’s going to be a tougher position to crack into than maybe a different position,” Ferentz said.

Cornerback Unlike the running backs and quarterbacks, this group is experienced. In fact, it might be the Hawkeyes’ deepest position group.

Behind starters Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins sit sophomores Julius Brents and Riley Moss.

Both impressed observers when thrust into starting roles last season. In their first college start, against Minnesota on Oct. 6, Moss intercepted 2 passes, and Brents snagged 1.

The duo has kept the secondary competitive, and it has helped both Ojemudia and Hankins.

“The competition at the back end, it definitely helps us every day,” Ojemudia said. “Competition brings success, and playing against dudes who want your spot or playing against guys that are being competitive, it helps you bring the best out of yourself.”

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