This morning, the no. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes will kickoff their 2010 football season against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. The game takes place at Kinnick Stadium and is set for an 11:01 a.m. start.
Here’s hoping the Hawkeyes don’t squeak out a win in their season opener like last year’s 17-16 victory against Northern Iowa.
Coach Kirk Ferentz was quoted as saying on Tuesday about last year’s opener, “The moral of the story is there are not a lot of easy games and if you go into a game thinking it’s going to be anything less than competitive, you’re going to suffer for that. Northern Iowa was an excellent football team a year ago, and we expect Eastern Illinois to be a really good football team to be coming in here Saturday.”
Let’s take a look at the first game of the season and be optimistic last year’s start was an anomaly and not a tradition.
In their meeting today, it is the first time the two schools will face each other and the first time the Hawkeyes have played a member of the Ohio Valley conference. Last year the Panthers played Penn State during the season and let’s just say it didn’t go too well — a 52-3 loss.
Starting at quarterback today for the Panthers is redshirt sophmore Brandon Large. He will be taking his first Division 1 snap in Kinnick today. That could be a little intimidating.
Earlier in the week at his press conference, Ferentz named his four senior captains for the game: Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug, Ricky Stanzi and Julian Vandervelde. He also discussed the injury report and said linebacker Jeff Tarpinian is ok to play but center Josh Koeppel, cornerback Shaun Prater and running back Marcus Coker are still recovering from their injuries.
Sophmore Greg Castillo will start in Prater’s place at left corner with sophmore Micah Hyde on the right corner side.
Running back Jewel Hampton is not on the depth chart as he will sit out for his one-game suspension. Paki O’Meara will play backup to Adam Robinson.
Four true freshmen will see playing time today. These players include linebackers James Morris and Christian Kirksey, place kicker Mike Meyers and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.
Now let’s ask the following questions and see how their answers evolve over the next few weeks:
Who will be Iowa’s starting kicker? Will Meyers beat out Murray? How will Mossbrucker do?
How will the Hawkeyes play with a depleted running back stable? Can Adam Robinson carry the group? When Hampton returns, will he be back to form? Can Paki O’Meara step up now that Wegher is not playing?
How will the Hawkeye’s O-line play with its three newbies?
Can Mike Daniels and versatile Christian Ballard meet expectations?
And the question that lingers for me before every Iowa football game: Will good Stanzi or bad Stanzi show up? Can Stanzi be consistent?
I’ll catch up with you later today for some post-game analysis.
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Written by Debbie Baratz