Quick takes: Rick Brown's Iowa spring game observations
Some quick observations from Iowa's spring scrimmage Saturday at Kinnick Stadium:
BEATHARD'S TEAM: C.J. Beathard took the field as the starting quarterback. He completed 16 of his 30 passes for 156 yards. Beathard threw several deep – and incomplete -- balls. Twice he went to Matt VandeBerg, two more to Tevaun Smith. On one, Smith quit on the route and the pass went over his head. Beathard also overthrew Smith for a touchdown in the final quarter.
Beathard's biggest oops moment came on an empty-backfield set, when he telegraphed a pass that safety Brandon Snyder picked off in the left flat and returned 35 yards. It was Beathard's lone interception.
RUNNING BACKS: Derrick Mitchell, a converted wide receiver, showed some spunk as a running back. LeShun Daniels and Jordan Canzeri saw limited action. Akrum Wadley had some good carries.
DEFENSE LEADS: As we saw in the public scrimmage at Valley two weeks ago, the defense is ahead of the offense at this point in the development of this team. Iowa's running game has a long ways to go. The offensive line didn't get much of a push.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE LINEBACKERS: Starters Ben Niemann, Josey Jewell and Bo Bower were solid on Saturday. Jewell seems more at home in the middle.
KOEHN SHOWS HIS STUFF: Marshall Koehn survived a rocky start last season to make 10 of his first 11 field-goal attempts. The placekicking job is clearly his now. He made field goals of 32, 34 and 44 yards in the first half Saturday.
THE PUNTER…: Well, not so solid. Dillon Kidd, Connor Kornbrath and Koehn all punted on Saturday. No one stood out. Which brings to mind a variation of the old line: If you have three punters, do you really have none?
PASS CATCHERS: Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said Wednesday that after the first three wide receivers (Smith, Jacob Hillyer, VandeBerg), no one had stepped up to show they deserve time on the field. Translation: Depth at wide receiver is an issue. Maybe that's why Josh Jackson has been moved from defensive back to wide receiver (he dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball from Tyler Wiegers in the fourth quarter). And the three incoming wide receivers – Adrian Falconer, Jerminic Smith and Emmanuel Ogwo – could have a chance for immediate playing time.
Check back with HawkCentral.com later Saturday for more details.