Sports reporter Chris Cuellar takes a look at what's ahead for Hawkeyes sports, including the return of basketball and wrestling in Iowa City.
As you might expect after a bye week, Iowa’s football health in improving.
The Hawkeyes’ latest depth chart listed Boone Myers as the starting left tackle, nine days after he missed the 17-9 home loss to Wisconsin with an ankle injury.
While depth charts at Iowa should never be treated as definitive, it’s a positive indicator that Myers is expected to return for Saturday’s game at No. 23 Penn State (6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).
The Hawkeyes listed Monday the same starting offensive line that was used once, at Minnesota in a 14-7 win. From left to right: Myers, Ike Boettger, James Daniels, Sean Welsh and Cole Croston.
The up-front blocking would also get a boost if tight end George Kittle were to be at full strength in State College, Pa. Kittle started against Wisconsin, but only played during the first half and was ineffective while laboring through a lower-leg injury he suffered Oct. 15 at Purdue. Kittle is one of Iowa’s most productive run blockers, not to mention a capable pass-game target with 17 catches for 280 yards this fall.
Kittle was listed as the No. 1 tight end Monday.
Also listed as a starter was junior defensive tackle Nathan Bazata, who suffered a lower-leg injury against Wisconsin. Bazata has made 22 consecutive starts.
Also slightly notable on the depth chart — which head coach Kirk Ferentz said Oct. 18 that he would try to smooth out during the bye — was the return of a No. 3 wide receiver position for the first time since Matt VandeBerg suffered a broken foot after Week 4.
Jay Scheel is now the listed starter at No. 3 receiver spot that was previously VandeBerg's; Scheel had been a listed backup to Jerminic Smith. Now, true freshman Devonte Young is listed as the backup to Smith and Scheel, while Riley McCarron remained the No. 1 slot receiver with Ronald Nash as his backup.
Ferentz addresses Iowa media at approximately 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.