True freshmen set to make impact on defense, and other things we learned at Iowa's Week 1 media session

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks to reporters during Iowa football media day on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Among the questions college football fans tend to ask at the start of a new season is which freshmen, and how many, will make a difference. Kirk Ferentz highlighted four who will have some notable role in 2018.

The Iowa football coach said defensive backs Julius Brents and Riley Moss, linebacker Dillon Doyle and defensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum will play Saturday.

Linderbaum and Brents are both listed on the Hawkeyes’ two-deep, at left defensive tackle and left cornerback, respectively.

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“It’s a little different world than years past with the redshirt flexibility rules available to us,” Ferentz said. “But it’s probably more prominent for us on defense right now. We have four true freshmen we plan to play.

“Start in the backend where we’re a little bit thin. Juluis Brents and Riley Moss have both done a good job and we expect them to be in our two-deep and playing on special teams. Same to be said about Dillon Doyle at linebacker and then Tyler Linderbaum up front.”

The new redshirt rule gives Ferentz some leeway with just how big those freshmen’s roles we’ll be.

“We’ll see how it goes week-to-week,” Ferentz said. “But pretty much the way our schedule pans out, we’ll come up for air in three weeks, four weeks. And reassess everything.” 

Scholarship update

Ferentz announced that four previous walk-ons are now on scholarship. Along with Dalton Ferguson, who’ll have a big impact in Week 1, wide receiver Kyle Groeneweg, tight end Nate Wieting and fullback Austin Kelly are now on scholarship.   

“Those guys have more than paid their dues,” Ferentz said. “It’s a really gratifying.”

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O-line status

It’s well-known that Iowa will be down its two starting tackles Saturday, after the offseason suspensions of Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs

Ferentz announced on the Big Ten teleconference that Mark Kallenberger, Ferguson and Levi Paulsen will rotate at the two spots, but he still admitted there’s concern with two starters absent.

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Ongoing competition at linebacker

The position group with arguably the most question marks entering camp was linebacker. Amani Jones (MLB), Kristian Welch (WLB) and Nick Niemann (OLB) are the listed starters, but Ferentz said that completion could easily continue through the season. 

“I still at this point, Ferentz said, “see it being a four- to five-, maybe six-player competition.”

Barrington Wade, Jack Hockaday and Djimon Colbert are the listed backups on the two-deep.  


Ferentz has named Parker Hesse, Jake Gervase, Nate Stanley and Brady Ross as captains for Saturday.  

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.