Iowa football: Tackles Alaric Jackson, Tristan Wirfs back as starters against Iowa State
The Iowa football roster looks be at or near full strength entering Saturday’s 4 p.m. matchup against Iowa State.
The Hawkeyes’ game-week depth chart, released Monday, revealed that the two 320-pound offensive tackles who were suspended for Iowa’s 33-7 win against Northern Illinois are back in the starting lineup.
Sophomore Alaric Jackson was the listed No. 1 at left tackle, and Tristan Wirfs was No. 1 at right tackle. That indicates that both players met all the conditions for their return set by head coach Kirk Ferentz.
While the rotating trio of Dalton Ferguson, Levi Paulsen and Mark Kallenberger filled in admirably at tackle against Northern Illinois, Jackson and Wirfs should make a notable difference. They’re arguably Iowa’s two best offensive linemen, and the Cyclones’ best position group might be their defensive line.
A few other things to note on Iowa’s depth chart:
Jack Hockaday is now listed as the starting middle linebacker over Amani Jones, who appeared to have that job on lockdown after an impressive spring and fall camp. But Jones was pulled in favor of Hockaday after just 14 snaps with the first unit. Kristian Welch (weak-side) and Nick Niemann (outside), who both had strong games vs. Northern Illinois, are Iowa’s other linebacker starters.
The Hawkeyes are getting some depth back at defensive tackle, with Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff back on the depth chart. Both players were suspended for Week 1, which led Iowa’s coaches to trim down their defensive-line rotation. They usually like to play eight guys, but they mostly went with six vs. the Huskies. Chauncey Golston, who played 40 snaps vs. Northern Illinois at defensive tackle, is back to his more natural position at defensive end.
Ivory Kelly-Martin remains the listed first-team running back. The sophomore suffered a left-ankle injury late in Saturday’s opener, so this is a good sign he should be available against the Cyclones.
Saturday's game will be televised by Fox. Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Holly Sonders are the announcers.