Let’s hope we hear this song over and over and over again this fall QCI-ders! QCI Hawkeye Football Correspondent, Howard Jones is back. And here’s his 2008 Iowa Defense Preview! GO HAWKS!

Greetings again QCI-ders, Howard Jones here to cure your jonesin’ for more Hawkeye football:

Thanks for all the tremendous feedback from volume 1 of the Hawkeye preview. It’s an honor to serve such a loyal and committed readership. Let’s head back to the trenches to discuss the monumental strength of this Iowa football team the Defensive line:

DL: Matt Kroul and Mitch King are two of the best players on the team and the best DT combo in the Big 10 right now. King and Kroul are reasons I love Iowa FB. They are tough, strong and local. Kroul is from Mt. Vernon and King is from beautiful Burlington. They should eat up lots of blockers allowing young stud DE Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard to wreak havoc on the outside. Ballard and Clayborn had stretches last year against MSU and NW where they absolutely dominated. I’m almost giddy at the prospect of seeing them full time this year.

Again, my biggest concern on this unit is depth. If King or Kroul go down for any extended period of time this could really put the defense in a position where they are reaching to find the right pieces to fill the puzzle. The good news is that both King and Kroul have starting streaks nearing an all-time records at Iowa and seem to be very durable. The guys behind King and Kroul are either young or completely untested. That said; I am excited about Cody Hundertmark from Humblodt. He certainly looks the part and should be tough, strong and local…

Prognosis: Look for this unit to be dominant and at times control games. They should be stout against the run and they should also be able to get a strong pass rush as well. It will be interesting to see if the coaches implement more of a rotation this year than they have in years past to keep the starting 4 fresh and effective.

LB: I’m nothing if not someone who hates to raise expectations but I’m just going to go ahead and do it. AJ EDDS IS THE NEXT CHAD GREENWAY. Book it. The kid is fast and can cover in a similar manner to Greenway. I couldn’t be happier about watching Edds for the next two years as offensive coordinators think because he’s from Indiana he’s an automatic mismatch against a RB or TE. There is an interesting battle shaping up at MLB between Jacody Coleman and Pat Angerer. Angerer obviously leads in the name department but Coleman leads in the disregard your own safety and hit them as hard as you can department (AKA imitation of Bob Sanders). Filling the last spot will likely be Jeremiah Hunter from Pennsylvania. Hunter was a top 10 linebacker recruit a couple years ago and looks like he has the tools to continue the great tradition of impact LB at Iowa. Jeff Tarpinian had a lead on Hunter in the spring but Tarp has been banged up nearly his entire Hawkeye career and may have fallen a step behind Hunter at this point.

Prediction: My reaction after watching Coleman and Angerer both split time last year when Klinkenborg went down was that we’d see Coleman on running downs and Angerer on passing downs. I don’t know if the split will be that defined this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get them both on the field a lot this year. Also, don’t be surprised against spread teams to see a 4 LB set with both Tarp and Hunter on the field at the same time.

DB: I’m most excited about Jordan Bernstein. He was the most highly sought after recruit in Iowa 2 years ago and was an immediate contributor on special teams. He’s been battling injuries so far in his Hawkeye career but if he can get healthy he has the athleticism to be an immediate impact player. Look for Bradley Fletcher to start opposite Bernstein. Fletcher was burned badly in the 06 game again MN, to the point where the dermatologist actually recommended he put some aloe on it. however, when he filled in for Adam Shada last year he performed much better. Another factor in the CB competition will be Amari Spivey who was sequestered to Ft. Lauderdodge last year while rehabbing his grades. He was a standout performer for Iowa Central Community College on both Defense and Special Teams.

Safety may be the deepest position on the Hawkeye roster right now. Continuing the great tradition of walk-on safeties of Derek Pagel and Sean Considine is Brett Greenwood from Pleasant Valley. Greenwood struggled early last year but made some key plays late in the season (Illinois). Starting opposite of him will likely be Harold Dalton. Although Lance Tillison and Tyler Sash are both getting a lot of positive comments from the coaching staff as well.

Optimism: A D-backs best friend is a good pass rush. And the Hawks look to have the tools to keep the pressure on opposing QB and off their young and inexperienced defensive backfield.

Final Thoughts:
Expect this Defense to be tough starting with the D-line. We’ll see a lot of 2nd and 3rd and longs. Let’s hope they can convert those 3rd and longs into 3 and outs at a higher rate than they have in previous years. There are not many offenses that can succeed when the defense can get pressure with 4 guys. Just ask the New England Patriots…

2. Look for the amount of nickel and 3-4 defense this team plays against the spread offenses. With speed and athleticism at least at the top of the depth chart at both DB and LB there should be some ability to counter those 5 WR sets that are so popular in College FB today.

3. Sit back and enjoy Mitch King and Matt Kroul work. It will be sad to seem them go on Sr. Day.