The Iowa football team returns eight starters on offense, after averaging 26.3 points per game in 2013.
But when it comes to the backups, coach Kirk Ferentz has his concerns. Especially on the offensive line.
“It’s like four guys who are pretty experienced, and then after that, it’s feast or famine,” Ferentz said. “It’s pretty much like the JV after that.”
Left tackle Brandon Scherff skipped the NFL draft so he could return for his senior year at Iowa. Center Austin Blythe and right guard Jordan Walsh also started last fall. Right tackle Andrew Donnal saw plenty of action. Left guard Sean Welsh is a redshirt freshman.
After that, things get a little sketchy.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Ferentz said. “The good news is, they’re going against good guys on our defense, so that will help harden them up a little bit.”
Ferentz and Dave Wannstedt both grew up in the Pittsburgh area, but the Fox Sports analyst expressed an admiration that goes beyond childhood roots.
“The great thing about Kirk is his consistency,” Wannstedt said. “When you think of Iowa football, you think of consistency, you think of toughness.
“I’ve studied it close enough over the years, if I had a son I’d want him going to Iowa and playing for Kirk. You just get that feeling of how he’s going to be treated as a person.”
Iowa’s latest football roster includes defensive end Torey Hendrick, but junior transfer is still in the process of becoming eligible. He has not signed a letter of intent, but is expected to be on campus when fall classes start. He won’t be able to play until the 2015 season.