There’s a lot of debate over what is the most critical aspect of spring drills for the Hawkeyes.
Some feel it’s replacing Shonn Greene. Some feel it’s replacing Mitch King and Matt Kroul. I’m confident the Hawkeyes will have a solid running attack and I think they’ll find a couple of solid defensive tackles, even if it means moving Adrian Clayborn inside.
The biggest thing may be continued development at the quarterback position.
Ricky Stanzi played very well at times, especially in the second half of the season, but he’s going to need to play an even larger role next fall. With Greene gone, the Hawkeyes need to be more bal-anced. And if something happens to Stanzi, there needs to be someone ready to step into the breach.
Ferentz said the biggest improvement he wants to see from Stanzi is in decision-making.
“If you look back at our losses, turnovers and inexperience were the two things that cost us last year,’’ he said.
That being said, he loves the way Stanzi responded to turnovers. After Illinois scored on a turn-over, the sophomore bounced back to lead the Hawkeyes down the field. After two turnovers in the third quarter against Penn State, he played some of his best football of the season in the fourth quarter to lead a huge upset.
“There’s a resiliency there that’s impressive,’’ Ferentz said. “Guys that can take negatives and keep playing. We just need to cut down on some of those negatives.’’
As for a backup behind Stanzi, it apparently still is a toss-up between redshirt freshmen John Wienke and James Vandenberg.
“They’re very similar,’’ Ferentz said. “They love football. They love being on the field. It kind of makes you feel good just being around them.
“They compete hard and yet they like each other. It’s an interesting dynamic.’’