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Posts Tagged ‘Nolan MacMillan’

A look at the offensive line

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Projected starters – LT Riley Reiff (6-6, 300, so.); LG Julian Vandervelde (6-3, 300, sr.); RG Adam Gettis (6-4, 280, jr.); RT Markus Zusevics (6-5, 295, jr.); C Josh Koeppel (6-2, 273, sr.) or James Ferentz (6-2, 275, so.)

Top reserves – Cody Hundertmark (6-4, 285, jr.), Woody Orne (6-5, 295, jr.), Brett Van Sloten (6-7, 290, fr.), Matt Tobin (6-6, 285, so.), Kyle Haganman (6-5, 285, sr.)

Futures – Nolan MacMillan (6-6, 288, fr.), Connor Bofelli (6-5, 285, fr.), Andrew Donnal (6-7, 285, fr.), Brandon Scherff (6-5, 310, fr.), Casey McMillan (6-4, 305, so.), Drew Clark (6-4, 288, fr.)

This is the biggest question mark area on the entire Iowa team and it undoubtedly will be a work in progress as the Hawkeyes prepare for the start of Big Ten play. The major building block is Reiff, who started 11 games at three different positions while earning third-team freshman All-American honors last season. He figures to be the starting left tackle for the next three years. Vandervelde brings the most experience with 24 career starts. After that come the question marks.

Gettis and Zusevics, two juniors from the Chicago area, have slowly worked their way up the depth chart through the years but both have limited playing experience. Gettis started one game last season. Zusevics, a former high school volleyball star, never has started. Neither have either of the two players battling for the starting center job. Koeppel has been in the program longer but don’t be surprised if the coach’s son beats him out for the job.

Hundertmark, who moved from defense to offense at the end of last season, was described by Kirk Ferentz last spring as the only other offensive lineman who looked ready to play at that point although he saw very limited action in the Kids Day scrimmage last week. Orne started seven games as a freshman at South Dakota State in 2008, but still seems to be adjusting to a higher level of competition. Everyone else except Haganman is just beginning to figure out what they’re doing.

A player to watch might be Nolan MacMillan, a Canadian who is nearly 20 years old but still has four years of eligibility remaining.

Bulaga gone, but reinforcements on hand

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

A few thoughts on Iowa’s offensive line situation as I sit here killing time in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, waiting for Delta Airlines to find a way to get me home from Miami:

I hope Bryan Bulaga knows what he’s doing. Iowa’s junior left tackle has declared for this spring’s NFL draft and while there never has been any doubt that Bulaga was destined to play in the pros, I would have liked his chances a lot more with one more year of college. He could be a late first-round pick this time. Had he waited, he might have been a top-five guy.

One concern is that Bulaga, although very mature both physically and emotionally, will not turn 21 years old until March 21. There weren’t any players in the NFL this season under the age of 21. In fact, the youngest player in the history of the league was Houston Texans defensive lineman Amobi Okoye, who was two months past his 20th birthday when he debuted in 2007.

This puts it in perspective: Riley Reiff, the redshirt freshman who figures to replace Bulaga at left tackle for the Hawkeyes, is actually three months older than Bulaga.

I just hope he’s not jumping too soon.

Even without Bulaga, Dace Richardson, Rafael Eubanks and Kyle Calloway, Iowa is going to have a good offensive line next season.

My guess at a projected starting lineup:

LT – Reiff. Reminiscent of Ross Verba in that he’s not overly big but very efficient. If he holds this position for the next three years, he would be 24 by the time he plays his final college game.

LG – Adam Gettis. Once he gets some experience and improves his pass blocking, he should be a star.

C – Josh Koeppel. He pushed Rafael Eubanks for the job this fall and could finally get his chance as a senior.

RG – Julian Vandervelde. Davenport native will be the leader of this group. If another guard emerges, he could get moved to center.

RT – Nolan MacMillan. After a year of prep school and a redshirt year, the Canadian native is about as physically mature as any freshman around.

Cody Hundertmark, who moved recently from defense to offense, could figure in the mix somewhere, too, as could James Ferentz, Kyle Haganman, Markus Zusevics, Casey McMillan and others. There were five other freshman offensive linemen who were redshirted this season. There’s more depth and talent here than people realize.

Davis best bet to play as true freshman

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The Hawkeyes used seven true freshmen last season, many more than in most years, and it would be very surprising to see that many first-year players see the field this sea-son. Our guess is that as few as three or four true frosh will play this fall.

We won’t have any answers until Kirk Ferentz’s first weekly news conference a week from now, but one guy that seems almost certain to get extensive playing time is highly regarded wide receiver recruit Keenan Davis of Cedar Rapids Washington.

Davis took a few snaps with the No. 1 offense in the Hawkeyes’ public scrimmage and looked very smooth. He appeared to be as fast and as elusive as any receiver on the team.

Who else? Maybe Micah Hyde. He was the Northwest Ohio offensive player of the year as a quarterback last fall, but he could be pressed into service very early on the de-fensive side of the ball, simply because that’s a major need area for the Hawks right now. Starting cornerback Jordan Bernstine is out for the season with an injury and his backup, Shaun Prater (who played as a true freshman last fall), is suspended for the first two games.

Another possibility is Jordan Cotton, son of former Hawkeye and Davenport Central star Marshall Cotton. He figures to be far down the depth chart at receiver, but could have an immediate impact as a return man.

The only other reasonable possibilities are running back Brandon Wegher; Josh Brown, who could end up at either running back or defensive back but has the makings of a good special teams guy; Shane DiBona, who could find a place far down the depth chart at linebacker; and Nolan MacMillan, a prep school recruit who supposedly has looked very good in the offensive line. The O-line is perhaps the deepest area on the team, however. MacMillan would have to be really good to break into that mix.