April 8, 2008

Spring Preview: Defensive Backs

There will be a new look to Iowa's defensive backfield in 2008 as starting cornerbacks Charles Godfrey and Adam Shada have exhausted their eligibility. Along with an interesting battle at cornerback, the safety positions appear to be a competitive situation as well.

THE FACTS

Position Coach: Phil Parker

Starters Lost: (3) Charles Godfrey and Adam Shada. Devin Moylan started early last season at safety and will not seek a 6th year of eligibility.

Starters Returning: (2) Harold Dalton and Brett Greenwood

Spring Two Deep

RC: Jordan Bernstine, Drew Gardner
LC: Bradley Fletcher, Chris Rowell
SS: Harold Dalton, Tyler Sash or Lance Tillison
FS: Brett Greenwood, Diauntae Morrow

THE ANALYSIS

Coach Phil Parker will have plenty of youth to work with at defensive back this fall, but the good news is that he has some field experience returning at all positions this spring.

At safety, Iowa returns Brett Greenwood and Harold Dalton as starters. Dalton started every game last year and had some good moments to go along with struggles. This spring, the senior safety is getting a strong push from redshirt freshman Tyler Sash, who has been getting quite a few reps this spring with the #1 group. Expect the challenge from Sash to continue into fall camp as he tries to gain the starting spot in the lineup. One player that will also be in the mix is Lance Tillison, who has shown flashes of being a very good prospect.

Greenwood jumped into the lineup and started the final seven games for the Hawkeyes in 2007. After a rough outing at Penn State, Greenwood showed steady improvement, became more comfortable, and started to really fly to the football. The highlight of his 2007 season may have been a late game interception against Illinois, which helped to secure the victory. But, Greenwood isn't going to hold on to the starting spot without a fight as sophomore Diauntae Morrow has made significant strides in the off season and is one of the better overall athletes on the team. Sophomore Nick Kuchel is currently third team at safety and will contribute on special teams.

At cornerback, the Hawkeyes are hoping to replace a wealth of experience and right now the position is fairly unsettled. Bradley Fletcher has started several games in his Iowa career and filled in nicely last season when Adam Shada was sidelined late in the year due to an ankle injury. He looks to have a pretty decent hold on his spot in the lineup heading into the fall. On the other side, projected starter Jordan Bernstine is sitting out this spring after off-season shoulder surgery. While it would have been preferred that Bernstine participate in spring drills and get the valuable practice time with the first unit, the long term health of the highly recruited prep was paramount.

Backing up at cornerback this spring will be senior Drew Gardner and junior Chris Rowell. Gardner certainly made a bit of a name for himself in the Michigan State game with his tackle in overtime that gave Iowa a much needed victory. Rowell has yet to really break into the lineup, so this will be a big spring for him to show that he belongs in the mix before several talented true freshmen arrive in the fall.

Clearly, depth is an issue in the defensive backfield this spring, but the good news is that help is on the way with a six true freshmen and the return of Amari Spievey from junior college in the fal.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

(CB)Greg Castillo - 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds from Mount Laurel, NJ
(S)David Cato - 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds from Arlington, TX
(CB)William Lowe - 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds from Cleveland, OH
(CB)DeMarco Paine - 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds from St. Louis, MO
(CB)Shaun Prater -5-foot-11 and 172 pounds from Omaha, NE
(CB)Amari Spievey - 6-foot and 190 pounds from Middletown, CT
(S)Jack Swanson - 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds from Naples, FL


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