As the Iowa Hawkeyes prepare to enter spring football, the team faces five burning defensive questions that could determine their success in the upcoming season.
Firstly, how will the Hawkeyes protect against the big plays that plagued them in 2018? Iowa allowed 16 plays of 50 yards or more last season, tied for the most in the Big Ten and ranking 73rd nationally. The Hawkeyes are in need of a defensive coordinator who can limit these plays and maintain a level of consistency.
Secondly, how will the Hawkeyes replace the production of All-American linebacker Josey Jewell? Jewell racked up 124 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks in 2018. Finding a replacement for his production and leadership will be no easy task.
Thirdly, can the Hawkeyes build a reliable secondary? Iowa’s defensive backs allowed more passing yards than all but one team in the Big Ten last season. If the Hawkeyes are to have a successful 2019 campaign, they must bolster their secondary.
Fourthly, can the Hawkeyes develop a pass rush? The Hawkeyes recorded only 19 sacks in 2018, tied for the fewest in the conference. In order to prevent big plays, the Hawkeyes must generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Finally, can the Hawkeyes shore up their run defense? Iowa allowed 5.3 yards per carry in 2018, tied for the most in the Big Ten. A stout run defense is essential for Big Ten success, and the Hawkeyes must make improvements in this area if they are to achieve their goals.
As the Hawkeyes enter spring football, these five defensive questions will be at the forefront of their minds. If the Hawkeyes can answer these questions satisfactorily, they will be poised for success in the 2019 season.