IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa football holds Kids Day on Saturday. It starts at noon, ET. The young ones will get autographs and then everyone will settle into Kinnick Stadium to watch the Hawkeyes practice.
Here are five things to watch for during the open practice:
Who gets the first-team quarterback reps?
Eyes will be on the quarterbacks as it’s the biggest position battle. Nathan Stanley and Tyler Wiegers were both receiving first-team reps at the start of camp.
Will one run more with the first team than the other?
Fans will be scrutinizing their play after both turned in subpar spring performances. One practice in August is a small sample size to judge player progress. How the reps are handed out may be a better indication of performance and if one quarterback is pulling ahead.
Who will play at wide receiver?
Matt VandeBerg is written into one starting spot. Junior college All-American Nick Easley is a favorite to claim a second spot after an impressive first few months on campus.
How the rest of the wide receiver depth chart plays out is anyone’s guess. Where does Adrian Falconer fall after a good start to camp?
Is there a freshman standing out and running with the first- or second-team offense?
There are questions with the wide receivers. Saturday will be the first chance to see answers.
Will there be any shifting on the defensive line?
The open practice likely isn’t the spot to see how the experiment of moving defensive ends such as Matt Nelson to defensive tackle is working.
But it is worth keeping an eye on if any ends slide inside.
It’s also worth watching the defensive line rotation. Who starts next to Nathan Bazata at defensive tackle? Where does 5-star All-American A.J. Epenesa stand in the defensive end pecking order?
How does Iowa use James Butler?
Fans won’t get an indication of how Iowa plans to split carries between running backs Akrum Wadley and James Butler on Saturday. However, the Hawkeyes may show how they will utilize Butler.
Does he line up in the slot like offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz hinted at? How does Iowa incorporate him into the passing game?
Butler is versatile and can do a lot for the Hawkeyes. His role may start to come into focus Saturday.
Who starts off as the nickel back?
Unless someone surprises in camp there may not be a starting position open in the secondary. The nickel back is a different story.
Returning cornerback Michael Ojemudia is in the mix and so are newcomers, including Josh Turner and Matt Hankins.
There are so many new faces in the secondary defensive coordinator Phil Parker likely needs everyone to wear nametags. It’s also worth monitoring which players fill out the secondary with the second-team defense.