Akrum Wadley’s experiment on defense, Wisconsin’s left-handed quarterback and a rare top-10 visit to Kinnick are part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily does of Iowa football news and notes.
1. Akrum Wadley got right to the point when he described his experimental move to cornerback during fall camp in 2015.
“It was a disaster,’’ the Iowa running back said. Wadley sampled the position for four days prior to his sophomore year, but was more than ready for a return to the offensive backfield.
“By the end, I was pretty eager to move back to offense,’’ Wadley said. “I think if I had some time there, I could get comfortable but not when the start of the season was a week away. I wasn’t Desmond (King) or (Greg) Mabin.’’
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Wadley didn’t seem overly committed to the move, but has made the most of his return to running back since.
“That was in camp and we were having some marital issues at that point, I guess,’’ Ferentz said. “We kind of were going through some things, but he ended up back at running back and that’s when he started his climb.’’
2. Iowa is preparing to face a 3-4 defensive front for the first time this season, among the challenges Wisconsin will present the Hawkeye offense in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Kinnick Stadium.
“They’ll bring any of their four backers and that adds to it,’’ Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard said. “It’s a different look, the first time we’ve seen it this year, so we’re working on that this week. It changes things up a bit.’’
3. One of the most veteran players on the Wisconsin defense is nearing a return to action, possibly on Saturday at Iowa.
Linebacker Vince Biegel is working out this week after missing two games and three weeks since undergoing foot surgery on Sept. 29. He is officially listed as “questionable’’ for the Iowa game. Coach Paul Chryst said Monday that Biegel’s work in practice this week will determine if he takes the field at Kinnick Stadium.
Biegel has 32 career starts for Wisconsin.
4. Ranked 10th this week, Wisconsin will be the first top-10 team to visit Kinnick Stadium since 2010.
That year, eighth-ranked Ohio State defeated Iowa 20-17 in the last of three games at Kinnick that season involving top-10 opponents.
Iowa defeated a fifth-rated Michigan State team at home that year and lost to a 10th-ranked Wisconsin team.
The Hawkeyes have played only three top-10 opponents since that 2010 game against the Buckeyes, losing at fourth-rated Ohio State in 2013 and losing last season to fifth-ranked Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and fifth-rated Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Kirk Ferentz-coached Iowa teams are 4-6 at Kinnick Stadium against opponents ranked in the top 10.
5. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook will present Iowa with at least one unique challenge this week.
The redshirt freshman will be the first left-handed quarterback the Hawkeyes have faced this season.
“That makes things a little different,’’ defensive tackle Nathan Bazata said. “He’ll roll out to his right, so it’s a bit of a change that we’re adjusting to, just part of the game.’’
6. The Hawkeyes will use the upcoming bye week in hopes of creating some clarity in back-up roles.
Jack Hockaday is listed as the second-team player at both middle and weakside linebacker, slipping ahead of Aaron Mends and Amani Jones as the back-up for Bo Bower at the weakside position.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said that is a reflection of where things stood after last week’s Purdue game.
“It’s clearly cloudy right now,’’ he said. “Maybe we’ll get some things cleared up next week during the bye week. After Bo right now, it would be Hockaday quite frankly.’’
7. Josey Jewell currently ranks sixth in the Big Ten in tackles. The junior middle linebacker is averaging 8.7 stops per game.
Jewell has 238 tackles in his Iowa career, ranking 37th on the Hawkeyes’ all-time list and within 10 of the numbers posted by Pat Angerer, Merton Hanks, Mel Cole and Leven Weiss during their careers at Iowa.
8. Scholarship offer letters to recruits that Iowa sends out to players who have verbally committed include a line that requests that players not take visits to other schools after committing.
That’s standard fare, and it has been ignored by a handful of recruits the Hawkeyes have verbal commitments from as part of their 2017 recruiting class.
Two four-star recruits from Texas, running back Eno Benjamin and cornerback Chevin Calloway, have taken visits elsewhere and a third, defensive back Matt Hankins, is expected to visit Michigan this weekend.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said he considers the suggestion to be just that, a policy rather than a hard-and-fast rule.
“It’s like anything else, you decide every individual case and go from there,’’ Ferentz said. “I think it’s good to have policies and beliefs, and hopefully everybody that’s on board is on board and goes with us.’’
9. Former Hawkeye Tevaun Smith was placed on the active roster for the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.
Smith, who signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent, was promoted from the team’s practice squad after receiver Quan Bray was place on the injured reserve list by the Colts.
Smith had been part of Indianapolis’ practice squad since being waived during final roster cuts in early September.
10. The Big Ten Networks’ new BTN Tailgate show will broadcast live from the Krause Family Plaza just south of Kinnick Stadium between 9:30-11 a.m. on Saturday.
Fans are invited to watch the network’s new college football pregame show as it happens.