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Local Sports

Football is in the air

Do you smell that?

Maybe you don’t smell anything, but I think it’s starting to smell a lot like football season.

Colfax-Mingo’s football team began its 2017 season officially Monday as the Tigerhawks are at it early in preparation for a Week 0 game against Saydel on Aug. 18.

The rest of the area football teams as well as the volleyball and cross country programs will get going officially on Monday. Most of the area programs are participating in some kind of camp this week.

Another hint that football season is near is the fact that Iowa State and Iowa are holding their annual media days this week.

I will be covering the Cyclones’ day Thursday morning in Ames and then will make the trek to Iowa City for some Saturday evening interviews.

Over in Ames, the biggest storyline from a broad perspective is can the Cyclones end their bowl game drought. Iowa State hasn’t won a bowl game since 2009, but it hasn’t been to one in a few years, too.

Offensively, the Cyclones have a chance to be really good.

The offensive line, with a healthy Jake Campos, will be better than they were a year ago.

And Iowa State gets quarterback Jacob Park in his second year with an entire offseason of training and brings back a solid group of wideouts led by Allen Lazard and a duo of backs in David Montgomery and Mike Warren.

The question marks coming into the season are mostly with the defensive side of the ball.

It’s hard not to like Joel Lanning the football player.

But when your quarterback from the year before becomes the starting middle linebacker before spring practice hits, that tells me that the linebackers may not be that good as a whole.

The defensive line is the worst unit for the Cyclones coming into the season.

The talent is there, but there’s too many unknowns and unproven players. The secondary has the chance to be good, but they aren’t very tall. That may be an issue against the tall wideouts in the Big 12.

The Vegas line for win totals for the Cylcones is 5 1/2.

That’s a tough bet to make because I could see Iowa State winning five or six games. I think they take a step forward though when it comes to wins.

The biggest storyline in Iowa City for the Hawkeyes is the quarterback battle.

Unfortunately, we won’t get much information on that battle as camp will only be a week deep at that point.

I think Nathan Stanley will be the guy, but we likely won’t hear any coach show their hand yet.

It will be fun to talk to last year’s true freshmen. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to speak with players like A.J. Epenesa and Tristan Wirfs because of Kirk Ferentz’s true-freshman rule of not speaking to the media.

We’ll have to go the coaches to find out which one of the freshman will play. I think Epenesa is a good bet as he will rotate on the defensive line.

Wirfs may get on the two deeps before season’s end, but unless there’s an injury, I don’t see him playing a ton. The freshmen wide receivers and defensive backs have the best chance to play besides Epenesa.

Speaking of wide receivers, I plan on speaking with Nick Easley for the first time.

The former Newton Cardinal is listed as a starter on the depth chart right now. It sounds like he will have a big role for the Hawks this season.

The schedule is tougher this season for Iowa.

The Hawks may be a better team with a worst record than last year. Expect a season around 7-5 or 8-4 this season. But when fans expect that type of year, Iowa seems to always surprise us.

That’s hard to predict. What’s not hard to predict is that football is here. And that’s awesome.

Contact Troy Hyde at
thyde@newtondailynews.com

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