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It may go against Iowa’s perception, but the offensive line is one of the areas that needs the most improvement in 2022. Typically the biggest position of strength for Iowa, the offensive line was a bit of a disappointment in 2021.
While center Tyler Linderbaum was fantastic once again—there’s a reason the first-round 2023 NFL draft selection has already impressed his new team before even taking a single snap for Baltimore—the rest of the offensive line suffered from some inexperience last year. However, in Pete Fiutak’s preview of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ 2022 season for College Football News, he sees a bounceback year in store.
Seriously, Iowa? The offensive line was a problem? That’s the most amazing part about the 2021 run to the Big Ten Championship – Iowa was able to do that even though the program’s signature position group was way too ineffective for way too long.
Oh sure, Tyler Linderbaum was a special center, and there was all-star consideration at some other spots, but the line was dead last in the Big Ten in tackles for loss allowed, struggled in pass protection, and blocked for the 101st-ranked running game in the country.
The interior needs a reboot with all the lost parts, but Mason Richman is a good young tackle, there’s experience at right tackle, and it’s Iowa. This is going to be fixed. – Fiutak, College Football News.
As mentioned, Mason Richman is certainly a player to keep an eye on. Starting 12 games last year as a redshirt freshman, there definitely were some growing pains, but star potential is there.
He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention choice by both the Big Ten coaches and media in a conference known for great offensive line play. The 6-foot-6, 296 pound product of Leawood, Kan., definitely gained some extremely valuable experience to take another leap forward in 2022.
As detailed in our Iowa offensive line overview, Connor Colby is a guard Hawkeye fans should be very excited for. Iowa trusted Colby so much to start him at right guard each of the team’s final 11 games of last season as a true freshman. He wasn’t perfect, but as he gains experience and really gets the fundamentals down, he can be the next great Iowa guard.
Redshirt junior Justin Britt is back after starting Iowa’s first three games of last season at right guard and the Hawkeyes also return redshirt junior Nick DeJong and redshirt senior Jack Plumb. DeJong started Iowa’s first seven games at right tackle and Plumb started the final seven. DeJong also had a pair of starts at left tackle in 2021.
The Hawkeyes have a healthy competition underway at center heading into fall camp. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Elsbury was listed atop the depth chart to begin the spring with redshirt senior Matt Fagan and redshirt sophomore Logan Jones as the No. 2 and No. 3 options. Jones will be interesting to track moving into fall camp as he is making the switch from the defensive line to center.
The other starters to begin the spring were Richman at left tackle, Britt at left guard, Colby at right guard and Plumb at right tackle.
If you haven’t sensed the theme with this Iowa offensive line yet, it is pretty much the next generation. Last season was a year for growth, for gaining experience. The young budding stars now know what to expect in the Big Ten and will keep on growing. Look out for the Iowa offensive line to return to form in 2022.
Follow Jacob on Twitter: @Jacobkeppen
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