IOWA CITY, Iowa - The bye week here in Hawkeye country has brought snow and some down time. The Iowa players are healing their bumps and bruises while the coaches are recruiting.
News is at a minimum this week with no game for which to look forward. That leaves writers and reporters searching for topics.
I raised a question on our premium message board this week that was met with pretty definitive responses regarding how some fans feel about the players on this year's Iowa team. Nobody could come up with a current Hawkeye that would rank as the best performer at his position during the Kirk Ferentz Era.
Now, that's not a slam by any means. A decade and a half brings a lot of quality players through the doors especially when you factor in four of those teams being ranked in the National Top 10 at season's end.
I do think that a few current Iowa athletes are in the discussion as being tops at their positions, however. To illustrate that, I think it would be neat to pass some bye week time by putting together a Ferentz Era Two-deep with only three games remaining in Year 15.
These choices obviously are subjective to a degree. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on our Hawkeye Insider message boards, Twitter or wherever else you feel like sounding off.
We'll use the same format as does Coach Ferentz when he releases his depth chart each week. Here we go:
Note - The second player listed at each position is the back-up not the second selection at that position. i.e. Ed Hinkel is a second-team receiver on this depth chart.
WR: Marvin McNutt - There will be some no-brainers on here and Marvin is one of them; caught 170 passes for a school-record 2,861 yards; 28 receiving touchdowns easily surpassed the previous Hawkeye mark of 21 owned by Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes.
Ed Hinkel - Probably had the best hands of any WR in the last 15 years; losing time as a senior after breaking hand at Purdue cost him a higher place on Iowa's statistical leader board.
LT: Robert Gallery - Has a case as the most dominant player regardless of position during the era; have been some good ones at this spot but the Outland winner clearly the best while in black and gold.
Bryan Bulaga - Tough call between he and Riley Reiff; could see argument for either one.
LG: Eric Steinbach - Along with Gallery made up a dominate left side; played with an edge and could also have been a very good tackle.
Mike Jones - Started first game as a true freshman at Ohio State in '03; rotated with David Walker that year and then started his final three seasons.
C: Bruce Nelson- Sensing a pattern? Yeah. The '02 line was a once-in-a- generation thing; a first-team all-American by the football writers, Nelson started 48 games in a row.
James Ferentz - Consistency and longevity give the coach's son the edge over guys like Rob Bruggeman, Rafael Eubanks and the versatile Mike Elgin.
RG: Seth Olsen- The list of Nebraska preps that picked Iowa ahead of an offer from the Huskers is short, but Olsen did just that and Hawkeye fans are grateful; versatile enough to excel at guard or tackle.
Pete McMahon - Spent one season at right guard and the next one at right tackle; versatile lineman who spent time in the NFL.
RT: Marshal Yanda - Also played guard and tackle at Iowa...and played them physically, just ask Iowa State's Rashawn Parker - Enjoy..
Kyle Calloway - Tough call here with Markus Zusevics but Calloway gets the nod having started three years, including the first one at left tackle.
TE: Dallas Clark - Former walk-on worked on the grounds crew at Kinnick before mopping the field with the opposition; rare combination of size and speed.
Scott Chandler - Plenty of others in this discussion, including Brandon Myers, Tony Moeaki and Allen Reisner; statistically, Chandler even better than Clark with 117 receptions for 1,467 yards and 10 touchdowns.
WR: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos - The Dean of the Doghouse in the Ferentz Era, there's no denying the talent or production; Finished with 173 catches (three more than McNutt), 2,616 yards and 17 touchdowns; 1,575 yards on kick returns to boot.
Kevin Kasper - Also looked at Clinton Solomon and Mo Brown here; Though he only played two seasons for Ferentz, Kasper was one of the lone bright spots during two lean years.
QB: Drew Tate - Sure plenty of folks will disagree with this choice; won a B1G title without running backs; second all-time to Chuck Long in passing yards (8,292) and touchdowns (61).
Brad Banks - Ricky Stanzi is obviously the other choice and I'm a fan; that said, Banks was the AP National Player of the Year.
RB: Shonn Greene - Like Banks, we wish we would have seen more than one amazing season, but boy, what a year; Doak Walker winner with Hawkeye record 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns; 6.1 yards per carry highest among top 12 rushers in school history.
Albert Young - Very tough to choose between AY and Ladell Betts; Young led the Big Ten in rushing for conference games in '05 and averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his career to Betts' 4.4.
FB: Jeremy Allen - For those people that only know Iowa FBs as blockers, Allen rushed 52 times for 242 yards and four touchdowns for the '01 Alamo Bowl Champs; tremendous athlete who won conference titles in discus and shot put that same year.
Edgar Cervantes - Paved the way for Fred Russell and added 280 yards on 62 carries and a pair of scores during his final two seasons.
DE: Matt Roth - One of a kind in more ways than one, Roth terrorized quarterbacks like no other in the Ferentz Era; 30 career sacks rank third in school history behind Mike Wells (33) and Jared DeVries (42).
Aaron Kampman - Like Roth, came in as a LB and earned first-team all-Big Ten honors at D-End; one of the leaders of an underrated '01 defense.
DT: Jonathan Babineaux - Overshadowed by Roth, Babineaux was as good as any D-Lineman in the Ferentz Era; dominant.
Colin Cole - Cole gets the slight edge over Christian Ballard, who also was selfless in playing inside or out, wherever he was needed.
DT: Mitch King- Undersized and often unblockable, Burlington native twice earned first-team all-Big Ten honors and was the conference defensive lineman of the year as a senior.
Mike Daniels - A late-bloomer, Daniels forced his way into the starting lineup in '10.
DE: Adrian Clayborn- Notched 11.5 sacks as a junior and a two-time member of the Big Ten first-team; would have had a better senior season had he not been driven into the ground.
Howard Hodges - One of the more underrated players in the Ferentz Era, I'll give the Texan a slight edge over Derreck Robinson.
OLB: Christian Kirksey- Much like right tackle spot on the D-Line, the LEO linebacker position is unsung but as important as any other on the unit; Kirksey is the main reason slot receivers don't walk all over Iowa anymore and he also can muscle up a tight end or fight off an O-Lineman.
A.J. Edds - Close call between Edds and Kirksey; A.J. slightly better against the run but Kirksey much superior in pass coverage.
MLB: Abdul Hodge - Gets the edge over Angerer because he did it longer; ranks third all-time in career tackles at Iowa with 453.
Pat Angerer - Great athlete; strong against the run and underrated in pass coverage; excellent leader.
WLB: Chad Greenway- Freakish athlete that ranks fifth in career tackles with 416; two-time, first-team all-Big Ten pick.
Jeremiha Hunter - Didn't get a lot of attention because he was quiet off the field; racked up 269 career tackles.
LC: Micah Hyde- Bright spot in a dismal '12; took home Big Ten defensive back of the year honors as a senior; unselfish star who switched to safety when there was a need; eight career picks.
Amari Spievey - a first-team all-conference pick as a senior; nice combination of size and speed; good in run support.
SS: Bob Sanders- Value to program extended well beyond tackles; infectious style helped lay foundation for bullies of Big Ten; 348 stops rank ninth all-time.
Tyler Sash - Playmaker; 13 interceptions rank fifth all-time.
FS: Brett Greenwood- Two-time all-Big Ten second-teamer; walk-on was a four-year starter; led Big Ten with five interceptions in '10; 12 career picks rank sixth in school history.
Derek Pagel - Second-team all-conference pick on the great '02 team gets the slight edge over Sean Considine, who missed chunk of senior season with injury.
RC: Shaun Prater- A two-time, first-team all-Big Ten selection; didn't rack up interceptions mostly because teams weren't throwing his way.
Jovon Johnson - Incredible nose for the ball; third all-time at Iowa with 17 picks, one off the record held by Nile Kinnick and Devon Mitchell.
PT: Ryan Donahue - Second-team all-conference as a senior; four-year starter (51 games); Has five longest punts in school history.
Jason Baker - Honorable mention all-Big Ten as a senior; got a lot of work in the first two years of the Ferentz Era.
PK: Nate Kaeding - Groza Award winner as a junior; two-time first-team all-Big Ten; school's all-time scoring leader with 373 points and field goal maker with 67.
Mike Meyer - Current kicker has connected on a school-record 112 consecutive extra points; 308 points and 59 field goals rank second all-time at Iowa.