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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballIowa Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeyes Season Preview: Defense

James Morris Iowa Hawkeyes

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 football season was another disappointing season for Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Questions continue to circle a Hawkeyes program that finished just 2-6 in the conference last season and 4-8 overall.

The defense was nothing more than average last season and wasn’t the typical Hawkeyes defense we have become accustomed to seeing in West Des Moines under coach Ferentz.

The Hawkeyes were in the bottom half of the Big Ten conference in virtually every defensive category. They finished ninth in total defense, giving up a rough 381.6 yards per game on the year. They also gave up 22.9 points per game on the season, which was seventh in the conference.

The usually stellar run defense was not close to that,giving up 162.1 yards per game on the ground and finishing seventh in the conference. The passing defense was also seventh in the conference, giving up 219.5 yards through the air.

While the defense was not great for the Hawkeyes in 2012, it should greatly improve and help a team that struggled be competitive once again. The team brings back a solid eight starters to a defense that was right in the middle of the pack in the conference.

The core of the defense will be the linebacking group, which returns three senior starters. James Morris will be the signal caller for the defense at the middle linebacker position, and Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksley will play the outside backer positions. Dominic Alvis will look to be the senior leader on the defensive line, while safety Tanner Miller looks to be the leader on the secondary.

The Hawkeyes return a solid group for the 2013 Big Ten football season, and should be able to get back to the strong Iowa defense we are used to seeing.

Erik Sargent is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Erik_Sargent, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.