For many years, the Iowa Hawkeyes were very successful because of their ability to get pressure on the quarterback with just their defensive line. Their front four provided all the sacks the team needed and freed up the linebackers and secondary to drop back and just worry about coverage and that helped Iowa become a perennial Big Ten contender for several years. But the team has fallen off in a big way and the lack of a pass rush is a major reason why. Can Dominic Alvis turn that around next season?
Iowa doesn’t have many other options next season. Alvis finished second on the team in 2012 with three sacks and is the only returning defensive lineman to record a sack last season. Iowa has to replace the production of their sack-leader, Joe Gaglione, who notched five sacks a season ago, with Alvis and some unproven commodities following Gaglione’s graduation. While Iowa needs some of those unknown players to step up, the pressure falls on Alvis to be the guy in the pass rush in 2013.
As a team, Iowa had just 13 sacks in 2012, 8.5 of which came from the defensive line. Now, 5.5 of those sacks are gone leaving just Alvis to try and turn around a truly impotent pass rush almost single-handedly. If he doesn’t, the Iowa defense will continue to struggle and be forced to bring pressure from the linebackers, something Kirk Ferentz does not like to do, and open up the secondary to getting gashed in the passing game.
Iowa has to find its pass rush again before they can turn the program back into what it once was. Is Dominic Alvis the guy to spark that turnaround?