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Original Issue

16. IOWA

You would think Sedrick Shaw might have a little job security by
now. He has, after all, carried the football more times (613)
and for more yardage (3,040) than anyone in Hawkeyes history. A
soft-spoken senior, Shaw is smart and disciplined, and has a
knack for taking the measure of a defense, then slicing it apart
with his 4.3 speed. He is coming off a school-record 1,477-yard
season, yet coach Hayden Fry not only refuses to lobby for Shaw
as a Heisman Trophy candidate but also says things like, "If
Sedrick isn't great, he'll be beaten out by Tavian Banks."

Maybe Fry talks that way to keep Shaw on his toes. Maybe he says
it because Banks is that good. Limited by a broken wrist, Banks
had only 66 carries last season as a sophomore but averaged 6.1
yards per rush. Now he's healthy and could be the fastest man on
the Iowa offense ("Either him or [receiver] Tim Dwight," says
Fry, "depending on who has the football").

And if that's not enough for Shaw to contend with, consider true
freshman tailback Rob Thein, an Iowa City native who insinuated
himself into the Hawkeyes' immediate plans with a fabulous
spring. His 141-yard, three-touchdown performance in the
intrasquad game sent the Iowa faithful into a frenzy and led
junior quarterback Matt Sherman to dub Thein "the new mayor of
Iowa City."

Certainly Sherman, who finished 17th in the nation in passing
efficiency last season, can take comfort in the depth of talent
at the skill positions around him. Looking wide he'll again find
Iowa's two most explosive receivers from last season, Dwight and
the magisterially named Demoses Odems III. The X-factor is the
revamped offensive line, which has three new starters. "There's
a lot of self-imposed pressure," says offensive line coach Frank
Verducci, "because we know we can make the difference."

With 14 returning starters and the lingering satisfaction of the
three-game winning streak that closed last season, the Hawkeyes
bolstered their confidence further with a well-oiled spring. The
words Rose Bowl have begun popping up on the practice field,
along with an excitement that Fry is doing his best to keep in
check. The coach knows--as does Sedrick Shaw--that there are no


JONATHAN DANIEL/ALLSPORT Shaw's numbers are the best in Iowa history, but he still has trouble shaking doubters. [Sedrick Shaw in game]