The offense for the Iowa Hawkeyes is returning eight of their starters from last season, but head coach Kirk Ferentz’s biggest concern this offseason was the ground game. After the most recent scrimmage, Ferentz indicated he’s not as concerned.

Ferentz highlighted true freshmen Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson.

“Quite good, they’ve been practicing really well since they got here,” Ferentz said after Saturday’s scrimmage, per Kennington Lolyd Smith III of Hawk Central. “I was really anxious to see both Jaziun and Kaleb and they’ve been practicing very well, they appear to be really mature young guys for first-years. Today was a positive step.”

Last season, Iowa ranked 101st in the nation in rushing yards per game (123.6) as it was the main focus of its offense. Iowa is having to replace the impact of the Rimington Award winner in Tyler Linderbaum and a 3-year starter in running back Tyler Goodson.

The most experienced running back returning to Iowa this 2022 season is redshirt sophomore Gavin Williams, who rushed for 305 yards and no touchdowns on 65 carries. The Hawkeyes’ next leading returning running back is Leshon Williams, who rushed for 69 yards and no touchdowns on 21 carries.

This comes a few weeks before Iowa kicks off its 2022 season at home against South Dakota State on September.