It's time for the final installment of three questions as I take a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, a team trying to rebound from three consecutive subpar seasons and a troublesome stretch of disciplinary problems. Here's a look at three questions facing coach Kirk Ferentz and Iowa this fall.
1. Is Jake Christensen the right man to lead the Hawkeyes offense?
The offense's struggles last season were not all Christensen's fault. He watched several key receivers go down with injuries and got no protection from the offensive line. The junior will get another chance to prove himself this fall, but he had better do it quickly. Sophomore Ricky Stanzi came on strong toward the end of preseason camp, and coach Kirk Ferentz likely will play both quarterbacks in non-league play. Christensen doesn't make a lot of big mistakes -- he has a 19-8 career touchdown-to-interception ratio -- but his completion percentage has got to get better for defenses to respect Iowa's passing game.
2. Will the off-field problems and the ongoing investigation into the university's response to allegations of sexual assault against two former players impact the season?
It could, especially if Iowa starts slow. Ferentz is convinced he handled the situation correctly, but the longer this case drags on, the more problems it could present for the coach and the program. What Iowa can control is player conduct from this point on, and it's up to senior leaders like Matt Kroul and Mitch King to make sure the string of transgressions stops immediately. As Ferentz has said numerous times, Iowa's new director of player development won't be a panacea for the problem. It has to start with the players or Iowa will be in for a long season.
3. Can the Hawkeyes return to their running roots?
An Iowa program that recently produced standout offensive linemen like Robert Gallery and Eric Steinbach has gotten away from what made it great. For the Hawkeyes to return to glory, they need much better play up front. Injuries to promising players like Dace Richardson have hurt, but Iowa needs more from Bryan Bulaga, Rafael Eubanks, Dan Doering and others. There's also uncertainty at running back as Shonn Greene claimed the starting job after spending last season at a junior college improving his academics. Greene looks like a solid back, but he'll need some holes to run through.