"I might start a new trend," says Dan McGwire, the Hawkeyes' 6'8" quarterback and brother of Mark, baseball's home run hitting rookie. "Offensive linemen are getting taller, and other quarterbacks have to roll out or look between the linemen to see downfield. I have a tremendous view. When I'm bouncing on my toes, I can be 6'10"."
The redheaded sophomore from Claremont, Calif., played quarterback as a 6'3" high school freshman because the varsity coach lived just around the corner and knew the kid had a powerful arm. Hawkeye fans learned just how powerful in the spring intrasquad game when McGwire, who has apparently won the quarterback job from last year's backup, Tom Poholsky, launched a pass from his own 25-yard line that smacked the face mask of a sun-blinded receiver at the goal line. "I don't know how good he's going to be," says coach Hayden Fry. "But he has the strongest arm of any quarterback we've had at Iowa."
If McGwire falters, he could be replaced by Poholsky, who filled in last season for the departed Mark Vlasic, who took the 8-3 Hawkeyes to the Holiday Bowl and a win over San Diego State. Whoever quarterbacks, the hand-offs will go to last year's team MVP, Rick Bayless (1,150 yards rushing), and Kevin Harmon, who is just as good, but rushed only 41 times due to a pulled hamstring. "If Bayless didn't have all those credentials, Harmon would be Number 1 now," says Fry, impressed with Kevin's spring performance.
Iowa, which has led the Big Ten in total defense four of the last five years, will have new starters at six positions. The offense scored 169 points in its first three games, but will be tested early against Tennessee in the Kickoff Classic on Aug. 30. The real question is whether a carrot-top, treetop-tosser like McGwire can find success in the Big Ten. "That's why I became a Hawk," he says, "because the Hawks throw the ball."