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Notebook: Prater’s blown coverage ‘shameful’

[ 2 ] October 18, 2011 |

As far as mea culpas go, Shaun Prater’s was pretty good Tuesday.

“That was one of my most shameful plays ever … of my whole life.” Prater said. “I’ve never had anything like that.”

On second-and-12 from the Iowa 17 early in the second half Saturday, the all-Big Ten cornerback moved in toward the defensive formation leaving Wildcat receiver Drew Moulton all by himself near the sideline.

“I thought they had subbed a guy out,” Prater said. “The little Pee Wee play where they pull them right next to the sideline. I had looked over there and there was no one there, so I came over and I was yelling out bingo, which means that they have an offset play where there is no one on the line.

“Then I stepped back, and Persa threw it over there, and I was like, ‘Where did this guy come from?’”

Safety Tanner Miller saw the sequence unfolding and ran toward Moulton as Dan Persa snapped the ball and threw it to the wide-open receiver. The play went for 9 yards before Miller knocked him out of bounds.

“Tanner really didn’t say anything, he just looked at me like, ‘Get him out of the game. He must be out of it,’” Prater said. “I said, ‘Man, I didn’t see anyone over there.’”

Hyde was in coverage on the other side of the formation and didn’t know what all the fuss was about.

“I came off the field and had no idea what was going on. Coach was hysterical. I looked to Collin Sleeper and asked, ‘What happened?’ He said ‘Prater left a dude wide open.’

“I watched it on Sunday morning. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I don’t know what he was thinking.”

Prater said he’s taking it as a lesson to be vigilant and to look carefully when the offense is shuffling players on and off the field.

“Their quarterback was a receiver,” Hyde said. “Their receivers were all standing on the sideline coming in and coming out. You’ve got to be prepared for anything.”

LINEBACKER IR: Sophomore linebacker James Morris missed the Northwestern game with an ankle injury but is expected to return to practice today. Also expected to return is backup linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who sat out Saturday.

The status of senior Tyler Nielsen, who led Iowa with 12 tackles after moving from the outside to the middle Saturday, is up in the air.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz would not comment on a report Nielsen had surgery on broken fingers Sunday.

“We have a lot of guys with bumps and bruises,” Ferentz said. “No one has been ruled, out and we’ll see what happens during the week.”

It has been a tough year to be an Iowa linebacker. Dakota Getz, Shane DiBona and Jim Poggi are all out for the season with injuries. Bruce Davis left the team after three games.

When Morris and Hitchens were out last week, Iowa had four healthy linebackers for three spots — Nielsen, Christian Kirksey, Tom Donatell and true freshman Quinton Alston. Was there a Plan C?

“I don’t know if they had a little red button somewhere in a suitcase or something,” Morris said.

Going deeper into the roster, Iowa has three walk-ons listed at linebacker — junior Terrance Pryor and redshirt freshmen Palmer Foster and Lucas Speaker.

Iowa also has three other true freshmen besides Alston in Marcus Collins, John Lowdermilk and Melvin Spears.

Ferentz isn’t worried about depth.

“We are doing OK,” he said. “We will get Hitchens and James back, two more in the boat. We had a lot of practice at this last year.”

MORE IR: Ferentz also said that senior defensive tackle Thomas Nardo, who missed the Northwestern game with injury, should be back.

He indicated Morris, Hitchens and Nardo all were cleared last week.

“But I don’t know how effectively they would have played,” Ferentz said. “So hopefully, we’ll know more at the end of the week.”

Ferentz said that freshman running back Jordan Canzeri strained his hamstring last week, didn’t play Saturday but should be cleared this week.

HANDSHAKE: Ferentz said the talk shows are really “loving” the postgame handshake between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz that almost turned into a fistfight Sunday after the Detroit-San Francisco NFL game.

“I have been around both of those guys,” Ferentz said. “Harbaugh is a spontaneous guy, and Schwartz is a pretty reserved guy. Guess it was a hot front, cold front deal.”

Ferentz said that the coach most likely to cause problems in the Big Ten with a postgame handshake was 84-year-old Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

“In our league, it would be Coach Paterno starting a controversy like that,” Ferentz said. “Outside of that, I don’t think so.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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