Sophomore Dominic Alvis made strides in his first season at defensive end, and now the Hawkeyes have to win without him.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end was lost for the season with an ACL injured suffered against Michigan.
“It sucks,” senior defensive end Broderick Binns said.
“We’re definitely going to miss him. But as coach Ferentz says, next man in. Someone has to step up, I believe someone will step up.”
Lebron Daniel likely will get his fourth start of the season Saturday against Michigan State. The 6-foot-2, 256-pound senior has been effective rotating in, but has not emerged as an every-down force.
“I don’t think we can play, whether it be Dominic Alvis or Lebron Daniel, we can’t play any of those guys for 90 snaps or 80 snaps in a game,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s just not a good formula, especially against a team like this. A big, physical team like this.”
Unfortunately, Iowa doesn’t have a lot of defensive ends.
Daniels is backed up on the depth chart by junior Steve Bigach, who made three starts at defensive tackle when Thomas Nardo was hurt.
Bigach seemed to find his groove at tackle after stumbling a bit as an end.
“I think we tried that earlier in the season; it really wasn’t the right fit for him,” Binns said. “But by all means, I’m sure he would not mind if coach asked him to go back out play end.”
Nardo said he Bigach can learn quickly.
“I think he’s comfortable out there,” Nardo said. “Steve is a heck of a student of the game. He’ll know what he’s doing.”
Ferentz indicated that 6-foot-5, 310-pound redshirt freshman Carl Davis might be closer to fully healed and could join the rotation. He didn’t play last week against Michigan.
“If we can have a good week of practice, we’ll see what we can throw out there Saturday,” Ferentz said.
Senior Joe Forgy and junior Joe Gaglione, who don’t get many reps behind senior Binns and Mike Daniels on the left side, could see more time as well.
“We’ve got who’s going to be out there on the field,” Nardo said. “That’s what we’re going to work with, we’re going to have confidence in them.”
IR UPDATE: Ferentz confirmed Tuesday that redshirt freshman Jim Poggi, out all season, has been practicing the last two weeks.
“He’s had a couple ups and downs, but that’s part of coming back from an injury,” Ferentz said.
On the other hand, sophomore Nolan MacMillan, who started six games last year at guard, is slow returning from off-season sport hernia surgery.
“Nolan is working 50 percent, something like that, but it’s increasing incrementally,” Ferentz said. “He’s got a lot of ground to cover just like Brad (Rogers) did, but at least the arrow is going the right direction now.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football