Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and running back coach Lester Erb expect that carries will be split this fall by the current and future crop of running backs.
“Marcus Coker was the premiere guy because he was the premiere guy last year,” Ferentz said. “He clearly was the head of the class like Shonn (Greene) was in 2008.”
But Coker left the program in January after gaining 1,384 yards on 281 attempts in the fall. The three running backs on the spring depth chart combined for 213 yards on 59 carries.
All sophomores, Jordan Canzeri did start the Insight Bowl and finished the season with 114 yards on 31 carries. De’Andre Johnson had 79 yards on 18 carries and Damon Bullock had 20 yards on 10 carries.
“All three guys have shown out on the field that they are capable,” Ferentz said. “They have got a lot to learn still.”
Erb said that Canzeri is stronger now and ready for a bigger role.
“I think he carried the ball 22 times in (the Insight Bowl), so he demonstrated a little bit of durability there for being not the biggest back out there,” Erb said.
Those three backs will be joined in the fall by incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill.
“Both guys are going to have a chance to come in here and compete,” Erb said.
RETURN MEN: Coach Darrell Wilson, in charge of the secondary and special teams, said that junior B.J. Lowery, redshirt freshman Torrey Campbell and senior Micah Hyde are working on punt returns.
In 13 games last season, Iowa had just 14 returns. Hyde had 13 for an 8.2 yard average.
Wilson said the punt game has changed with more rugby-style punters and there aren’t as many opportunities to return it.
“What you don’t want is the ball rolling,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to get into a decent return game as much as three or four years ago.”
STAFF UPDATES: Ferentz put a bow on all the coaching staff changes that have taken place this offseason.
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson, previously in charge of tight ends, will shift over and help Reece Morgan with the defensive line.
“I think the more we have on that group, the better,” Ferentz said. “My goal was to get Eric in a position where he could dedicate more time to (recruiting).”
Graduate assistant David Raih will work with tight ends.
Chris Polizzi has been added as a graduate assistant and will help with the defense.
Polizzi previously had been a graduate coach at Utah, where he coached tight ends. Before that he worked with UCLA and Central Methodist (Mo.).
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football