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Harty: RB curse can’t be real, can it?

[ 17 ] March 29, 2012 |

I’m still sticking with the belief that the Iowa running backs aren’t cursed. It’s just getting harder to cling to the coincidence theory to explain why so many running backs either have succumbed to injuries, legal woes or academic issues?

Sophomore-to-be Jordan Canzeri is the latest Iowa running back to experience adversity with him suffering a torn ACL during practice Wednesday.

It’s always scary when a knee is involved, especially when you already have reason to be paranoid about your running backs.

Canzeri’s injury happened just hours after Iowa running backs coach Lester Erb had addressed the media Wednesday. Erb was asked how challenging the past two years have been given the high rate of attrition at running back.

Since 2010, Iowa has had six running backs — including five with starting experience — leave the program with eligibility remaining. And that doesn’t include prize recruit Rodney Coe, who was denied admission to Iowa last fall because of academic deficiencies. Coe now attends Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

“I’m getting good practice at it,” Erb said. “The guys we have had in the room have been eager to learn, and it’s just as a coach you kind of start over every year anyhow. But I’ve had some practice at it.”

Starting over is one thing. Losing players from one position at an alarming rate is another. It’s as cruel as it mysterious.

The goal of every Iowa running back is to be the starter, but recently that has come with a heavy price to pay.

Marcus Coker became the starter late in the 2010 season after the two running backs listed ahead of him on the depth chart — Jewel Hampton and Adam Robinson — had their seasons cut short by an injury in Hampton’s case and with Robinson being suspended.

Hampton and Robinson both have since transferred out of the program, as did Coker after being suspended late last season for undisclosed reasons. Coker had rushed for a team-leading 1,384 yards last season when he was suspended.

And we can’t forget about Brandon Wegher, who after rushing for almost 1,000 yards as a true freshman in 2009 quit the team for personal reasons without ever playing in another game.

Canzeri’s situation is different because there is no reason to think the Troy, N.Y., native isn’t happy at Iowa. It’s just weird that Canzeri was injured shortly after being promoted to starter for spring practice.

Makes you wonder what Iowa’s two incoming freshmen running backs are thinking now. My advice to Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill is to stay positive and remember that there is no such thing as a curse.

This is all just one big, ongoing coincidence because no other explanation makes sense unless you believe in curses. And this is coming from a Chicago Cubs fan who’s been hearing about curses all his life.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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