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Central Michigan must prepare for diverse Iowa backs

[ 0 ] September 17, 2012 |

Mark Weisman carries the ball against Northern Iowa last week.

Central Michigan football coach Dan Enos watched the video. He rewinded the parts in which Iowa running backs had a role.

After all that, he still doesn’t know which one to prepare for when the Chippewas and Hawkeyes meet Saturday at 11a.m. at Kinnick Stadium.

So he’s doing what every coach would do:

“We’re going to prepare for both,” Enos said Monday.

He’s prepping his 1-1 Mid-American Conference team for 235-pound fullback-turned-tailback Mark Weisman. He’s also cognizant that speedier backs Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon haven’t been counted out of the 2-1 Hawkeyes’ final nonconference game.

Monday’s depth chart showed Weisman and Michael Malloy as the Hawkeyes’ top two running backs. Both are walk-ons.

“The good news is that both guys (Bullock and Garmon) have a chance to play in this coming ball game,” coach Kirk Ferentz told hawkeyesports.com, the university’s athletic department web site. “The bad news is we really won’t know until mid-week or the end of the week.

“Both responded favorably. They both have a chance, but in the meantime, I think we have to plan as if they’re not going to be here.”

Bullock left Saturday’s 27-16 victory against Northern Iowa in the second quarter with what appeared to be a head injury after rushing for 77 yards on 13 carries.

Eight plays later, Garmon left with an elbow injury sustained on his third carry of the afternoon.

Up stepped Weisman, a combination back who responded by becoming the first Hawkeye back since Adam Robinson in 2010 to rush for three touchdowns in a game.

“We worked Mark at the running back position last week,” Ferentz said. “We didn’t envision him getting into the game under those circumstances.”

If anything, the Hawkeyes showed they have contrasting styles at that position. Bullock and Garmon use quickness to make defenders miss tackles.

Iowa’s defense has nicknamed Weisman “Sherman Tank.” He lived up to it by trying to run over Northern Iowa tacklers, not around them.

“He’s got bad jukes,” Hawkeye quarterback James Vandenberg said, “but he does a great job lowering his pads.”

So Enos prepares for both.

“When (Weisman) came in, he did a good job,” said the Central Michigan coach, whose team beat Southeast Missouri State and then lost against Michigan State. “He ran real hard. They planned for that, and had a plan for him.

“He brought some things to the table. If they get the other guys back and continue to use them, they will have a good tandem the rest of the season.”

SATURDAY’S MATCHUP

WHO: Central Michigan (1-1) at Iowa (2-1)

WHERE: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City

TIME, TV: 11 a.m., Big Ten Network

LAST MEETING: 1998; Iowa 38, Central Michigan 0 (Iowa leads series 2-0)

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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