TUESDAYS WITH KIRK: Not much of an injury update coming off the bye week
Notes and quotes from Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press conference on Tuesday.
• There wasn’t much of an injury update — if anything, there was an addition to the list.
Right guard Kyler Schott, No. 1 on the depth chart, is out with a foot injury suffered on Sunday. “He's going to be out for a couple weeks now,” Ferentz said.
Cole Banwart will be back in Schott’s place.
“We sat him two games and I think he's back to where he looks,” Ferentz said. “My fear there was we go through the season where he's 80 percent like he was last year and that really wasn't fair to him. I think we've got him healthy so he'll slide in.”
Iowa’s injury list includes some big names, including offensive tackle Alaric Jackson and defensive tackle Brady Reiff.
Getting Jackson back on the left side is important once the Hawkeyes get back into Big Ten play next week at Michigan.
“He is one guy that's making a move, and an active move, forward,” Ferentz said. “That's encouraging and that's just the nature of injuries sometimes. You're kind of stagnant, or plateaued and all of the sudden the guy will take a jump. He's starting to work and I think we're getting closer with him.”
Reiff was listed at No. 1 on the depth chart, but Ferentz said that was a mistake.
“He’s out this week,” Ferentz said.
Asked if Iowa's injury problems are concerning, Ferentz said, "We have got a lot of guys out. It's concerning every week. It was extremely concerning the last time we played. "I looked over today, half our two-deep in the secondary is in street clothes watching practice. We are working with the guys on the field. So the good thing about it is it creates opportunity for other players and that's how we'll look at it and continue to look at it that way. At some point we'll get guys back. It's been slow, that's all."
• The running back rotation is going to continue.
Mekhi Sargent has 40 carries for 212 yards, Toren Young has 22 carries for 121 yards, and freshman Tyler Goodson has 22 carries for 113 yards. Ivory Kelly-Martin is back in the rotation, with five carries for 20 yards.
Sargent, Young and Kelly-Martin have the most experience.
“It's really rare, and they are all a little different, as you know,” Ferentz said. “Take Goodson out of the equation — the other three guys are players we know pretty well. … You talk about Mekhi or Ivory or Toren are all better players than they were last season and certainly gives us a little dimension. It's a little bit unique.
“The trick is to figure out how to get them in and out of the game. Right now offensively, and I think it's true defensively, too, I think everybody ... nobody is counting plays. They are just playing. That's all we are asking them to do is go in there and do what they can do, and I think we're pleased with what we're seeing so far.”
• Ferentz said the Hawkeyes likely will stick with using more of the 4-3 defense rather than the 4-2-5 defense with the “cash” hybrid spot, mostly because of the lack of depth in the secondary.
“We'll be a lot more limited in our sub packages because we are out of guys, and you want your best guys out there playing,” he said. “But you know, I'm not going to say it's totally off the table but we'll probably do a little bit less of it than maybe we would have in the past.”
• The Hawkeyes are coming off the first of two bye weeks this season. A little early, perhaps, but it’s something Ferentz likes.
“If you look back at the schedule, three weeks of preseason, three weeks of game competition, and the bye came at a good time,” he said. “We had a lot of guys injured and still do.
“At least gave everybody a chance to regroup a little bit, tinker with some things, tweak some things. Hopefully learn more about our football team and as important as any, give the players and everybody a chance to rest and recharge, that's everybody involved, players, support staff, what have you. Now it's time to move forward.”