Kyler Schott admitted to a little bit of nerves in his first game of the season.
But the Iowa offensive lineman was able to ease back into playing during last Saturday’s 30-7 win over Kent State.
Schott, who had missed all of fall camp and the first two games of the season with a broken foot sustained in an accident on his family’s farm, was part of the Hawkeyes’ offensive line rotation again.
Schott smiled when he was asked on Tuesday if it felt good to hit someone again.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “It felt great.”
Schott was No. 1 at the depth chart at right guard during the summer, but the accident, which happened a couple of weeks before camp began in August, set him back. He’s No. 2 at the position on the depth chart for Saturday’s game against Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium.
Schott is OK with easing back into playing.
“It’s kind of just knowing what my role is, and staying into it. Don’t let this get into my head,” Schott said.
The role was different when he was sitting out.
“My role when I was out was coaching other guys, and getting my foot better,” Schott said. “That’s the role I took — whatever my teammates needed, I did it.”
Schott, a senior, brings experience to an offensive line that has plenty of youth.
“Kyler knows how to play,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I guess that sounds pretty basic and mundane, but guys that have been out there just react a little bit more naturally and a little quicker. So I think that part shows up right away.”
“The other guys on the (line) are pretty big dudes. Me, not so much,” said Schott, who is 6-foot-2 and 294 pounds. “But I’ve got a lot of experience out there. I’ve played quite a bit. And I can help my teammates.”
Schott returned to practice during preparation for the Sept. 11 game against Iowa State, so he’s slowly getting into playing shape.
“I would say I’m close to a hundred percent,” Schott said. “I just need to get some conditioning levels up, get running more.”
“He's not really, like I said, in game shape yet,” Ferentz said. “I don't think he finished the one drive he was in on. Maybe it was that long drive (a 20-play drive for the Hawkeyes at the end of the first half) but he had to come out. It's going to take a while to get him back where he can play a full game, but it's good to have him in the mix. In the meantime, we're getting a lot of other guys that are getting really valuable experience, and that's a positive, too.”
Iowa’s offensive line is young. Starting left tackle Mason Richman is a redshirt freshman, while right tackle Nick DeJong is a sophomore. Starting right guard Justin Britt is a sophomore.
“We can be as good as we want to be, honestly,” Schott said. “We just need to execute together. I said this earlier, but we can’t have one guy off doing his thing. We have to be doing the same thing, on the same page, at the same time.”
Schott said being back is the most important thing.
“You just really appreciate how great it is,” he said. “There was nowhere else I wanted to be in this world, be back out there, be back with my friends, play some football.”