Eastern Illinois Week: Ferentz Presser, etc...

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Kirk Ferentz had his first of 12 Tuesday game-week press conference yesterday. He had the usual things to say about Eastern Illinois: "well coached," a "tough contest," etc... There were a couple of insightful things mentioned though, so let's get into those.

Injuries
  • Josh Koeppel, who was hit by a truck Monday morning has "a lot of scrapes, and as you might imagine, he’s pretty sore right now." A video of the accident is making it's way around the internet after originally being posted on Hawkeye Lounge. If you haven't seen it, here a link to the video on YouTube. And, holy hell, Koeppel is extremely fortunate he's not in worse shape. Needless to say, he's probably missing the first game.
  • Prater has been dealing with a lingering hamstring injury for months now. Currently it is a day-to-day thing. He's currently not listed on the depth chart, but it sounds like he could play. I think it's probably best to rest him week one to be safe and have him ready for bigger tests against Iowa State and Arizona.
  • The offensive line has a "couple of guys nicked up right now" but it doesn't sound like any are serious. Gettis is rumored to have a sprained ankle.
  • Tarpinian has a broken hand, which we knew already. He has been practicing but has"a splint and a padding over the top of it" so has been somewhat limited in what he can do.
  • DJK missed some time in practice with an undisclosed injury. He should be fine though.
  • Coker, who's been out with a broken collar bone is still a week or two away from returning. I still think he'll red-shirt.

Captains
Clayborn, Klug, Stanzi, and Vandervelde. No surprises there. They are all seniors with starting experience.

Special Teams
  • Kickoffs - There was an interesting development, though not exactly surprising, in the kicking game...true freshman Mike Meyer will be handling kick offs. The only reason I am kind of surprised is that Iowa already has 2 place kickers, Murray and Mossbrucker, so it would kind of make sense to red-shirt Meyer so space the 3 out a little bit more. Meyer, however, has a big leg that could definitely be used to spruce up the kick offs, which have been a little underwhelming in length lately. As a senior in high school, Meyer had 92% of his kickoffs go for touchbacks (he also kicked a 56-yard field goal, so we know his leg is strong).
  • Field Goals - Meyer could also be in be in the mix for field goals, though it's not very likely. The good news, maybe the best of the day, is that the kicking "got a little better last week." Hopefully one of the guys will separate himself, but likely we will see all three place kickers play this Saturday.
  • Kick Returns - Ferentz mentioned that DJK and Keenan Davis will be the two for kickoff returns. The punt returner will be Colin Sandemann. Marvin McNutt is also in the mix, which is something he asked to do. All these choices makes sense, though it's kind of interesting that it's the top 4 wide receivers on the team handling the return duties. DJK was the most explosive kick returner on the team last year (see game: Ohio State) and Sandemann was one of the most consistent punt returners in the big Ten.
Goners
  • No change on Wegher. Let's drop this already.
  • Austin Grey leaving was not a big surprise. There may have been some injury issues and "he had a girlfriend at home."
  • Cody Hundertmark, who was reported as gone on Monday, is now classified by Ferentz as in a "gray area." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'd guess that he's not practicing.

Quick Hits
  • Ferentz wants to red-shirt De'Andre Johnson. Robinson and Paki will be 1 and 2 on Saturday and the #3 running back is Jason White (who keeps switching between running back and defensive back).
  • Ballard will shift back to defensive end for the game this Saturday while Binns is suspended. Mike Daniels will take the starting spot at tackle.
  • Fiedorowicz has done well in camp and will be used situationally (i.e. passing downs) and also play on special teams.
  • Morris and Kirksey were mentioned again as true freshmen who will play (mostly special teams).
  • After leaving the team last year, Tillison is back and has worked his way into the mix at linebacker. He will probably see most of his time on special teams, but will relieve Hunter when necessary.
  • Reisner, Robinson, Hampton - all got mentions from Feretnz as playing well in camp.

A couple of last cool things: on Friday, the road right outside Kinnick Stadium which is currently named Stadium Drive will be renamed Evashevski Drive in honor of the Hall of Fame coach. And, no link here, but look for the Big Ten divisions to be announced today. Yesterday morning there was a live special program on the programming schedule for the BTN. It was, however, mysteriously removed later in the day. Still, I believe that the conference officials want to get this over with before the season starts, and today is their last chance. For the record, I believe that the divisions will be:
  • "West" - Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, Northwestern
  • "East" - Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue
So, Iowa will probably end it's yearly rivalry with either Wisconsin or Minnesota until the league goes to 9 conference games in 2015. With some creative scheduling, they could probably keep both intact over the next 4 years though, but we'll see. It could be a very interesting night tonight.
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