Injury = Opportunity

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About a year ago I wrote a post titled "Injuries - The Silver Lining" to highlight the fact that even though some key injuries may have cost Iowa one or two game last year, the backups got meaningful experience which would help the team down the road. Well...I think I should have saved that post for this year. Besides the extremely impactful injury to Ricky Stanzi, last year does not really compare to this year in terms of youth gaining experience due to injuries. This year, injuries really just hit two areas, really, really hard: runningback and linebacker.

Out: Adam Robinson, Jewel Hampton, Paki O'Meara, and Jason White; In: Marcus Coker
Basically every runningback who we thought last winter would factor into Iowa's rushing attack this year either missed part of the season, or the whole season. Even the young beneficiary of playing time missed the first 6 weeks of practice with a broken collar bone. Coker though looked impressive the last month of the season. Yes, he has made his share of freshman mistakes, but he has been one of the bright spots during a very dark time.

Out: Jeff Tarpinian, Jeremiha Hunter, Troy Johnson, Tyler Nielsen, and Bruce Davis; In: James Morris and Shane DiBona
Both the Out and the In list could actually go one. Iowa used 10 different linebackers this year and of the 6 linebackers listed on the original 2-deeps in August only 1, Lance Tillison, played in every game this year. James Morris, though, also played in every game and was the starting MLB the last 5 weeks. He too had his share of true freshman mistakes, but is the future at MLB and his future looks very bright. DiBona also started a couple games late in the year and is probably the favorite right now for the WLB spot next year.

A few others:
  • Out: Brett Morse; In: Brad Rogers - Rogers started one game and looked good at fullback.
  • Out: Daniel Murray; In: Mike Meyer - Another freshman who made some mistakes, but overall played well and should have a good future with the Hawkeyes.
  • Out: Shaun Prater, Micah Hyde; In: B.J. Lowery, Greg Castillo - Castillo saw quite a bit of time last year too as a backup. Lowery didn't play much, but saw meaningful action in the last game when both corners were injured.
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