Is Sam Brownlee available? Iowa is once again in a tough situation in the run game at both running back and on the offensive line. The latest depth chart provides a little bit of insight on the situation. Adam Robinson and Dace Richardson are both unlisted. Robinson is out with a sprained ankle and there is no word yet on how long he'll be out. Hopefully Ferentz's presser tomorrow will bring more news. Richardson, who's terrible luck with injuries is well known, broke a bone in his ankle/foot area (not exactly sure what bone is broken) and is at best back for the bowl game. (Side note: isn't it nice that 8 games into the season and we can say with 100% certainty Iowa is going to a bowl game?)

Running Back Injuries:
  • Jewel Hampton - ACL - Out for season
  • Adam Robinson - Ankle sprain - Out for at least a week
  • Jeff Brinson -Foot injury of some kind - Has been in and out all season, out for now
  • Jayme Murphy - Back injury/concussions - Career over
Possible Running Backs:
  1. Brandon Wegher - Fr. - 87 carries for 321 yards and 3 TDs
  2. Paki O'Meara - Jr. - 10 carries for 25 yards
  3. Brad Rogers - Fr. - no game experience (would be burning a redshirt)
  4. Josh Brown - Fr. -no game experience (would be burning a redshirt)
As you can see, the running back situation is not ideal. Wegher is the obvious next in line to start, but after that the picture gets murky. O'Meara started the first game of the year...had a fumble and has been relegated to special teams (where he has played well) since. I think Paki would be an okay option for 5-10 carries, just to give Wegher some rest.

Rogers was planning on redshirting, but did travel and dress for the game last weekend, and may need to burn his redshirt this weekend. He is a bigger back listed a 5'10" 225lb and is more of a power runner.

The final option would be Josh Brown. Brown came in as an "athlete" but found a spot at running back in fall camp. He's was actually projected as more of a slot guy or as a DB, so he is definitely quick.

The other thing I could see is Ken O'Keefe going to more of the "Drew Tate" offense of 2005 and using Morse as the back mostly as a blocker. We saw Morse in there at the end of the game last week in favor of a running back in the obvious passing situations. We also have seen Morse run the ball with some effectiveness very early in the season (3 carries for 26 yards). KOK has already shown some more spread out looks and in general been willing to call a lot of pass plays. I'm not talking about running the spread here. But more of a pass to set up the run type deal and letting Stanzi roll out of the pocket to make plays. It should be an interesting week.

The Offensive Line:

WeekLeft TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
1Bryan BulagaAdam GettisRafael EubanksDan DoeringDace Richardson
2Riley ReiffDace RichardsonRafael EubanksJulian VanderveldeKyle Calloway
3Riley ReiffDace RichardsonRafael EubanksJulian VanderveldeKyle Calloway
4Riley ReiffDace RichardsonRafael EubanksJulian VanderveldeKyle Calloway
5Bryan BulagaDace RichardsonRafael EubanksJulian VanderveldeKyle Calloway
6Bryan BulagaRiley ReiffRafael EubanksDace RichardsonKyle Calloway
7Bryan BulagaRiley ReiffRafael EubanksDace RichardsonKyle Calloway
8Bryan BulagaRiley ReiffRafael EubanksDace RichardsonKyle Calloway
9Bryan BulagaRiley ReiffRafael EubanksJulian VanderveldeKyle Calloway

The offensive line hasn't exactly been stable this year. Injuries, suspension, mysterious thyroid problems have all impacted the unit's cohesion. Just when it looked like the line was starting to get ironed out, Richardson suffers another injury and is out the rest of the regular season. Vandervelde should have no problems filling in at the familiar spot and Reiff has been playing well all year. Still, it would be nice to keep the same 5 for more than 3 weeks at a time.