IOWA CITY, Ia. - When I pulled up to the Hayden Fry football complex on Tuesday, it was great to see a familiar face sitting outside. Iowa Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker was waiting for his ride over the rehab at the hospital.
Parker returned to the office this weekend after missing the last eight games. On Sept. 10, he underwent an amputation on his right leg due to complications from diabetes.
"He's been in this week, on a very limited basis and he's going through therapy," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday. "He's over doing that right now."
"I don't know if he'll make the trip or not," Ferentz said of this weekend's game at Northwestern. "There's a chance of that and it's very limited but it's a great first step, certainly. And I think like anybody in that situation, he's got a lot of ground to cover right now from endurance and strength, that type of thing. But it's a huge step for him. It's just good to have him. I know he feels good about being home."
Parker looked tired as he sat outside on Tuesday. He's also lost quite a bit of weight. He was wearing a prosthetic.
"Sunday was his first day in the office and it was great seeing him, great to hear his voice," Ferentz said. "He had a few comments to make about things in general, so that was good. Got a good sense of humor about everything. I think he's excited to be back.
LeVar Woods was granted clearance to take Parker's place in daily coaching duties while the latter was out. Ferentz said that he'll continue to help out in that capacity.
"Norm is not doing an awful lot as you might imagine, and so you know, I guess we are on the honor system, whatever, but I don't think we are getting any competitive advantage out of this," the coach said. "LeVar is basically just helping out on the field and helping out a little bit in the office, and if Norm is on duty, LeVar won't be. We'll kind of see how it goes."
LINEBACKER MERRY-GO-ROUND: It looks like James Morris locked on as the starting MLB for the rest season as long as he stays healthy. Veteran Jeff Tarpinian, slated to start in the preseason before injuries hit him, looks headed for the strong side.
If Tarpinian proves healthy enough to start this week, look for it to be him, Morris and Jeremiha Hunter as your starting linebackers.
INJURY UPDATE: Nolan MacMillan missed the last three games with a neck injury.
"I think he is close," Ferentz said. "He got a lot closer last week, but he was out there in pre game and it just didn't…I am hoping by Thursday we will be ready to roll and that would help us a lot because we are razor thin in the line now."
RB Adam Robinson was expected back at practice Tuesday and a go for this Saturday, Ferentz said.