May Daze: Running Back

During the long May days sans football, HI takes a look ahead at the Hawkeyes, 2012. Up next is running back.

May is notoriously the slowest month for fans of college football. Spring ball is done. Summer workouts haven't begun. Incoming freshmen have yet to arrive.

It's a "May Daze."

There's no sense sitting around and moping about it. You can only perform so much yard work. Let's take a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, position-by-position, and create some discussion.

Here are the previous installments in this series:

Defensive Backs

Linebackers

D-Line

O-Line

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Next up, the Running Back:

  • MOST INDISPENSABLE:
  • When Jewel Hampton went down, Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher stepped in. When Hampton and Wegher went away, Robinson continued his strong play.

    So, if Marcus Coker is sidelined in 2011, no problem, right?

    Wrong.

    Hampton, Wegher and Robinson all are gone. Rodney Coe, the top-rated RB recruit in the class of 2011 is headed to JUCO.

    Sure, you can hope for the pattern of guys stepping up at the position when another goes out, but that's a slippery slope. Coker is the only scholarship running back with a carry.

    Redshirt freshman DeAndre Johnson took a step forward this spring. But he had a long way to go. With the disruptions at the position last year, the coaches didn't come close to looking his way a year ago.

    You hope that incoming true freshmen Mika'il McCall, Jordan Canzeri and Damon Bullock come in Big Ten ready. You can't expect it, however. And Bullock might get a look at defensive back.

    Maybe Iowa would be OK with Coker out. It's best not to find out.

  • TOP BREAKOUT:
  • He's pin-balled between tight end and fullback during his Iowa career, but Texan Jonathan Gimm could get his first crack at significant playing time. He served as the No. 1 fullback during the spring and earned a mention from Coach Kirk Ferentz for his improved play.

    Gimm is not a bowling ball in the mold of Tom Busch (few are), but he's athletic and could be a weapon in the passing game.

    Gimm played more of a blocking role as a prep tight end in Houston and understands how to pave the way for his teammates. He's been the good soldier in his time with the Hawkeyes and it appears that could pay off this season.

  • TOP NEWCOMER:
  • While I'm not ready to see what happens if Coker is out, I readily admit he'll need some help. That will come in the form of McCall.

    I felt like this kid was the more polished back than was Coe. His tape reminded me a lot of what I saw in Coker and Shonn Greene at the same stage.

    McCall originally committed to Michigan State before switching up to Iowa. He came 38 yards short as a junior from rushing for at least 1,00o in each of his prep seasons.

    McCall will need to prove he's a capable blocker and proficient at the other intangibles of the position before he can move ahead of Johnson and Walk-on Jason White. The opportunity is there, however, and the Illinois native is talented enough to take advantage of it.

  • THE WILDCARD:
  • Brad Rogers missed the Insight Bowl when doctors found irregularities in his heart. He's not been on the field since that time.

    The Ohio native has been working with physicians on the ailment, trying to get clearance. Ferentz said in the spring that the sophomore had been making progress but it's been very unclear if he'll play this year or ever.

    Rogers showed his ability to bang heads at fullback when Brett Morse was sidelined with an ankle injury against Indiana. He also has illustrated the versatility to play running back.

    A Rogers' return this year could change the whole complexion of the Iowa offense. He's that talented.


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