Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa announced the loss of its starting running back for the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl and that its defensive line coach was leaving for another job on Tuesday.
True sophomore running back Marcus Coker will not be heading to Arizona for the postseason contest, according to the school.
A university statement said: The issue involves University of Iowa policies and has resulted in Coker being in violation of the UI Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The sophomore from Beltsville, Md., will not travel with the team to Tempe, site of Iowa's Dec. 30 game against Oklahoma.
""It is unfortunate that Marcus Coker will not be with the team for our bowl game," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said in a university statement. "During the next 10 days, we will focus and continue to prepare the players that are able to participate."
Freshman running back Mika'il McCall is serving an indefinite suspension which began last month. Jason White, Jordan Canzeri, DeAndre Johnson and Damon Bullock remain at tailback for service in the Insight Bowl.
Shortly after the Coker press release, the university announced that Rick Kaczenski would be vacating the defensive line coaching position he's occupied the last five seasons. It's be rumored that he's headed to Nebraska to hold the same post, but nothing has been made official. "Defensive Line Coach Rick Kaczenski has decided to leave our staff for another coaching opportunity," Ferentz said in the statement. "During the last five years, Rick contributed greatly to our program. We wish Rick and his family the best."
Nebraska is still waiting to announce a replacement for outdoing defensive coordinator Carl Pelini, who left to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic. It's being speculated that current line coach, John Papuchis, will be promoted to coordinator, which would open the spot for Kaczenski.
Kaczenski replaced Ron Aiken as Iowa's defensive line coach after the latter took the same position with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Kaczenski recruited Florida for Iowa and experienced moderate success.
Iowa announced earlier this month at defensive coordinator Norm Parker would be retiring after the Insight Bowl. He had served in his position for all 13 years that Ferentz has been head coach for the Hawkeyes.
For the second year in a row, Iowa will hit the postseason without their leading rusher. Adam Robinson was suspended for last year's Insight Bowl for an off-field issue. Coker stepped in with an MVP performance in Arizona, rushing for an event and school records 219 yards on 33 carries.
Coker followed up his bowl effort with 1,384 yards (4.9 per carry) and 15 touchdowns on the ground this fall. The rushing yards ranked second in the conference to Wisconsin's Monte Ball, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back.
Coker carried the ball 281 times this season. Next on the list for Iowa? Johnson toted it 18 times. White logged 12 rushes, Canzeri had 6 and Bullock checked in with five.
I'm going to guess that Johnson gets the bulk of the work in the Insight. He spelled Coker on those rare occasions he came out while McCall was injured and then suspended.
Who steps in for Parker and Kaczenski? I think Phil Parker moves from the secondary defensive coordinator and current administrative assistant LeVar Woods steps in to the coach the defensive backs. Then, I'll take Kirk's son, Brian, as the new DL coach.