IOWA CITY, Iowa - Asked how long Mark Weisman can keep carrying the ball 30 or more times a game, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said he didn't know. Then, he quoted former USC and Buccaneers coach John McKay, who authored the quote "It's not heavy" when asked about Ricky Bell running ball 38 times in a 1979 game for Tampa Bay.
The 6-foot, 236-pound Weisman leads the FBS with 85 rushing attempts in 2013. He carried 35 times in Saturday's 27-21 win at Iowa State after receiving 30 chances a week earlier against MIssouri State.
Weisman is on (a 12-game) pace to rack up 340 carries this season. That would break the school record of 316 set by Sedrick Shaw in 1995.
Ferentz and Weisman said Tuesday that they were not concerned with the running back's workload. For a reference point, Shonn Greene rushed 307 times for 1,850 yards in his Doak Walker winning '08 season.
"It's not the same as Shonn Greene, but they're both physical players so he's going to get (hit a lot)," Ferentz said. "He knows that. Fortunately for us, he really takes great care of himself and that helps at least."
Weisman ranks third nationally in rushing yards with 425.
"It's a lot of carries so far but we'll see where it goes," Weisman said.
Ferentz said that Damon Bullock played his best game against Iowa State (13 carries, 50 yards). The coach said the team also would need Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels to chip in at running back this season. He would not go as far as to say Weisman's carries would be reduced.
Weisman prepares himself for the grind. He looses up his muscles with trainers Sunday morning before running after meetings. On Mondays, he lifts in the morning.
"That pretty much gets all of the kinks out," he said.
Most running backs want the ball given to them as much as possible. They worry about the soreness later.
"I think you get in more of a flow," Weisman said. "You get more chances to make a big play. You don't want to be sitting around too long before you get your next carry."
"We think (Lomax has) got a shot," Ferentz said. "Hopefully he can practice. It sounds like it's good. Hopefully, we get Fleming back full speed (Tuesday). So, we're planning on them being full speed."
NO, BO: Ferentz was asked about being cautious with what he says publicly. Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini is dealing with some trouble after a tape of him railing on Husker fans and media was released to Deadspin on Monday.
"It's pretty much what I tell our players and explain to them," Ferentz said. "They really need to assume they're being recorded or taped or both pretty much any time they're anywhere other than a closet maybe.
"My wife probably gets my vents. She's the recipient, and that is probably risky too because that's about a 50-50 shot of me being in good standing there, and I'm exaggerating the 50 part for me. Usually I'm way behind in the count there."
WELL WISHES: Former Iowa Quarterback A.J. Derby saw his first action at Arkansas on Saturday. Derby served as the Hawkeyes back-up QB at the start of 2011 before being shifted to linebacker. He then transferred to Coffeyville Junior College to continue being a signal caller and ended up a Razorback this offseason.
"I don't know what's going on down there, but I'm happy that he's doing well," Ferentz said. "They're a great family. It didn't work out here. We're all sorry about that, but I hope he does well. If he gets in there, I hope it goes well for him."
A.J.'s brother, Zach Derby, played tight end at Iowa and their father, John Derby, is a former Hawkeye linebacker.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Receiver Damond Powell has seen his reps increase in each of his first three games, but he's still stuck on one reception for the season. It came in the opener and displayed his electrifying speed as it covered 49 yards.
"He's improving," Ferentz said. "I don't know what percentage I would put on it, but he's improving. We'll keep working with him. First thing I think about, outside of him being fast, he's a positive energy player. And that is a good thing when guys bring that positive energy out there."