One of the more intriguing side stories of today's blowout win over North Texas was the return of tight end Jake Duzey. He's been out and hadn't played all year. He suffered a knee injury in the Spring that kept him out of practice during fall camp. He's been inching closer and closer to seeing the field and today was the day. Head coach Kirk Ferentz had said throughout the week that it was doubtful that Duzey would see the field but a decision was made late in the week to get him a few reps.
"Coming in yesterday, we had talked about maybe, maybe not," Duzey said. "Coach Ferentz asked me yesterday if I would be comfortable doing that. He told me I'd be out there for a couple snaps."
It was in a very limited role but Duzey was eager to return to the field for the Hawkeyes. His excitement was hard to hide.
"I was pretty excited when they asked me if I'd be comfortable with that," he shared with media members after Saturday's win. "It was a good feeling. I knew it would be just a couple snaps here and there."
"Yeah I was a little nervous going back out there," Duzey added. "Just like it always is, it was fun being out there."
Just like any player that loves the game, it was difficult for him to stomach the thought of not being able to contribute to the team's success. It often goes unnoticed how much of a struggle it can be mentally as well.
"It was pretty bad," Duzey stated about missing time. "Just standing there watching all the time and not traveling to Iowa State was pretty rough. Now that I'm back out there, it's a good feeling.
Iowa's offense has put up large numbers already this season but the insurgence of Duzey should only add to their explosiveness as a unit. He's a great blocker but he's probably the biggest playmaker at the tight end position that the Hawkeyes have on their roster. However, the contributions from Krieger-Coble and Kittle have provided have more than helped fill the role. Duzey acknowledged their effort in his absence.
"They've done a great job," Duzey pointed out about the tight ends filling his void. "Everybody knew they'd do a great job. They've done a great job all through camp. They've really worked hard. I've got a lot of confidence in them."