Iowa Offensive Tackle Cole Croston Embraces 'Next Man Up' Mantra

Cole Croston of Iowa embraced the 'next man up' philosophy of Iowa football on Saturday.

Early in the game against North Texas, left tackle Boone Myers went down with an injury. He was on the sideline thing receiving treatment on his neck and was unable to return the game. In steps former walk-on Cole Croston. He made news during fall camp because of how much playing time he was receiving, even taking some reps with the first unit offense as both a left tackle and a right tackle.

For Iowa, it was about building depth. Sure, Myers and Boettger were struggling, but they wanted to create some quality depth behind those two as well. Croston took the bull by the horns and rose to the occasion. 

Not only has Croston risen up the depth chart at offensive tackle, he was also awarded a scholarship back in August. As is the case with a lot of Iowa football related events, it was kept in house for the most part.

"Other schools make it all dramatic," Croston said. "I'm glad they handled it the way they did here. I was definitely excited about it but it's just another step in the process for me."

Croston entered the game in the first quarter against North Texas. When an offensive lineman isn't getting noticed, it's usually a good sign. It means he's not getting beat consistently and not allowing his opponent to take over a game. That was the case with Croston as he more than held up his own. He discussed his thoughts on his play.

"There's definitely (room for growth)," he shared. "I wasn't as bad as I thought. I came off the field thinking 'yikes'. I thought I was short on some blocks. My pass sets weren't as good (as I wanted). I didn't feel like I got all the way there. When I looked back on the tape, it wasn't too bad."

"I learned a lot of things to improve on," Croston added. "There's a lot of room for growth. I'm glad I have Brian (Ferentz) as a coach to help me get there."

Iowa has the 'next man up' mantra and it's come to the surface multiple times this season. Cornerback Josh Jackson was pressed into action against Iowa State and Pittsburgh, defensive end Parker Hesse has emerged as a solid contributor in the absence of Drew Ott, and Jordan Canzeri has shouldered the load in the backfield with LeShun Daniels banged up. Croston was just another example.

"It's just about constantly being prepared," Croston noted. "Knowing your job. Studying film. It's just like you're the starter. Whether you're backup or third string, you have to know what to do."

Croston has had other hoops to jump through to get where he is today. He arrived on the campus in Iowa City at only 230 pounds. It took a lot of dedication and work ethic to get his body in shape to be an offensive lineman.

"(The big lessons) were to eat, constantly eat," he explained. "I put in a lot of hard work in the weight room with Coach Doyle. It took a lot of hard work on the field with Brian (Ferentz). It's basically all accumulated to where we're at today."

His versatility is key, too. It can help out the Hawkeyes as a team but also enables him to see the field much more having the ability to play on the left or right side.

"Brian (Ferentz) has been bouncing me back and forth between both tackle spots the last couple of years," Croston stated. "I think I can do both sides. Guard might be a different story. That's a little tougher. Things happen a little quicker there. It's just about what hand you put down and what foot you step with. (Left tackle and right tackle) are mirror images of each other."

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