IOWA CITY, Ia. Iowa took another big step towards kicking off the 2010 season on Tuesday when it met with the media for the weekly in-season press conference. Hawkeyeinsider.com attended the event.
Sometimes we and other media outlets put out so much information, it's hard to sift through it all. What we'll do in this piece each week is to compile the best notebook we can with news while trying to cut out the fat.
Here you go:
-Coach Kirk Ferentz said that C.J. Fiedorowicz, Mike Meyer (walk-on), James Morris, Christian Kirksey are the true freshmen the team plans on employing during this Saturday's season-opener against Eastern Illinois. Other first-year players also are in the mix.
"Those four guys are right now as of this point set to go and we have got another probably four to six guys that we are looking at. We'll just see how the week develops and take it a week at a time. But I think those guys have caught on pretty quickly and done some good things."
There's been speculation that one of the true freshmen running backs - DeAndre Johnson or Marcus Coker - could be in the mix for playing time. Ferentz said Coker is still rehabbing from an injury that caused him to miss most of camp. He said he'd like to red shirt Johnson.
"Right now I think we are probably better suited just to hold him out, and that's our plan, at least," Ferentz said. "We'll see what happens."
-There is no change in the status of running back Brandon Wegher, Ferentz said. The Sioux City Heelan product is thinking about his future in football after leaving the team after just a few days of training camp in early August.
"He is still on scholarship," Ferentz said. "My encouragement for him is to go to class. I hope he has a great year academically. He can decide during that time if he wants to play football or not. I am not sitting by the phone waiting for a decision. It's all on his hands. the only critical factor here is to not do something that will deter your future; go to class. Don't shut the door on possibilities."
-I reported on Monday that Cody Hundertmark left the team over the weekend. Ferentz said a day later that the situation is a "gray area."
"He is trying to figure out what his future is right now," Ferentz said.
The junior from Humboldt switched from the defensive line to the offensive front during bowl preparation. He has suffered through a series of injuries in his time at Iowa.
"He has had some setbacks," Ferentz said. "That is hard to deal with. It's one more thing. You think football players are made of armor, but injuries are tough to deal with and they can affect you mentally sometimes. You can't get better when you are not out there."
-When Austin Grey left the Hawkeyes last week, it didn't come as much of a surprise to Ferentz.
"He had a girlfriend at home," Ferentz said. "There are some factors there that made some sense so it wasn't a surprise when I got the news."
Koeppel didn't spend much time in the hospital. Guard Julian Vandervelde said he called over there after hearing of the accident and his teammates already had been discharged.
"He's up and about and doing the Josh Koeppel thing," Vandervelde said. "The guy is tougher than heck."
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz expressed relief that his senior wasn't more severely injured.
"You know, not to make light of it, but it looks like he just walked out of our wrestling room a little bit," Ferentz said. "He's got a lot of scrapes, and as you might imagine, he's pretty sore right now, but the good news is, everything checked out, X-rays, CT scans, all those types of things.
"I don't think it's realistic to think he would play this week, but I think hopefully soon in the near future we'll have him back. The most important thing is he's healthy and ready to go and that's a big thing. Could have been a lot worse, certainly."
Cornerback Shaun Prater listed himself as questionable for this week's game. The leg injury first popped up in June he said and has been nagging him since that time.
"I'm just taking it day by day," Prater said. "I can't say I'm 100 percent. Hopefully I can play Saturday, but it's up to the trainers. It feels better each day. I'm just trying to get the fluid out of there."
The Nebraska native said that he usually can play in pain and that might have hurt him with this injury.
"In this situation, it might have worked against me," he said. "I should have taken it easy. It's a learning experience."
Speculation surfaced last week that starting guard Adam Gettis suffered an ankle injury, but Ferentz didn't acknowledge that on Tuesday. The coach said he had a group of contributors with "soft tissue" injuries whose status for the weekend was up in the air at this point.
Jeff Tarpinian, who broke his hand in camp, will give it a go this week, the coach said. He's listed as the No. 1 middle linebacker on the depth chart.
Reciever Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was mentioned during a Kids Day press conference by Ferentz as a player performing well. He's been dinged up since.
"He's had some injury issues, so he's missed some time which has deterred his progress," the coach said. "But that being said, he's got a good experience level right now and when he's been out there, he's been working hard and doing well. So we expect him to play well."