IOWA CITY - Jordan Bernstine isn't the only player banged up in the University of Iowa football camp right now.
If anyone in the crowd of about 10,000 that turned out for the Kids Day festivities Saturday at Kinnick Stadium was hoping to see Jewel Hampton carry the ball or Bryan Bulaga block or Colin Sandeman return punts, they went away disappointed. None of those players was in uniform, all the victim of leg injuries during the past week.
But coach Kirk Ferentz was quick to point out that none of those injuries figures to be a long-term issue. He used the word "tweaked" in reference to all of them.
"The only serious injury we have right now is Jordan's," he said, referring to Bernstine, a projected starter at cornerback who broke an ankle last week. "That one was really disappointing and ironic since it happened in a non-contact drill."
Ferentz said most of the other marquee players who sat out Saturday's public scrimmage were held out largely for precautionary reasons.
Hampton, projected as the starting running back, suffered a recurrence of the knee problem he experienced earlier in the summer.
Bulaga, an All-America candidate at offensive tackle, suffered a relatively minor leg injury on Friday.
Sandeman, a former Bettendorf star who is on the depth chart at wide receiver and is likely to be the team's top punt returner, is hobbled by a hamstring injury. Sandeman was still on the field Saturday in shorts and T-shirt, doing a few drills with teammates.
"This is the first time I've ever had a problem with a hamstring and I don't think it's that bad," he said. "I'm guessing that if we had a game today, I probably would have played. I don't know what percentage I would have been, but I could have played."
Freshman running back Brandon Wegher, who is likely to be redshirted, also sat out the scrimmage.
The Bernstine injury, which happened midweek in a routine punt coverage drill, is the one that is most troubling for Ferentz and his team right now.
"The day Jordan got hurt he probably had one of the best practices he has ever had," free safety Brett Greenwood said.
Greenwood said Shaun Prater and William Lowe, the two players behind Bernstine on the depth chart, are capable but they're not as experienced as Bernstine. Both saw only occasional duty last year as freshmen.
"It just means I need to be a little more conscious of helping those guys with their checks and things," Greenwood said.
Prater took Bernstine's place with the starting defense Saturday, but he is suspended for the first two games of the season because of some offseason infractions. That means either Lowe or someone with even less experience will start the Sept. 5 opener with Northern Iowa.
Other notes from Saturday's scrimmage:
- Junior Christian Ballard, who started every game at defensive end last season, played tackle with the No. 1 defense with promising sophomore Broderick Binns taking his place on the outside. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz indicated it's something that is being tried right now but he said it might not be a permanent change.
- Matt Murphy, an incoming recruit from Clinton, is listed as an offensive tackle and is wearing No. 72. But in Saturday's workout Murphy played exclusively at tight end, a position he never played in high school.
- Freshman wide receiver Keenan Davis, from Cedar Rapids Washington, got in a few reps with the No. 1 offense and drew cheers from the crowd a few times, once when making a diving grab of a pass by John Wienke and once when he leaped high in the air to battle star cornerback Amari Spievey for possession of a pass.
- Davis also was one of four players - including three true freshmen - who dropped back to field punts during kicking drills. Jordan Cotton, Micah Hyde and junior Paul Chaney also were used in that capacity.
- The quarterbacks always wear red jerseys in practice, signifying that they are not to be hit, but a few other players also wore red Saturday, including oft-injured tight end Tony Moeaki, backup fullback Wade Leppert and reserve running back Jayme Murphy.
- With returning starters Bryan Bulaga, Kyle Calloway and Julian Vandervelde all sitting out Saturday's scrimmage with ailments, the starting offensive line was as follows: Kyle Haganman, left tackle; Riley Reiff, left guard; Rafael Eubanks, center; Dan Doering right guard; Dace Richardson, right tackle.