College Football

Healthy again, MacMillan slides back into lineup

2012-10-25T20:52:00Z Healthy again, MacMillan slides back into lineupSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times
October 25, 2012 8:52 pm  • 

IOWA CITY — Nolan MacMillan plans to be part of the solution for a short-handed Iowa offensive line.

Few Hawkeyes appreciate the feelings injured starters Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal are dealing with this week as they nurse injuries while their teammates prepare for another opponent.

MacMillan’s collegiate career has been filled with a multitude of setbacks, from a shoulder injury which knocked him out of the lineup midway through the 2010 season to a sports hernia which kept him off the field a year ago.

“You come to a place like this, you want to play,” MacMillan said. “Playing early was great, but I wasn’t able to stay healthy. When you’re out for a long period, there is frustration, and when you do get back out there, you don’t return at the level you were at when you left. It takes time, but it makes you appreciate the opportunities you have.”

He likely will get another opportunity Saturday when the Hawkeyes visit Northwestern at 11 a.m.

MacMillan is expected to make his first start in two years for Iowa.

He replaced Scherff at left tackle when he broke a bone in his leg during the first quarter of last week’s game against Penn State, but could end up at left guard if starter Matt Tobin shifts to tackle.

“I’m good with either one,” MacMillan said. “I’ve split my time about evenly between the two since I’ve been here, and I feel like I can go in and compete at either spot.”

MacMillan has proven that before.

He started the first six games of the 2010 season at right guard as a redshirt freshman before injuries sent him to the sidelines.

His work earned the 6-foot-6, 290-pound junior from Toronto mention on multiple freshman all-American teams.

“I came here because of the history Iowa has in developing linemen, and I’ve tried to learn every step along the way,” said MacMillan, one of three Canadians on the roster.

“It hasn’t always been easy. It’s been tough, working back and then waiting. All you can do is focus on each day, control what you can control and be ready when your time comes.”

His persistence is appreciated by teammates.

“He’s a tough guy, a fighter,” starting right tackle Brett Van Sloten said. “He’s persevered through a lot. It’s good to see him progress.”

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz saw signs of that progress in the Penn State game.

“He went in and did a good job,” Ferentz said. “He was ready, mentally ready for it, and that’s the hope, that guys are ready when they are needed. He’s missed some time, but he’s practiced well and hopefully, we can keep him healthy because we’re going to need everybody’s best now.”

The injuries to Scherff and Donnal, who likely will be replaced by three-game starter Austin Blythe at right tackle, have left Iowa thin at the tackle positions on the offensive line.

Drew Clark was added to the two-deep roster this week as a backup to Blythe, and Ferentz said Jordan Walsh and Connor Boffeli are being prepped as well. Ferentz does not want to change redshirt plans for the true freshman linemen on the Iowa roster.

“The pool (of tackles) is a little shallower now,” Ferentz said. “We don’t have many left, but we’ll shuffle guys around a bit and come with a combination that works.”

MacMillan believes he is better prepared to compete now than he was when he made his last start for Iowa in a victory at Michigan.

“I feel like I know what I’m doing now. I have a better grasp of the scheme and physically, I’m more mature and capable,” MacMillan said. “That was a long time ago, but I feel good about getting a chance again and I want to make the most of it.”

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28

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2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh TBA
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota TBA
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

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1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28