Dealing with injuries, postseason nominations for Brady Ross and Michael Sleep-Dalton and an opponent looking to regroup against Iowa, today’s Hawkeye 10@10 covers a lot of ground.
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Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. With Nate Wieting questionable for Saturday’s 3 p.m. game at Wisconsin, Iowa will likely deploy a tight end by committee approach against the Badgers.
That includes Shaun Beyer, true freshman Sam LaPorta, Drew Cook and Bryce Schulte all getting looks this week in practice.
“I have no choice. They’re in the Army right now,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “So, Beyer, LaPorta and Drew Cook, that’s kind of where we’re at, so those guys are getting some work. Schulte is getting a little work.’’
The changes won’t change the objectives
“We’re not going to change what we do,’’ Ferentz said. “We’re going to keep pushing forward and they’re doing a good job.’’
LaPorta finished with two catches for 43 yards in gains in joining Beyer in replacing Wieting at Northwestern on Oct. 26.
“I’m not sure Sam knows what the heck is going on anyway, so it’s just as well. I’m joking about that, he’s doing OK, but we’ve got his head spinning a little bit. He’s doing a good job with it,’’ Ferentz said.
2. Iowa middle linebacker Kristian Welch will likely remain sidelined by an injury this week, denying the senior a chance to make a start in his home state.
Welch will be one of Iowa’s four captains for the Wisconsin game, but coach Kirk Ferentz feels for the Iola, Wisconsin, native.
“We’ll take him back and he’ll go out for the coin toss if he’s not playing,’’ Ferentz said. “But, that’s football. It’s the worst part of football, frankly, the injuries. It’s just so disappointing. I can’t tell you how hard he’s worked. He’s been one of our hardest working players. He’s so conscientious, so bought in. But, it’s not always fair. Life is not always fair. Football is hardly fair, but he’s making a contribution.’’
Welch, who has missed Iowa’s last two games, continues to lead Iowa in tackles with 47 stops on the season.
3. Iowa made its debut at No. 18 when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its first rankings for the 2019 season on Tuesday night.
The Hawkeyes are one of six Big Ten teams to be ranked on the initial ballot of the season, which lists Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, Penn State and Clemson in the top five.
Wisconsin is ranked 13th, Michigan is 14th and Minnesota is 17th this week.
4. Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst appreciates the depth he sees as he watches the Iowa defense on tape.
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“Anytime you’re playing in the Big Ten, you’re going to face really good players,’’ Chryst said. “You’ve got individuals who you know about and get to know over time. If you go back and watch last year’s tape you know a lot of those guys and have some familiarity with it. They’re getting a lot of production out of a lot of different guys.’’
5. The return of a healthy Kyler Schott will, if nothing else, provide Iowa with additional depth at the guard position as it prepares for face Wisconsin.
The walk-on who emerged to start two early-season games on the Hawkeye offensive line hasn’t played since a Sept. 14 game at Iowa State, but should be back on the field following a five-game, seven-week absence this week.
“He’s not in the best football shape probably – he hasn’t done anything in quite a bit – but the good news is that it’s chilly out there right now, so heat will not be a factor or humidity,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’ll see how the week goes.’’
6. Iowa fullback Brady Ross was named Tuesday to the list of nominees for the 2019 Burlsworth Trophy, presented to the most outstanding player in college football who began his career at as a walk on.
The award has been presented for the past 10 years and is named after a former Arkansas walk-on offensive lineman whose life is the subject of the movie “Greater,’’ released in 2016.
7. Hawkeye punter Michael Sleep-Dalton is among the final candidate list for the Ray Guy Award, presented to the top punter in college football.
The list of candidates will be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists of Nov. 19.
The graduate transfer from Arizona State has averaged 42.1 yards on 35 punts this season for the Hawkeyes, placing 11 balls inside the 20-yard line and driving eight punts 50 or more yards.
8. Quarterback Nate Stanley has started the last 34 games Iowa has played and the Hawkeyes have averaged 28.4 points per game during that string of starts.
That scoring average ranks sixth in Iowa history and is 10th nationally among active quarterbacks.
9. Like Iowa, Wisconsin is coming off of a bye in its schedule and following consecutive losses to Illinois and Ohio State, Badgers coach Paul Chryst welcomed the chance to step back and study his team.
“Maybe you’re watching it with a different set of eyes and figuring out what’s the bigger picture,’’ Chryst said. “You can break it down a few different ways to figure out how we can get better. Another part is are we doing too much or not doing enough, you try to assess that. There’s been a couple of games where we haven’t been able to run the football. We gotta own it.’’
10. Kirk Ferentz spent the Iowa bye weekend watching football.
He joined Iowa assistant coaches in spending Friday working on recruiting, attending a high school game in Ohio to watch Iowa tight end commitment Luke Lachey.
On Saturday, he enjoyed a little family time watching a Central Michigan team become bowl eligible with son and former Hawkeye Steve Ferentz on the staff as a graduate assistant.
“It’s always good to see some high school football, and Mary and I had a chance to go up and watch Central Michigan play, too,’’ Ferentz said. “… So that was fun to be a fan and not be too emotionally invested in the game although I got sucked in after a little bit, so it was good.’’