Alternate uniforms for Hawkeyes? Maybe now. Maybe later.
That, along with the anticipation of an improved running game for both Iowa and Minnesota and the expected return of Josey Jewell, are all part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.
Delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Iowa’s inability to run the football last week at Northwestern has been a punch to the gut for Hawkeye offensive linemen.
Center James Daniels views it as a requirement for any success Iowa might have.
“We know that if we’re not able to run the ball, it doesn’t matter what our defense does or what our passing game does,’’ Daniels said. “Iowa football, our pride is to be able to run the ball. If we can’t do that, we won’t be very successful.’’
2. Amani Hooker is the only Minnesota native currently on the Iowa depth chart and the starting strong safety looks forward to seeing action against his home state school.
“It’s a big deal to a lot of people back home,’’ he said. “It’s a big game for us and we need to play well. That’s where my focus is.’’
Hooker said he hasn’t heard from many high school or family friends this week.
“I’m sure that will happen, but it’s pretty quiet so far,’’ he said. “Mostly, I’m just getting ready for the game.’’
3. Josey Jewell put on the face paint, put on the helmet and watched Saturday as Iowa lost a 17-10 overtime game at Northwestern.
The Big Ten’s tackle leader wanted to play, but doctors on Friday had determined that his streak of 37 consecutive starts would have to end because a shoulder injury suffered two weeks earlier in a game against Illinois hadn’t healed to the point where he could return to action.
“The thing we wanted to do was be smart and just try to talk to him about giving up one week to have the rest of the season as opposed to putting himself at risk,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I didn’t expect him to accept it or like it.’’
4. Minnesota will regain the services of its second-leading rusher, Shannon Brooks, for Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. game against Iowa.
Brooks sat out last week’s win over Illinois with an undisclosed injury but coach P.J. Fleck said Monday that Brooks and back-up Rodney Smith, who left the Illini game in the fourth quarter with an injury, are expected to be available to play this week. Kobe McCrary rushed for 153 yards last week and has earned more snaps because of that effort.
Smith averages 77.9 yards per game, while Brooks has averaged 65.8 yards and McCrary now averages 38.3 yards in Minnesota’s run-based attack.
“We have a three-headed monster right now,’’ Fleck said.
The Golden Gophers have split either Brooks or Smith out wide at a receiver spot in past games and Fleck said Minnesota will continue to look for ways to involve them all.
5. One of the reasons Iowa coaches are being somewhat cautious about the return of James Butler is that the graduate transfer running back may be eligible for a redshirt year because of the timing of the dislocated elbow which has kept him off the field for the past four games.
“Once he goes in a game, it’s over from the NCAA side, based on what I’ve personally experienced,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “So, we’re not going to bank on any leniency in terms of how they interpret his eligibility moving forward.’’
Butler, who is adjusting to playing with a brace on the elbow in practice, remains Iowa’s second-leading rusher even though he hasn’t carried the ball since the North Texas game on Sept. 16.
6. Linebacker Ben Niemann said he has worked out only at outside linebacker so far this week, a sign that Josey Jewell will return and that Niemann won’t be needed to step into Jewell’s middle linebacker position for the Minnesota game.
“Having him in the lineup is definitely a benefit. He’s such a physical player that’s a leader for our defense,’’ Niemann said. “He makes a big impact in almost every game he out there, so we definitely want him in the lineup for sure.’’
7. Demry Croft completed just 5-of-15 passes for Minnesota in his first start last week, but he is expected to open at quarterback again at Iowa.
It was a shaky debut that saw Croft throwing a couple of passes caught by Illinois players in addition to the five he threw to teammates.
Coach P.J. Fleck said ultimately consistency will determine the situation long term, but for now he will stick with Croft in front of six-game starter Conor Rhoda.
8. Iowa may slip into alternate uniforms for one of its remaining games, but coach Kirk Ferentz made it sound Tuesday like this won’t be the week.
“I can honestly say if it was this week, I’d probably know,’’ Ferentz said. “Is that fair? Although I could be the last to know, too.’’
9. The potential of Boone Myers’ return from an ankle injury that has limited the senior offensive tackle since preseason camp may be addressed later this week, coach Kirk Ferentz said.
“It’s a matter of kind of pushing forward here,’’ Ferentz said. “I’ll probably have more on that by the end of the week, quite frankly, but it’s been tough. It’s really been hard.’’
10. Postseason play started last weekend for several Iowa recruits and Tyrone Tracy made the most of it.
The 6-foot wide receiver from Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis rushed for 315 yards and had another 75 yards on five receptions while scoring four touchdowns in an Indiana Class 5A sectional-opening 41-20 win over Plainfield.
In Wisconsin, tight end recruit Jack Plumb caught a pair of passes for 43 yards for Green Bay Bay Port in its 42-21 playoff win over Eau Claire Memorial while Henry Geil rushed for 68 yards on 20 carries as Green Bay Preble lost a 42-7 postseason game to Appleton North.
Elsewhere, Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge used four touchdowns and 84 yards rushing from Samson Evans to finish a 9-0 regular season in Illinois.
In Pennsylvania, Terry Roberts of Erie Cathedral Prep caught four passes for 131 yards in a 49-14 win over Fort LeBoeuf.