Iowa notebook: Ott update, running backs, O-line

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The Daily Iowan

Iowa defensive lineman Drew Ott tackles Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Iowa State defeated Iowa, 20-17. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

 

Drew Ott won’t return to the Iowa football team next season; he will enter the NFL draft.

Ott’s request for a medical hardship waiver was nixed on Wednesday as the NCAA ruled against him for good. He was asking for a fifth year of eligibility, because he spent most of last season injured.

Ott played in six games, which was over the NCAA’s 30 percent rule. If a player is on the field for more than 30 percent of a team’s game in a season, they aren’t eligible for the redshirt.

“It’s really confusing,” Ott said. “There’s just a lot of steps that they have to go through and things like that. So hopefully, they can get that a little more streamlined for the next person.”

Talkin’ backs

All four of Iowa’s running backs last season — LeShun Daniels, Jordan Canzeri, Akrum Wadley, and Derrick Mitchell — missed time with injuries last season.

That hurt the development of Mitchell and Wadley. Daniels hasn’t been able to play a whole season since bursting on the scene as a true freshman. It’s been frustrating for both the Iowa coaching staff and running back/special team coach Chris White referred to it Wednesday.

“The injuries that [Daniels] had were all lower body, kind of ankle things, where he just kind of got rolled up,” White said. “I don’t think those are preventable. Just seems like every time he started to really get in a groove, he’d just get that one turn of the ankle in a pile.”

Even with the smattering of injuries, the Hawkeyes still had the third-best rushing offense (yardage wise) in the Big Ten. Losing Canzeri will hurt the overall depth, and things could get very interesting should the injury bug hit again.

With that in mind, Iowa brings in two very interesting prospects in Toks Akinribade and Toren Young. While Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t always keen on playing freshmen, they could see some time if things go south.

White also noted that Marcel Joly has looked good with the second-team, and it’s still fairly obvious Eric Graham is behind them on the depth chart.

Drake Kulick seems the starting fullback right now, but Brady Ross’ name continues to get thrown around whenever a coach brings up the position.

One thing is certain — Iowa will miss its two senior fullbacks.

“Macon Plewa and Adam Cox to me were the heartbeat of our offense, what they brought to the table in terms of their physicalness and just their energy, their approach and all that,” White said. “So we have some question marks there, but I really feel good about the candidates that we have.”

Pass protection a priority

Iowa gave up 30 sacks last season, second worst in the Big Ten.

Lack of experience and injuries were a huge issue for the team, something that should be less of an issue this season. Tackles Cole Croston and Ike Boettger got better as the season went on, which should give fans hope for this season.

There could potentially be battles at both guard positions and center this year, though most of those involved (Sean Welsh, Boone Myers, James Daniels, and Keagan Render, to name a few) have experience.

Hawkeye offensive-line coach and running game coordinator Brian Ferentz didn’t mince words when he talked about the group.

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