Ferentz muses about injuries, Rugamba, Reiff, and player reports


Nick Rohlman

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz speaks with the media during Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago on Monday, July 23, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

CHICAGO — Hawkeye football will return to action on Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois, but in the meantime, Kirk Ferentz and his staff are fine-tuning things as the team begins to gear up for the regular season.

Injury updates

Linebacker Aaron Mends and receiver Wes Dvorak were both sidelined in spring with serious injuries.

“They’re both working back right now, but to put a realistic time frame on when they will return, or if they will return — it’s tough to do at this point.”

Mends blew out his knee shortly before Iowa’s spring practice at Kinnick Stadium, and at the time, Ferentz sounded doubtful about any sort of return this season. Dvorak was also sidelined with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, linebacker Kyle Taylor, offensive lineman Spencer Williams, and running back Toks Akinribade are no longer with the program because of medical concerns; they received medical scholarships.

Non-injured player departures

Cornerback Manny Rugamba made headlines this offseason when he announced his departure from the Hawkeye program.

“We sat down sometime, I guess late June, and just kind of came to a mutual conclusion that it was probably the best thing for him, to get a fresh start somewhere else, simple as that,” Ferentz said.

Rugamba isn’t the only Hawkeye leaving. Fellow cornerback Cedric Boswell, running back Cam Harrell, defensive end Romeo McKnight, and linebacker Nate Wieland will no longer be with the Hawkeyes.

Reiff suspended for season-opener

On July 21, Hawkeye defensive lineman Brady Reiff was arrested for public intoxication in Iowa City.

Reiff mistook a parked police car for an Uber driver and attempted to open the passenger door. Reiff took a breath test and had a blood-alcohol content of .204.

Ferentz addressed the issue on Monday in Chicago at the Big Ten media days, expressing his displeasure and announcing a punishment.

“I’m not pleased about what we learned about Brady Reiff this past weekend,” Ferentz said. “I had a chance to talk to visit with him [Monday]. He’s going to go through a couple steps, but one of the items of interest will be that he will be suspended for the first game.”

Releasing injury reports

A hot topic in Chicago was sports gambling and how it could affect the game. One effect is the release of player reports — which players will play on Saturdays and which will not.

Some coaches were hesitant about the change, but others, including Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, welcomed the idea. Ferentz’s thoughts weren’t highly charged one way or another.

“We’ll do what everybody else does. I assume if we go to this — I say we, I mean Big Ten universities — I’m assuming we’re not going to be the only power [conference], it’ll be all Power 5 conferences,” he said. “With a set formula — the NFL has gotten pretty much spelled out. If that’s what we choose to adapt, then we’ll go with it.”

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