Injuries remain prevalent for Hawkeye football

With the early Week 4 bye week having come and gone, Iowa football is mentally and physically stronger going into the Middle Tennessee State game.

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Katie Goodale

Iowa offensive lineman Kyler Schott blocks Miami (Ohio) linebacker Myles Reid during Iowa football vs. Miami (Ohio) at Kinnick Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019. Iowa defeated the Miami (Ohio) 38-14.

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

Iowa football’s first bye week could not have come at a better time, and that has been the theme for the past two weeks.

 As usual, the injuries riddling the offensive line and Iowa’s secondary remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Offensive lineman Kyler Schott suffered a foot injury on Sunday and will be out for a couple weeks, while Alaric Jackson is still absent from Iowa’s two-deep depth chart.

Brady Reiff was listed on Iowa’s depth chart but is still out this week. Matt Hankins and Kaevon Merriweather will also be sidelined again.

“They are back practicing now,” Ferentz said. “The other guys are moving along and getting better, but we’re not making any significant progress or significant news on the injury front. That’s kind of where that’s at.”

Ferentz said Jackson is one of the players who has taken steps forward in his recovery but won’t be seeing the field against Middle Tennessee State.

Safety Geno Stone is one of Iowa’s players that — with all of the other injuries — it can’t afford to lose. He tweaked his ankle against Rutgers in an injury that looked a lot worse than it was and rolled it again against Iowa State.

After the bye week and a chance to recoup mentally and physically, Stone is ready to go.

“Oh yeah, I’m always at 100 percent,” he said.

After wins over Miami (Ohio), Rutgers, and an Iowa State team that put up 72 points in Week 4, the Middle Tennessee State game gives the players still sidelined another week to get reps and potentially get game work before traveling to Michigan on Oct. 5.

However, with the reps the backups have been getting, Iowa is confident whether the injured players return to the field or not.

“We’re fine with playing with whatever’s out there, but whoever is out there has just got to know that we all have to be confident, that the guy behind us, the guy next to us, the guy in front of us, knows what he’s doing and knows how to do what he’s supposed to do,” linebacker Djimon Colbert said. “You always want those guys in, but if you do have that second-string guy in, you have to play him just like those first-string guys.”

Keeping this mentality throughout all of the frustrating injuries has been important for both the players and the coaching staff.

“The good thing about it is it creates opportunity for other players, and that’s how we’ll look at it and continue to look at it that way,” Ferentz said. “At some point, we’ll get guys back. It’s been slow, that’s all.”

For the healthy players, the bye week was a chance to hone in on their mental skills, something that will be important, especially going into the Big House — Michigan Stadium — in two weeks.

“Just being mentally focused most of the time,” linebacker Amani Jones said. “This whole week is just really important getting the emphasis on being mentally ready all of the time.

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