Mark Farley expected to take a deep and talented stable of running backs to Northern Iowa’s season opener at Iowa.
Monday, the stable was much emptier.
At his weekly press luncheon Tuesday, the Panthers’ head football coach announced suspensions of veteran backs Derrick Law and Taylor Brookins. Law, Farley said, is out for UNI’s Sept. 5 debut, and Brookins has been suspended indefinitely.
“As much as we want to win this game and as much as I want to win this game … we will not compromise our university and our football program to do that,” Farley said. “We just feel that it’s even more magnified in a type of game like this against the University of Iowa.”
Brookins is a junior and a Cedar Falls High graduate. He was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana in Bremer County. Law, a senior from Kansas City who finished high school at Newton, was arrested Saturday. Authorities charged Law with two simple misdemeanors for public intoxication and criminal trespass after he walked into a house about two blocks from his home on North College Street in Cedar Falls.
Law and Brookins took the number of Panthers suspended recently to five.
Last week, reserve offensive linemen Evan Tecklenburg and Misha Danilov were ruled out for Iowa, along with backup quarterback Zach Davis. Tecklenburg was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Danilov drew the same charge and another for possession of marijuana. Davis was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Another Panther, defensive tackle Chuck Kinney, drew a suspended sentence and two years probation after pleading guilty to public intoxication in July. He is not under suspension.
“This is our first game, and a lot of things have happened,” Farley said. “But, at the same time, we’re looking forward to it and getting ready to go down to the University of Iowa.”
Without Law and Brookins, Carlos Anderson will be the featured ball carrier. A 5-foot-8, 172-pounder out of Blue Springs, Mo., Anderson came close to playing in 2008 when injuries struck star running back Corey Lewis. Lewis remained healthy enough to play, and Anderson stayed on the sideline.
During UNI’s spring and summer workouts, Anderson has been working consistently with the No. 1 offense.
“This is nothing that’s new to (Anderson),” Farley said. “I just think a lot of the young man, and we’ll see what happens with him. He’s never played in a game and he’s going to open up at Kinnick Stadium. Man, good luck. That’s quite a place to open up, but it’s a neat deal for him and all our players.”
Farley could turn to one of three Panthers to back up Anderson — red-shirt freshman Joe Johnson, freshman Terrell Sinkfield and junior Matt Strathman.
Of that trio, only Strathman has playing experience at UNI.
– Jim Sullivan, Waterloo Courier