Injury rundown — As reported here yesterday, quarterback Ricky Stanzi had surgery on his right ankle. Pins were put in. Coach Kirk Ferentz said they decided to go the surgical route because it has a “predictable outcome.” They might’ve wanted to shorten the recovery so he could be ready for a bowl game.
“It’s a procedure that just gives you more predictable outcome,” Ferentz said. “And for a severe ankle issue like he had, our medical staff feels that’s the most prudent way to go. The best way to predict an outcome.
“We’ve had other players have it in the past. Just a little more attention on this one, I suppose. We’ve had good success with them, so I think that’s the game plan all wait there.”
Safety Brett Greenwood and wide receiver Colin Sandeman are definite maybes, per Ferentz.
“I think Brett Greenwood and Colin Sandeman have fair chances of making it back. We plan on seeing both of them out on the practice field today.”
Stanzi is going to Ohio State and will serve as a team captain. Ferentz wants him talking to newbie James Vandenberg. Plus, this tells you a little something about Stanzi’s status on the team.
“Certainly Rick’s role, now this week besides his rehab, turns into helping him be a tutor,” Ferentz said. “Another guy that can talk with James and John. He started that process Sunday night. So he’s been active already. I think that’s his plan. It will help him keep involved, too.”
For that it’s worth, with the prospect of surgery hanging over his head Monday morning, Stanzi spent time Sunday night going over video with Vandenberg.
Also for what it’s worth, Stanzi reported to practice right on time Tuesday.
It might be bravado talking, but Ferentz didn’t entirely rule out Stanzi for next week. But it was a high-ankle sprain that called for surgery, so realistically Stanzi might be ready for the bowl game.
“We’ll see what happens next week. It’s possible, it’s possible. I don’t think likely, but it’s possible,” Ferentz said. “You’re really looking at a situation pretty much like (Adam) Robinson or (Tony) Moeaki where these things are typically three or four weeks. But everybody’s different. We’ll see where he’s at the end of the week.”
Bowl game now?
“I think realistic,” Ferentz said. “If there’s a positive here it’s that we have a break after the 12 days from now. It’s a week for everybody to get healthy, and certainly in Rick’s case, it will be beneficial.”
ARob a go? — Ferentz was asked if Robinson, who’s been out since suffering a high-ankle sprain against Michigan State, might be ready this week. Robinson has said on his Facebook account that it’s time to push through the pain and play.
“(Robinson is) training, working out. He has’t practiced yet. We’ll see what happens. He’s improved rapidly. He’s climbing the ladder,” Ferentz said.
\Will he practice this week?
“He might get a crack at it,” Ferentz said. “I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I’m a little suspect because of his position and we’re only a couple weeks out. I’m not getting my hopes up. I’ll take the bonus if we get him back.”
Robinson didn’t have surgery, by the way.
QB No. 3 — No really straight answer here. But plenty of sarcasm.
“I don’t think we have one right now,” Ferentz said. “Wyatt Suess (walk-on freshman from CR Washington), Marvin McNutt (former QB who’s now averaging 23.8 yards per catch as a wide receiver).
“Maybe we’ll put the wildcat in.”
They won’t put the wildcat in.
Touchy subject — You guys wanted to know about reps. Vandenberg was limited if any first-team reps. That’s how Ferentz and, he said, most rational football coaches run the show.
Ferentz heard that this had become noise somewhere in the system on Saturday. He responded with a mini-rant.
“I’ll throw this out there because one of my friends called me over the weekend. He had heard it in one of those meetings rooms on the websites or talk shows or whatever the hell it is,” Ferentz said. “Word out there is about Vandenberg not getting snaps.
“I don’t know how long I’ve been coaching, but I’ve been here for a while. I worked under Jackie Sherill, Hayden Fry, Bill Belichick, and Ted Marchibroda. I’ve seen a lot of practices including Chuck Noles, Bill Cowher. I’ve never seen a No. 2 quarterback get as many reps as the ones. I’ve never heard of that. So, supposedly that was out there this weekend. Just a little one for the record to educate the crowd. But, you know, wow, that’s kind of bizarre.”
Keep your shirt on — Linebacker Pat Angerer apparently has wrestled or MMA’d with Vandenberg. They’ve engaged in a physical activity that involves choking and fighting (probably mostly goofing). Really, it’s just fun and trash talk when the redshirt freshman QB and senior 240-pound LB kick it in Angerer’s basement.
Angerer is the youngest of five children. He’s never had a younger brother. That probably plays into this, too.
“Look at him, you should see him with his shirt off,” Angerer joked. “He’s usually talking trash and gets his butt kicked pretty good.”
Saturday, Angerer said, “I’ve literally choked him unconscious before and he’s gotten up talking trash. We’re going to be OK.”
No way, Vandenberg said.
“That’s not totally true,” he said. “Pat’s a real good friend of mine. He’s real good with all the younger guys. He was one of the first guys I really hung out with my freshman year coming in.
“I go over to his house with him and Troy (Johnson, a linebacker) and Tyler Sash all the time and hang out. And yeah, we’ve had some wrestling matches over the offseason that weren’t . . . they were a little lopsided.
“I don’t think he’s ever put me unconscious, but I think he’s come pretty close.”
After Vandenberg finally finished with interviews, he passed Angerer, who couldn’t resist.
“You told them (media) the truth, right, about you getting your [bleep] kicked,” Angerer said.
“I told them that wasn’t quite the truth,” Vandenberg said.
Vandenberg had another shirtless observation go his way Tuesday.
“Probably the biggest flaw he had when he came here, when we recruited him was he weighed about 170 pounds. That scared me a little bit the first time I saw him,” Ferentz said.
“You know at basketball practice, he had his basketball jersey on. It was a little hard to envision him playing Division-1 football. He looked pretty thin. But Chuck Long looked like that when he got here, and James has worked really hard physically. He’s a whole different guy than he was a few years ago.”
Still bought the waders — Vandenberg is an avid hunter and fisherman. After his baptism of fire — including a 9-of-27 performance – he sneaked out of town with a quick trip to the the Bass Pro Shop in Altoona.
It’s his 20th birthday in a couple weeks and his dad, Toby, wanted to get the birthday present out of the way because they knew the next couple weeks are going to be nutty.
While trying on a pair of waders, the sales guy asked if he was at the Iowa game.
“So, I was up in Bass Pro Shop trying some waders on, some hunting waders. The guy was like, ‘Did you go to the (Iowa) game today?’ I was like, ‘Yeah,’ ” Vandenberg said.
“And he said, ‘Did it look as rough in person as it did on TV?’ And I said, ‘You have no idea.’ ”
Get ready to gasp, Vandenberg is not on Facebook. He’s the only 20-year-old in captivity who isn’t.
He said he’s gotten a few unfamiliar text messages, but everything has been supportive.