IOWA CITY — Undoubtedly, you’ll be looking for No. 3.
You won’t find Brandon Wegher, at least not at today’s open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium.
The sophomore running back left Iowa’s camp last Saturday night and wasn’t back through Friday, which was Iowa’s second consecutive day of two-a-day drills.
On Friday’s Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio, coach Kirk Ferentz addressed the situation publicly for the first time.
“Brandon Wegher has left camp,” Ferentz said. “He’s working through some things personally, but we’re hopeful at some point here in the near future, he’ll rejoin our team.”
The 5-foot-11, 206-pounder, who rushed for 641 yards and a freshman record eight TDs last fall, was in Iowa City through Friday, but might’ve left for his hometown, Sioux City, on Friday morning.
It’s not known if any resolution has been reached or if there is one in sight in the near future.
Iowa began its second week of fall camp and a two-week stay in the Coralville Marriott. Today will mark Wegher’s seventh day out of camp.
The clock is definitely ticking with Iowa’s season opener three weeks from today, Sept. 4 against Eastern Illinois.
So, assuming no Wegher — for now, at least – what’s Iowa running back look like?
Sophomore Adam Robinson likely will be the unchallenged No. 1 for Eastern Illinois. Among the remaining running backs, Robinson has the best resume, leading the Hawkeyes with 834 yards and 4.6 yards a carry. Also playing into it, though, is the one-game suspension sophomore Jewel Hampton will serve against Eastern for a summer public intoxication arrest.
Robinson would be the No. 1 today, the only open practice during the 29 practices of fall camp. Hampton, who’s also coming off a torn ACL suffered last June, is No. 2. Ferentz said Friday that Hampton is “practicing very well.”
Senior Paki O’Meara likely is the No. 3. Freshman De’Andre Johnson, who’s coming off a torn ACL as a high school senior last year, might be next with fellow freshman Marcus Coker out with a broken collarbone and redshirt freshman Brad Rogers working out at fullback.
Earlier in his appearance on the Van Pelt Show, Ferentz spoke as though he expected Wegher back in camp.
“I really consider all three of our guys to be starters,” he said. “They’re all very similar, in that they’ve got one year experience.”
The offensive line that went into camp No. 1 appears to be holding.
Returning starters guard Julian Vandervelde and tackle Riley Reiff aren’t going anywhere. New guys tackle Markus Zusevics and guard Adam Gettis have held on to their spots. According to the pictures on Hawkeyesports.com, Josh Koeppel might have an edge on James Ferentz at center.
Ferentz said at the beginning of camp that kicker is wide open. Senior Daniel Murray and sophomore Trent Mossbrucker are the top contestants. Freshmen Jonny Mullings and Mike Meyer also are in camp. Presumably, the field goal job is a battle between Murray (32 of 45) and Mossbrucker (13 of 15), with Mullings and Murray possibly in competition for kickoffs.