Running back is in Rodney Coe's heart.
A player who's half interested in running back doesn't say this: ""Iowa runs the football," Coe told HawkeyeInsider.com. "That's exactly what I'm about. I want the rock in my hands."
Running back is Iowa's heart. Iowa's offense works best when it has a grinder who, all of the sudden, has 125 yards in the fourth quarter and is still getting carries. Without question, Iowa's best game in 2010 was the Insight Bowl with Marcus Coker's 219 yards. It was a Shonn Greene flashback.
The opportunity is there. Coker and De'Andre Johnson were the only two scholarship running backs before Iowa signed four more last week.
"Really, just depth chart wise, everybody knows that they're low on running backs," Coe told HawkeyeReport.com. "They don't have many coming back next year, so it gives me a good opportunity to go in there and play or maybe start depending on how I do when I get there."
Links -- Coe is another "bloodline" recruit. Iowa has a few of those this year. Coe's football roots are deep, as noted in this Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer story. Just for skips and giggles, this story also threw in Coe's defensive stats: In four seasons at EHS he compiled 77 total tackles, 33 solo tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception. (Bonus -- Coe also was the Alton Telegraph player of the year in '09.)
Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Participated in the U.S. Army All-American game. 2) Third-team all-conference linebacker as a junior. 3) Was on ESPN 150 watch list after junior year.
Ferentz on -- Coe weighs 255 pounds coming into Iowa City. The Big Ten is home of 260-or-so-pound running backs, but this is Coe's weight coming in, before any weightroom training on the collegiate level.
"You know, if he can hold at that area, 250, 255, maybe -- but if he outgrows it that won't be a bad thing, but our intentions are to play him at running back and we have shared that with him and we are excited about that," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We think he's a good running back."
Coe was recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson's recruit. Iowa sold him on running back and that's where this stands.
"A different type of player," Johnson said. "He’s 6-3 and about 250 to 255 pounds. Unbelievable hands. He’s a guy you can play in the slot and do a number of things with. He has good speed and good enough feet to make you miss."
Coe did play linebacker in the Army all-star game.
"We recruited him as a running back," Johnson said. "That’s what we thought from day one. That’s what we’re going to start him out as, at running back."
What did he think about playing linebacker in that game?
"He wasn’t excited about it, but then he bought into the concept and I think he had a really good time in that all-star game and during that week," Johnson said.
Projection is fun -- I think Coe has the potential to be an outstanding Big Ten running back. Or maybe linebacker. Or maybe defensive end.
Here's a snippet of a scouting report from Rivals.com during the Army Bowl:
"The Iowa pledge wants to play running back at the next level, but he appeared to be a linebacker fit with a couple pass breakups. In theory, Coe should look like a fish out of water in 7-on-7 drills, but he showed an understanding of where to be. Believe it or not, Coe debated bailing on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because he couldn't play running back. He made a good move by showing."
I write this everytime I get the A.J. Derby question.
This comes down to what's in his heart vs. what makes sense in football.