CHICAGO — Iowa fullback Brad Rogers remains out of workouts with a heart condition, but the situation has improved, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Rogers’ ailment was discovered during Insight Bowl practices last December. He hasn’t been able to work out since it was discovered. In April, Ferentz said doctors were still narrowing down what the specific condition could be. At the Big Ten spring meetings, he said Rogers’ situation is very unique.
“I think we’re moving in a positive direction, but we still haven’t gotten a final analysis on it,” Ferentz said. “I’ve been told the longer it goes, the more positive it is, as far as the tests they’ve done. We’re hopeful he’ll be able to return at some point during the summer months. That’s optimistically speaking.”
In the meantime, Rogers hasn’t been able to work out at all. Iowa begins voluntary summer conditioning next week.
Rogers, who rushed for 75 yards last season, started one game at fullback and was expected to be the starter this fall. Junior Jonathan Gimm (6-3, 240), a converted tight end, has the inside track to the job after spring practice.
In other injury news, redshirt freshman linebacker Jim Poggi has had two offseason shoulder surgeries, Ferentz said. Poggi, who also had rhabdomyolysis, could be looking at a medical waiver, Ferentz said.
Ferentz expects Iowa’s other spring injuries, including wide receiver Marvin McNutt (shoulder, thumb) and safety Tanner Miller (shoulder), to be in drills by mid-June.
Iowa night game — Ferentz believes Iowa will have one night game. The heavy rumor here is that it will be Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 15 on the Big Ten Network.
The BTN will make that announcement later this week.
There was no real discussion here this week about the Big Ten allowing November night games.
Chicago or Indy? Indoor or outdoors? — Civic groups from Chicago and Indianapolis made their pitches to host the Big Ten championship football game and men’s and women’s basketball tournaments during the Big Ten spring meetings on Tuesday.
Let the indoors or outdoors debate now rage for football.
“It’ll be warmer indoors, that’s for sure,” Ferentz said. “The field will be dry. We’ll defer to the leadership of the conference and let them figure that out.”
But seriously, folks . . .
“If you went indoors, that’d be one way to make sure you could guarantee the conditions,” Ferentz said. “If you went the other direction, you could say the NFL does it.”
Early signing period? — Ferentz has long been a proponent of an early signing period for football. Right now, FBS football’s signing day is the first Wednesday in February. Division I basketball has signing periods in November and April.
The subject didn’t come up with Big Ten football coaches this week.
“I gave up on that one,” Ferentz said. “I’ve surrendered.”
Agents and the draft — Agents were a point of discussion for football coaches here.
The issue boiled last summer when North Carolina suffered several stars were ruled ineligible before the season because of contact with agents.
“It’s become an industry,” Ferentz said. “NFL players sign big contracts and there’s a trickle down effect with us. It’s not going away. We’re going to have to try to work with it.
“My concern is more with underclassmen right now, them not getting a good look at what their draft potential might be. I think that’s become a little more prominent.”
The worry is agents overselling underclassmen on where they might go in the draft. Iowa went through that this offseason. Cornerback Shaun Prater and McNutt submitted their names to the draft advisory board. Prater said his evaluation was he wouldn’t be drafted in the first three rounds, so he decided to stay in school. McNutt didn’t discuss what round he was told, but he stayed in school.
“Agents have an agenda and a bias,” Ferentz said. “If a player wants to do something, they’re going to be more apt to believe [what an agent says].”
Black Friday game — Of course, you know Iowa and Nebraska will meet on the Friday after Thanksgiving in Lincoln this fall.
The Friday game has been a Nebraska tradition. It’s new to Iowa, but it’s something Ferentz embraces.
“I think it’s a positive,” Ferentz said. “I think it was a mutual discussion. I think it makes sense for both schools and hopefully it’ll be a good thing for the conference.”
Ohio — New Michigan coach Brady Hoke has been called on the fact that when referencing Ohio State he only says “Ohio.”
It’s true. He was asked an Ohio State question Wednesday and said “Ohio.”
When asked about November night games, Hoke said he wouldn’t want Michigan-Ohio State to be played at night.