IOWA CITY — As long as it’s not on the west coast, night games are OK with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. He’s really, really OK with them if they’re at Kinnick Stadium.
And so, yes, he’s good with Iowa’s lone night game this season being a 7 p.m. kickoff Oct. 20 against Penn State on the Big Ten Network.
“I’m all for night games at home; I’m all against them on the road, especially in the western time zones,” he joked Tuesday. “Night games in Kinnick, that’s tough to beat that.
“I joke about the only bad thing about playing on the road is coming home. It just makes for a long night or an early morning, but night games are pretty neat. When I was in high school, we played at night, and it’s kind of a special feeling.
‘You go back to the atmosphere we were involved in at Penn State a couple of years ago. If you like college football, that’s a great thing to be involved in. But all that being said, I’d rather be in Kinnick.”
This will be Iowa’s only night game during the regular season. No other start times have been set for Iowa.
Iowa is 6-3 in night games in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa has wins over Northwestern (2011), Penn State (2010), Michigan (2009), Syracuse (2007), Arizona State (2003) and Northern Illinois (1999), and losses to Ohio State (2006), Iowa State (2002) and Miami, Fla. (1992).
DiBona career over
Linebacker Shane DiBona’s career with the Hawkeyes is over. After missing 2011 with a ruptured Achilles, DiBona tried to make a comeback this spring, but instead opted for a medical hardship.
“He was injured early in spring, and he’s not going to be able to come back,” Ferentz said. “He’s going to take a medical, and he’ll stay in school and finish his degree, but will not play football anymore. We’re certainly sorry to make that announcement.”
DiBona was one of 13 Hawkeyes hospitalized during the rhabdomyolysis outbreak in January 2011. He also had shoulder surgery during the ’11 offseason.
Talking Hill, Garmon
Ferentz has a list of things he wants to get to now that spring practice is over. Incoming freshman running backs Barkley Hill and Greg Garmon are on that list.
Running back Jordan Canzeri suffered the injury of spring practice, suffering a torn ACL on the third day. The door isn’t completely shut on a 2012 return for him, but Ferentz said Tuesday that’s a “touch and go” proposition.
In the meantime, Ferentz said he wants to contact the incoming freshmen to let them know they are in the running for starting running back. Ferentz also reiterated that he liked what he saw this spring from sophomores Damon Bullock and De’Andre Johnson, both of whom rushed for more than 100 yards in the spring scrimmage.
“I think they [Bullock and Johnson] improved pretty much each and every day and feel a lot better about what they’re doing now and where they’re at,” Ferentz said. “But we’re going to need more than two guys, certainly, so if those two guys [Hill and Garmon] can help us, that would be a great thing.”
Other areas where freshmen could break in:
“We have other positions as well,” Ferentz said. “We don’t have our punting position settled by any stretch, defense and receiver, I think anywhere on defense and receiver, too.”
If you follow the voices that come through Iowa football, you probably don’t remember former left tackle Riley Reiff saying much. So no, Ferentz wasn’t surprised when Reiff declined an invite from the NFL to attend the draft in New York this weekend.
“He does have a grandfather who is up there in age a little bit and who is frail right now. I think that’s it, first and foremost,” Ferentz said. “That’s also not really Riley’s nature. I promise you, Riley would be a lot more comfortable in Green Bay than New York City, if he had a choice where he went.
“Wherever he goes, he line up and practice hard and learn and do whatever a good pro will do, not unlike Marshal Yanda. He’s cut from that same cloth. Riley is a guy who’d rather be out fishing or do things like that than be in Manhattan and hanging out with whoever. He’s not about attention. Riley has never done a thing to garner attention.”
Ferentz gets the old NFL O-line coach glint in his eye when he discusses former guard Adam Gettis. If Ferentz were still with the Ravens, you get the feeling Gettis would be in purple.
“Gettis might be a sleeper in the whole thing,” Ferentz said. “Everyone is worried about his size, but this guy just blocks people.”
Tackle Markus Zusevics, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle while bench pressing at the combine, should be ready for training camp, Ferentz said. “Zuse will be fine. I’d be shocked if he didn’t get drafted.”