The first question out of the chute Monday morning for Central Michigan coach Dan Enos centered on which Iowa running back his team prepares for this week.
That’s a good question with an answer still up in the air.
The depth chart Iowa (2-1) released Monday had walk-on fullback Mark Weisman listed No. 1 with true freshman Michael Malloy, also a walk-on, No. 2 going into the Hawkeyes’ matchup with the Chippewas (1-1). They had very different Saturday’s last week.
Weisman, a 6-0, 235-pound sophomore, went into the Hawkeyes’ victory over Northern Iowa with two career carries. He finished with 24 for 113 yards with three TDs. He also caught three passes for 33 yards. Malloy, a 6-0, 180-pounder, turned up ill on Tuesday and was out of uniform, watching the game from the bleachers behind Iowa’s bench.
Enos doesn’t know which one to prepare for, but he was impressed with Weisman.
“I think when the young man — I don’t know his name — 45 came in at tailback, I thought he did a good job,” Enos said. “I thought he ran really hard. They obviously planned for that and had a plan for him. I thought he ran very physically. I think if they can get those other guys back and continue to use him, they’ll have themselves a nice tandem going throughout their season.”
Hold on with the tandem talk.
Sophomore Damon Bullock gained 77 yards before he left the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a concussion. Freshman Greg Garmon, Bullock’s replacement, carried three times before leaving the game with an elbow injury.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said they have a chance to play this week, but a definitive answer might not come until midweek.
Central Michigan is coming off an idle week after it played host to Michigan State on Sept. 8 and fell, 41-7, to the Spartans. Michigan State’s defense will make a lot of quarterbacks crumble this year, and it did a number on CMU’s Ryan Radcliff, a three-year starter.
Radcliff’s pass efficiency was the second lowest of his career. His 44.7 completion percentage (17 of 38) was his worst since week 6 in 2010 against Virginia Tech.
It’s hard to get a gauge on where Radcliff is. Before Michigan State, the Chips beat Southeast Missouri State, an FCS program. Last season, Radcliff engineered CMU’s 48-41 victory over Northern Illinois, the Huskies’ lone loss in the Mid-American Conference last season. In that game, Radcliff threw four TD passes and had an efficiency of 223.9, which is otherworldly.
“Early on in the game, we missed our first three third-down opportunities when we had people open,” said Enos, who played quarterback at Michigan State and served as an assistant there under Mark Dantonio. “A couple of times later in the game, we had receivers open and he didn’t set his feet and throw the ball. That’s unacceptable at this point and we’ve been working with Ryan to try to move forward.”
CMU running back Zurlon Tipton averages an impressive 8.6 yards on 28 carries. He ran wild against SEMO, and was held to 62 yards on 11 carries against Michigan State.
Enos said the Michigan State game was an educational experience for the Chippewas.
“I hope our guys gained confidence in some of the things we were able to do, some of the way we were able to block them at times during the game, based on the fact that I think they’re [Michigan State] one of the better defenses in the country,” Enos said. ” That all being said, I think Iowa presents its own challenges.
“They do a great job playing their scheme, they’ve played it for many, many years. They’re very well coached, they’re very sound, they’re very physical.”
Here’s Iowa fullback Mark Weisman with a lift from earlier this summer.
Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle tweeted this link earlier this afternoon. Doyle wrote this about the lift: “Training clip of Mark Weisman -> .92 m/s is fast at 370 (+120 chain) 490 lbs at the top.”