I wonder about things, just like you guys do. And I watched true freshman running back LeShun Daniels against Western Michigan. You know, that time he played. That time. I watched and, yes, we all saw the fumble. I think it was his second carry. He’s a running back. Fumbles happen. Coaches can grok this, coach it up and move on.
I watched him in pass protection. I didn’t think it went particularly well, so I kind of in the back of my head thought, ‘OK, there it is. That’s why we don’t see more of the 225-pound freshman running back. Makes sense.’ I don’t really think appositives like that. If I did, I’ll just go ahead and donate my brain to science right now.
Why am I bringing up a freshman running back whose 19 carries have come in two games? And who hasn’t carried since logging 13 against Western Michigan?
Well, RB Mark Weisman hurt his ankle against Michigan State. From everything I’ve heard, he’s in this week. How “in”? I’m not sure. I’m going to go ahead and assume Daniels is healthy, unless something happened last week, when developmental players scrimmaged during bye week.
So, that’s why I brought him up during Kirk Ferentz’s news conference last week. Well, that and you guys always ask about him. Sorry, I can’t get to whether or not there’s regret on pulling the redshirt off. Players want to play. They want to play and not redshirt, and then they want to play after dumping the redshirt. I’m going to assume that’s where Daniels’ head is at.
OK, I asked and here were the answers from Ferentz:
“It’s just tough to get the guys in the game, and we didn’t have a lot of possessions, a lot of snaps the way the game was going,” Ferentz said. “Probably not the best time in the world. Damon [Bullock] stepped in and did a great job. He’s been playing well.”
Daniels’ pass pro, OK, then?
“Yeah, that doesn’t worry us so much with him at least,” Ferentz said. “I think that’s one thing he does a pretty good job of. That wasn’t a big issue, no.”
Let’s all try to read between the lines here and be done with the Daniels question (at least for now): Weisman is the No. 1 running back. Bullock is the No. 2 running back. Jordan Canzeri is the No. 3 running back. And Daniels is the No. 4 running back.
Weisman will get No. 1 RB carries. How much will those be Saturday against Ohio State? Coming off the ankle, let’s try to guess 15 to 20. Is that enough for Iowa to win at Columbus? Probably not, but let’s keep an open mind in that regard.
Bullock will get No. 2 carries and he’ll be the primary RB-cum-WR. Looks like the magical slot position is a no-go. Let’s not feed that delusion this winter (I’m just as guilty as anyone on that).
Canzeri has gotten courtesy series. Take out the Western Michigan game (13 carries) and he’s at three carries a game. You don’t have to read between the lines to see that he’s clearly not in the game plan.
None of these guys really see any time on special teams, either. Yes, you could probably attribute that to AIRBHG factor, but most healthy special teams are heavy with LBs and RBs.
The point: Weisman is your running back. Coaches like Bullock’s versatility and what he can do as a running back beyond that. I would guess his size (6-0, 205) is a differentiator with Canzeri (5-9, 189).
These roles seem rather locked in. The magic switcheroo isn’t happening. Unless, of course, there’s an injury meaner than a sprained ankle.
So, Daniels is No. 4 and that’s about it.
Ferentz transcript from today:
Here’s Kirk Ferentz summary from Big Ten teleconference:
Is Weisman ready to go — Weisman is doing fine.
Meyer has called his pass D “alarming,” do you see some vulnerabilities — We see a team that’s very, very talented. It’s hard to find a weak spot. They’ve won however many in a row. That’s no accident.
Last trip in ’09 — It was disappointing. It was a great game. Great environment. One of the great things about our conference. Anytime you go, you’re playing a tough, well-coached football team.
How close to getting back to being a game from Rose? — Every season different, every team different. We’re 4-2 trying to figure out how to get win No. 5.
What do you see in OSU’s offense? — We’re going to find that out Saturday. Backup QB and RB have better stats than the guys who’ve started the last two weeks. That just shows you their depth. Pick a position, try to find a weakness. Good luck with that one.
OSU’s depth — Approaching 20 wins, they’ve been consistent. Scoring points and moving the football. No matter what 11, they’re playing well and at a high level.
Tell us about Jake Rudock, pre-med class load — It doesn’t hurt. Thinking about Andrew Luck, not comparing the two as QBs. Luck was architectural engineering major. In Jake’s case, sharp guy, serious about academics. Grasps things on the field, too. Football skills and practical knowledge don’t always mesh.
As a QB? — You don’t know, you never know and that’s especially true about QB. Everybody is an expert, so they get a lot of critiquing from everybody. He’s demonstrated a lot of resiliency. Haven’t seen this opponent or environment.
Damond Powell and recruiting process — Looked at jucos last year. Thought if located the right guy, there was the interest. Impressed with him. Grew up in Toledo. Sister is an Ohio State grad, I believe.
Iowa would’ve been in trouble if it would’ve played Saturday, Ferentz says about 44 seconds in. (FWIW, and, really, who knows how much there is to read into this, but guys who were hurt who usually show up for interviews but weren’t there Tuesday include WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, DE Dominic Alvis and LBs Christian Kirksey and James Morris. SIDs said Morris had a class conflict. Again, who knows how much to read into this.)
Asked about OSU’s front seven. Braxton Miller vs. Terrelle Pryor. On Iowa being improved on defense from a year ago. Better where? D-line was the first answer. Columbus, the Horse Shoe and what a tough place. Ohio recruiting.
Special teams: That return thing sure got some national play. He left it at “I’m not real interested in seeing a fake punt anytime soon.” Gameplanning Ohio State, what might work and how it has to come out of the framework of what you do. Discussion on what video review is relevant for Iowa going into Ohio State. Wisconsin was the winner. OSU held UW to 104 rushing yards. About 2:47 a barrage of Urban Meyer questions come down the pike. What and listen. Weird stuff. Better questions come around five minutes.
More punt return. Being able to run the ball against Ohio State. KF referenced the ’80s. There really is no easy answer here, so I don’t blame him. On Braxton Miller. On John Lowdermilk.
Has Iowa ever held the advantage over Ohio State in talent when the teams have played? Question on Iowa’s run defense. LB Anthony Hitchens comes up. Question on whether or not Iowa gave up on the run too quickly vs. MSU. Question on OSU LB Ryan Shazier. Again recruiting in Ohio.
B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY – Jan. 1, 1994 – Wisconsin 21, UCLA 16: In the Badgers’ first Rose Bowl Game appearance since 1963, Brent Moss rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns en route to winning MVP honors. Quarterback Darrell Bevell scored what would be the game-deciding touchdown early in the fourth quarter. UCLA’s late rally stalled inside the Badger 20-yard line as time expired, giving Wisconsin its first Rose Bowl Game victory.
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan’s Jon Jansen: Winner of the 1999 Big Ten Medal of Honor, Jansen was a two-time All-Big Ten performer at Michigan and helped lead the Wolverines to a national title in 1997. Serving as captain during his junior and senior seasons, Jansen earned All-America status as a senior, while also garnering Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 1997 and 1998. Following his collegiate career, Jansen was drafted in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and became a model of consistency during his 10-year career. He started 125 of the 137 games in which he played and was named a second-team All-Pro in 2005.
Breaking Down the Legends Division: Each Legends Division squad has played two conference games, with Michigan State and Nebraska holding the top spot with matching 2-0 marks . . .
Breaking Down the Leaders Division: Ohio State carries the lone perfect conference record in the Leaders Division, boasting a 2-0 Big Ten mark heading into this weekend’s contest against Iowa . . .
Ahead of the Pack: Boasting the conference’s lone unblemished record at 6-0, Ohio State has the nation’s longest active winning streak at 18 games . . . Ohio State is one of only 14 teams around the country yet to suffer a loss this season.
Spreading the Offense: Now at the halfway point of the 2013 regular season, Big Ten programs are scoring at a higher rate than a season ago . . . conference teams are averaging 34.7 points per game, combining for 2,465 points through 71 games, an increase of more than five points per game from 2012 . . .
Defense Doesn’t Rest: While Big Ten offenses are scoring at an increased rate, conference defenses are continuing to maintain their stingy ways. Six conference programs rank among the nation’s top 20 in total defense, seven rank among the top 30 in rushing defense and four are among the top 25 in scoring defense . . .
Going Overtime: Last Saturday’s Michigan-Penn State . . . four-overtime thriller was the longest game in conference history . . .
Kicking Around Records: Michigan State punter Mike Sadler established a new Big Ten all games record last Saturday . . .
Wanna read Iowa’s strategic athletics plan in PDF form? Why not, right?
I’m actually just posting this for my reference, but definitely read. (My name isn’t in there. Neither is my profession. Neither is the piece of paper in the proverbial wind.)