Iowa notes: Prep rivalries still burn for Vandenberg
IOWA CITY — Once again, it’s next man in on the offensive line.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed left tackle Brandon Scherff and right guard Andrew Donnal are out for the season with injuries suffered against Penn State on Saturday.
“Brandon’s got a broken bone, and Andrew’s got a knee injury,” Ferentz said.
As of Tuesday, Nolan MacMillan is slated to start for Scherff, while red-shirt freshman Austin Blythe is reinserted into the starting lineup. Both players have previous starts along the offensive line.
Blythe, a red-shirt freshman from Williamsburg, missed two games with a high-ankle sprain before replacing Donnal. Blythe, who started the first four games, said he back to 100 percent.
“It’s just typical, nothing serious,” he said. “I’m glad I got an opportunity, but it’s unfortunate it came at the expense of Andrew.”
At cornerback, B.J. Lowery returned to action Saturday after missing two games with a high-ankle sprain.
Lowery, a junior from Cincinnati, was the team’s nickel back against Penn State. He started the team’s first four games but is listed as behind Greg Castillo on the current depth chart.
Running back Damon Bullock is cleared to practice again after missing the last four games with a concussion. Bullock, a sophomore, initially was cleared to play against Michigan State but suffered a setback that week and has not played since week three.
“He is cleared to practice full speed this week, but we’ve got to get him into the game Saturday,” Ferentz said.
Rivalries never die
Quarterback James Vandenberg and wide receiver Jordan Cotton have worked together for four years, but the tandem were competitors not long ago.
In 2007, Vandenberg led Keokuk to the Class 3A state title. Keokuk’s only blemish that season was a 21-20 loss to Mount Pleasant because of a long run from Cotton.
“I will forever hate him for that,” Vandenberg said. “He’s a great competitor. I played him in every sport in high school basically.”
“I still let him know about it every once in a while,” Cotton said.
Vandenberg’s rivalry with Oskaloosa native and former Iowa teammate Tyler Sash remains fierce. In 2006, Keokuk ousted Oskaloosa from a playoff bid with a 34-28 overtime win. Sash, now a safety with the New York Giants, cried after the loss, of which Vandenberg continues to remind him.
“(Sash) was like the most hated player in the history of our conference,” Vandenberg said. “About a year ago ... I get all these texts about Sash put a picture up of him stiff-arming me his senior year. I played safety, sparingly, he’s got a pretty good picture of him with his hand around my helmet. He’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s your quarterback Iowa, blah, blah, blah.’ I sent him a text message of a paper clipping that showed him, it was a picture on the front of our paper that had him fumbling the ball to lose the game.”
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and running back Mark Weisman hail from the Chicagoland area and both are in the market for extra tickets for Saturday’s game.
“You try to get as many as you can,” said Weisman, who comes from Buffalo Grove. “You try to get from the younger guys and the people who aren’t from Illinois. So a lot of people are, and a lot of people want these tickets. They’re tough to get.”
Fiedorowicz said he often trades with teammates based on game location.“We kind of make deals,” said Fiedorowicz, who’s from Johnsburg. “I’ll give some to some guys’ games where my family’s not coming, and they’ll give me some where they’re family’s not coming. It’s not that hard.”