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According to a report, Iowa wide receiver Matt VandeBerg suffered a broken foot in practice on Monday and will undergo surgery Tuesday.
On Monday night, HawkeyeReport.com tweeted that VandeBerg suffered the injury during Monday’s practice. How much time VandeBerg will miss is uncertain. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz meets with the media Tuesday.
Hearing tonight that Matt VandeBerg broke his foot today in practice. Needless to say, not good news for the Hawkeyes. Ferentz update Tues.— Tom Kakert (@HawkeyeReport) September 27, 2016
If VandeBerg is ruled out for the season, it’s likely he will not be eligible for a medical hardship waiver. The senior from Brandon, S.D., has played in four games this season, that’s more than the 30 percent that the NCAA rule allows for a hardship waiver.
VandeBerg is Iowa’s leading receiver with 19 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns. The 19 receptions are tied for third in the Big Ten. After VandeBerg, who led Iowa with 65 receptions last season, Iowa’s No. 2 receiver is tight end George Kittle, who has 10 catches for 192 yards.
Iowa’s wide receiver group went into the season as a question mark. Now, second-year sophomore Jerminic Smith is the leader in the group. He has seven catches for 97 yards this season. Sophomore Ronald Nash and true freshman Devonte Young traveled with the team to Rutgers last week and might be in line for more looks in the passing game.
More on this Tuesday.
B1G honor for Coluzzi
Google “Ron Coluzzi trucked” and you’ll see a video of the Central Michigan punter getting drilled by a Purdue play.
Today’s Google will read Big Ten special teams player of the week.
In Iowa’s 14-7 victory at Rutgers last weekend, Coluzzi averaged 42.0 yards on seven punts, with a long of 55 yards. Four of those were downed inside the Scarlet Knights’ 20-yard line, helping greatly in a game where field position was magnified. Coluzzi also recorded touchbacks on all three of his kickoffs and now leads the Big Ten lead with 18.
The weekly honor is the first for Coluzzi, a graduate transfer from Central Michigan.
Coluzzi is the second Hawkeye to earn B1G player of the week in 2016. Redshirt freshman defensive end Anthony Nelson was named freshman of the week following Iowa’s opening win over Miami (Ohio). Marshall Koehn was Iowa’s last special teams player of the week (Sept. 21, 2015).
Through four games, Coluzzi averages 43.2 yards on 20 punts, with opponents returning just two punts for no yards. He has five punts of 50 yards or more and just one touchback. Coluzzi has recorded 18 touchbacks on 22 kickoffs.
Coluzzi’s best hangtime against Rutgers, according to Pro Football Focus, was 4.51 seconds.
Coluzzi graduated from Central Michigan with a degree in marketing and logistics. He used that “Coluzzi trucked” video clip during an internship last summer.
“I did an internship for Coyote Logistics (in Chicago, near his Naperville, Ill., hometown) last summer and I sold freight out of a brokerage,” he said. “I would send that video to some of my clients to get the ball rolling with whatever we were selling that day.
“It did work. I got a bunch of relationships with companies. People always joked about it over the phone.”
Running back Derrick Mitchell wasn’t listed on the depth chart released Monday by Iowa (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten). He suffered a leg injury and didn’t play against North Dakota State and didn’t make the trip to Rutgers last weekend. Going into this week’s matchup with Northwestern (1-3, 0-1) 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium, Mitchell appears to be the only significant injury for Iowa.
Outside linebacker Ben Niemann did leave last week’s game near the end and was replaced by Kevin Ward. Niemann was available for postgame interviews and seemed fine.
Guard Sean Welsh (ankle) and center James Daniels (knee) returned to the lineup last week and helped turn around the Hawkeyes running game. Iowa had just 34 yards against NDSU (its lowest output in 36 games) and then churned out 193 against the Scarlet Knights.
Offensive personnel groups
11 (one back, one tight end, three WRs) — 5 rushes for 29 yards; 1 of 5 passes for 5 yards
11 shotgun — 4 rushes for 7 yards; 8 of 10 for 129 yards and a TD
21 (running back, fullback, one TE, two WR) — 14 runs for 127 yards and TD; 1 of 3 for 6 yards
22 (two backs, two TEs) — 4 runs for 24 yards; 1 of 1 passing for 20 yards
12 (one back, two TEs) — 7 rushes for 9 yards; 1 of 2 for 12 yards passing
32 (three backs, two TEs) — Championship formation 2 kneels for minus-5
Let’s check some Pro Football Focus grades
Go to Pro Footbal Focus and totally dig into that site. Learn about football. Get smarter. Win arguments. That’s the whole point of what they do and what I try to do (sometimes not as great as others).
Iowa’s run blockers ranked by PFF (starting O-line, fullbacks and TE):
1. G Boone Myers
2. G Sean Welsh
3. C James Daniels
4. FB Drake Kulick
5. TE George Kittle
6. FB Brady Ross
7. OT Cole Croston
8. OT Ike Boettger
Myers’ number was hugely positive. It might’ve been his best game as a Hawkeye. Graded Iowa’s highest by a large margin. Welsh was the only other positively graded, but Daniels was close. Their return to the lineup made a huge difference.
PFF’s top pass blocker this week
Myers, Daniels, Boettger and Welsh graded positively, with Welsh leading the way. Here’s something I didn’t consider, but PFF put two of Rutgers’ sacks on Beathard.
Best PFF overall grades for the offense this week
1. G Boone Myers
2. G Sean Welsh
3. C James Daniels
4. TE George Kittle
5. (tie) QB C.J. Beathard and RB LeShun Daniels
Myers was off-the-charts good. Welsh and Daniels were positive grades. Their impact was obvious. Kittle put up another solid week. Beathard and LeShun Daniels were neutral scores, but very close to positive grades. Tackles Boettger and Cole Croston and No. 2 TE Peter Pekar were negative grades. Rutgers fielded a couple of pretty good pass rushers.
— Here’s what it looks like when a defense is able to pressure a QB with its front four: PFF had Rutgers with just three blitzes, but also with 11 pass plays pressure. Weird game for Beathard: He completed 2 of 2 when blitzed, but hit just 10 of 21 on 28 dropbacks (yes, only 23 passes, but scrambles are counted here). Beathard had his best game with his feet in his last nine games and was Iowa’s lone positive grade in running the ball.
— Last week, NDSU sold out to stop Iowa’s inside zone, holding the Hawkeyes to just seven rush attempts between the guards and center for 17 yards. Total opposite this week. Hawkeyes had 12 inside rushes for 85 yards, including nine for 74 yards on the left side.
— Kittle and Wadley had the best ratings in the receiving game. With the WR group trying to find maybe a few more contributors, the playbook on Wadley in the passing game has to be open.
Iowa’s run defenders ranked by PFF (starting D-line and linebackers)
1. LB Josey Jewell
2. DT Jaleel Johnson
3. FS Brandon Snyder
4. DE Matt Nelson
5. (tie) LB Bo Bower and CB Desmond King
6. (tie) DE Anthony Nelson and OLB Ben Niemann
Iowa gave up 193 rushing yards, but eight defenders finished with positive grades vs. the rush. Jewell’s number was terrific. He’s Iowa’s best interior player on either side of the ball. If you factor in volume, this makes more sense. RU rushed 18 times for 102 yards in the A gap.
Best PFF overall grades for the defense this week
1. CB Desmond King
2. LB Josey Jewell
3. FS Brandon Snyder
4. DT Jaleel Johnson
5. (tie) DE Anthony Nelson and DE Matt Nelson
King or Jewell for Iowa’s best overall player? King was immense in coverage last week, scoring his best PFF rating yet. PFF credited Matt Nelson with three sacks and Hesse with two. A week after posting Iowa’s lowest grade, Snyder is in the top three. He is a first-year starter and that’s the kind of trajectory you want to be on. No Hawkeyes posted a negative number. Remember, the defense allowed just seven points.
— PFF had Iowa with six blitzes and eight pressures. Anthony Nelson, Jewell and Niemann were credited with hurries.
— Iowa’s defense was hit with nine missed tackles, with Snyder having three. That’s why the head coach took a few seconds after a big fourth-down stop, in which Snyder had a hand on, to explain to the sophomore that seeing is tackling.
— Iowa’s raider package corners Manny Rugamba and Joshua Jackson were targeted twice with one going for a TD on Jackson. King was targeted twice with one catch for one yard. He also broke up two passes. Bower allowed just one completion for 4 yards in four targeted throws.
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