CEDAR RAPIDS - On the field, the second edition of the Cedar Rapids Rampage are a rousing success.
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Matt VandeBerg was on the field for pregame. Of course, you know he suffered a broken foot in practice on Monday. Just a non-contact thing. He had surgery early in the week and is on crutches with his left foot in a boot.
Here are some WRs on the field for pregame:
— Ronald Nash. He’s in. He’s a sophomore walk-on from Sioux City. He’s a big cat at 6-2, 210. Iowa wanted him out of Sioux City East, but Nash ended up at UNI and then went to Iowa Western and came to Iowa before last season.
— Jonathan Parker. The quick junior wide receiver suffered a foot injury in July and has finally worked his way back. He’s in today. He’s been the designated jet sweep guy. I don’t want to see that play today unless it’s a fake. Defenses are smart. Has anyone had a more up and down career? He has potential to be a weapon, but hasn’t shown it consistently.
— Jay Scheel. I think he’ll be in the “B” position and be the guy there today. He knows the spot. He’s eased into the lineup. Hasn’t seen a ton of targets (I want to say one), but has 66 snaps, so this isn’t totally new for him.
And that’s really it. Devonte Young is in the mix. I think he sees more snaps. And then the door probably shuts. I don’t know. We’ll see.
— TE Jon Wisnieski is back. He suffered a sprained MCL early in camp. He could get No. 2 TE snaps, but I think walk-on Peter Pekar has given Iowa what it’s wanted as a blocker. Does the playbook, at this point, need No. 2 TE to be a target? Maybe.
— RB Derrick Mitchell is on the field. I think he plays. He’s the third-down back if he does. His presence was sorely missed against North Dakota State. He would push the passing game forward.
A couple of things to keep in mind with the passing game:
— Last week, Iowa ran 31 plays with just two WRs. Heavy personnel worked for almost 300 rushing yards last season against Northwestern. It could go that way again.
— RB Akrum Wadley has been getting targets. Remember last year, he still was working his way into the circle of trust, so he didn’t get targets, until the last two games of the year, when he caught six passes. He’s had nine targets and seven receptions so far this season. He’s made an impact in the passing game.
Tune in for more. We’ll run this up to kickoff.
— Been getting a few questions about fourth downs and where kicker Keith Duncan’s range might fall.
Clearly KF is all-in on going for it on fourth down inside the 20. Last week, they left three points on the table. It would’ve been a 28-yarder for Duncan. Totally doable.
What I’m seeing from the press box right now, when Duncan kicked with a snapper and a holder the range was between 38 and 45 yards. So, maybe, that’s it.
Sophomore Miguel Recinos also kicked with a long snapper and holder (different squad, the No. 2s). He drilled a 51-yarder.
I’m not trying to feed any narrative. I preface all of this with KF being intent on going for it on fourth downs inside the 20.
— KF: Said he’s not sure how much Parker will play, but he’s back.
— KF said VandeBerg broke his foot. Eight weeks? It’s a tough decision. Shut it down and make a comeback with a medical hardship waiver in 2017 or rehab like a madman (and heal as quickly as possible) and try to make a comeback for the final stretch?
— WR Adrian Falconer is in uniform. I’m not sure if he’s in the plans. KF was asked about him this week. He said he’s been injured and I thought he said he’d be out this week. Who knows?
— Iowa radio health report is talking about the 5th metatarsal bone in the foot. Seems timely. Heels faster with operation, more predictable.
— True freshman Shaun Beyer is the WR wearing No. 42. That kid could end up anywhere. KF said this week no more true frosh. We’ll see.
— As far as speed goes, Jonathan Parker is not like the others. It’s warmups and he hasn’t been in uniform for awhile, but he really zips out there.
— Iowa didn’t run a play with a three-WR set in warmups. CJB told me last year his fave personnel group is three WR, but that was last year.
— No. 2 OL was (from left to right): Ryan Ward, Steve Ferentz, Lucas LeGrand, Keegan Render and Levi Paulsen. Still no redshirt freshman Brett Waechter, who was the No. 2 left tackle in week 1 but hasn’t been seen since. KF said last week he thought he would be back this week. He’s not.
— No. 2 DL: Anthony Nelson, Faith Ekakitie, Cedric Lattimore and Sam Brincks.
— First pair of WRs were Jerminic Smith and Riley McCarron. Second pair was Jay Scheel and Ronald Nash.
About 20 minutes to kick.
Good luck out there.
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