CEDAR RAPIDS - There were plenty of things to like Sunday about the Cedar Rapids Titans.
The sum just didn't equate to a first victory.
Cedar Rapids led for most of its Indoor Football League game with the Green Bay Blizzard, but an inte ... »
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It’s extremely low energy today here today. There’s not a lot of people here. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of people here at the Purdue day, but there aren’t a lot of people and there’s even less energy.
The place seems to be lit by a 40-watt bulb that swings back and fourth without any cover on it. Like something you’d see in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Now, I’m just waiting for the sinkhole to open up and suck us all into the pit of ultimate darkness.
— The QBs are on the field. They look the same. CJB, Drew Cook, Tyler Wiegers and Nathan Stanley.
— Here are the TEs. Let’s see who’s here: Fant, Vejvoda, Kittle, Nate Weiting. Doesn’t look like Jon Wisnieski made the trip.
— RBs on the field so far are LeShun, Toks and Derrick Mitchell.
— WRS on the field so far: McCarron, Jerminic and Adrian Falconer, who’s yet to play this year. I’m not sure he made the road trip last week. We’ll see on him.
Jay Scheel is on the field. Ronald Nash and Devonte Young have made the trip. So did Connor Keane. I think that’s all the WRs.
RB Akrum Wadley wasn’t out for pre-warmup warmups, but he wasn’t out last week, either, and he rushed for 107 yards. So, I’m going BAU on this.
— Iowa radio said Cole Croston is out. I missed the first few minutes of the radio show, so I just saw this on Twitter. Will keep an eye out. Croston mentioned an ankle injury last week. He was happy to be able to fight through it vs. Minnesota.
I don’t think we see linemen for another 10 or 15 minutes.
— OK, per Iowa sports info, Croston is out. Junior Ike Boettger will go back to right tackle and sophomore Keegan Render will play left guard.
Here’s what the OL will be from left to right: Boone Myers will make his second start this season at left tackle; Render will make his second start this season at guard, this time on the left; James Daniels is the center; Sean Welsh is the right guard; Boettger will slide back out to right tackle. He played left guard last week, with Croston moving into his spot. Now, with Croston out, it’s back to right tackle for Boettger.
Croston mentioned an ankle injury last week after the Minnesota game.
Here’s an excerpt from a post earlier this week on what Croston said about his health:
Cole Croston moved to right tackle last week because he was dealing with a left ankle injury.
Perhaps this played a role in the six sacks Iowa’s offensive line allowed against Northwestern. Maybe it played a role in the Hawkeyes retooling of the offensive line in last weekend’s victory at Minnesota.
Croston, a senior, had a disastrous week against Northwestern, being tagged with four sacks, but the switch seemed to do everyone well. The Hawkeyes churned out 179 rushing yards — 100 more than they did against Northwestern — and cut the sack total from six to one.
Croston also posted the highest grade for an Iowa offensive player in Pro Football Focus’ weekly report.
“It was a little bit of an ankle, yeah, just a nagging-type injury,” Croston said after last weekend’s game. “It was something that I wanted to play through and I was able to do so.”
The offensive line changes carried over to Monday’s depth chart. Croston remained at right tackle. Junior Boone Myers went from left guard to left tackle last weekend and was there again on Monday. Junior Ike Boettger went from right tackle to left guard and also remained there going into the Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) matchup this weekend at Purdue (3-2, 1-1).
“This may sound crazy to you, but I think our pass protection improved,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I saw some things we can move forward with.”
This could remain a fluid deal that goes along the lines of health. It certainly helped that Myers started 10 games at left tackle last season. It was totally new territory for Boettger, but an unselfish move on his part. No matter what position they play, the O-line likely will remain these three with guard Sean Welsh and center James Daniels.
In the end, you’d have to say the moves worked. Iowa’s rush offense became unstuck. Beathard was protected better. The passing game will remain fitful until Beathard and his receivers refine timing.
But, against Minnesota last week, it worked.
“Yeah, I mean, we got the ‘W’,’ we got the victory,” Croston said. “Definitely, I would say that it worked. Brian (offensive line coach Brian Ferentz) has whatever he’s got going through his mind and he puts guys out there who are going to get the job done.”
Croston was Iowa’s highest graded offensive player by PFF coming out of Minnesota, so this is significant.
In his one start this year (against North Dakota State), Render received Iowa’s second-lowest overall grade on offense and lowest grade in run blocking. It was his first start, but that’s all we have to go off of.
Iowa OL depth? What would you rate it? I would rate it as vulnerable.
— WR Jonathan Parker and RB Akrum Wadley are now on the field for warmups. We’re at the specialists time.
— Against the wind, K Keith Duncan banged a 38-yarder from the right hash off the right upright.
From the left hash and 40 yards, Duncan put one down the middle. I think the wind is going to pick up and be a factor.
— Gary Barta on the radio right now. The topic is the north end zone renovation: Increase restrooms, men’s and women’s by 200 percent. 100 percent increase in concessions. Great support from Regents as long as they show how they’re going to pay for it.
The $90 million project goes before the Board of Regents for approval next Thursday in Cedar Falls.
— Croston officially not in uniform.
— 10 O-linemen have made the trip: Myers, Boettger, Daniels, Welsh, Render, Steve Ferentz, Lucas LeGrand, Ryan Ward, Levi Paulsen, Dalton Ferguson.
— Beyond Croston, all other starters remain the same.
— No. 2 OL from left to right is Ryan Ward, Steve Ferentz, Levi Paulsen and Dalton Ferguson. No. 2 DL is Sam Brincks, Cedric Lattimore, Faith Ekakitie and Anthony Nelson. The D-line has built some pretty great depth. The OL is a work in progress.
OK, half hour to kickoff. Enjoy the game.
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