116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy is in the midst of a frustrating season, and it’s starting to show.
“Why have a Swiss Army knife and NOT use it to its full potential!!” Tracy said in a now-deleted tweet on Sunday.
The Swiss Army knife in this metaphor appears to be Tracy, the versatile receiver with rushing and receiving skills who led the Hawkeyes in receiving yards in 2019 and had high expectations coming into 2021.
The tweet came after a game where Tracy did not have any targets and a day before the official depth chart listed him as a reserve for the first time this season.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz has historically not been a big fan of Twitter — he once said, “if you see me with a Twitter account, just hit me with a baseball bat” — but he didn’t raise any issues on Tuesday about Tracy’s public show of frustration.
“That’s a young guy who wants to help the football team,” Ferentz said. “I think that’s his way of expressing it. And it’s the common way people express things these days, I’ve been told.”
Tracy certainly isn’t the only wide receiver wanting to help the Hawkeyes.
Seven different Iowa receivers have at least 15 receptions. Illinois, on the other hand, has three. Wisconsin has four.
That septet includes one tight end, one running back and five wide receivers.
“There are going to be times when you’re not the one out there as much,” wide receiver Charlie Jones said.
True freshman Keagan Johnson has shown big-play potential with 21.1 yards per catch. Jones proved his value against Minnesota with a diving 34-yard catch and later a 72-yard touchdown reception.
Iowa’s Tyler Goodson is one of the better receivers at running back, too. At “Tight End University,” Sam LaPorta leads the Hawkeyes in receptions by a wide margin.
Another official signal of Tracy’s smaller role came Monday, when Tracy was listed as a backup on Iowa’s official depth chart behind Johnson.
Ferentz said the starter on the depth chart is “not that big a deal, quite frankly.”
“It depends on personnel groups,” Ferentz said. “We’ll not list all of those.”
Iowa has only been starting personnel groups that don’t include Tracy for the last five games, though, and six of the last seven games.
Regardless of who is starting at wide receiver, the ball hasn’t gone in the direction of Tracy often in 2021 either.
Tracy has about 12 percent of Iowa’s targets. He had less than 15 percent of his team’s targets in six of the last seven games.
It might be because he hasn’t been catching many of the throws that have gone his way. Out of the 34 passes thrown to Tracy, he has caught 15 — about 44 percent.
Iowa’s quarterbacks, meanwhile, have completed about 58 percent of all other throws.
Ferentz said he still believes Tracy “is a really good football player.” Jones said his fellow wideout is “always picking everyone else up.”
Quarterback Spencer Petras is a fan of Tracy, too. Before suffering his shoulder injury, Petras praised Tracy as a “tireless, outstanding leader.”
“We all know we need to get him the ball more and get him more involved,” Petras said. “He’s working really hard."
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