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IOWA CITY — With the temperature in the low 70s, a breeze going from south to north and the sun coming out from behind the clouds a couple times, the thousands of fans scattered throughout Kinnick Stadium’s metal bleachers had a picture-perfect weather forecast Saturday for watching football.
The injury forecast wasn’t as pleasant for the Hawkeyes at Saturday’s open practice.
“We’ve got like an inordinate amount of injuries,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said Saturday. “I don’t know if that’s post-pandemic hangover of what, but we’ve got a lot of guys that have been out.”
Ferentz has described it as “one of the lowlights” of spring practices.
“Way too many guys on the sidelines,” Ferentz said.
Terry Roberts, Kaevon Merriweather, Jack Campbell, Seth Benson, Jestin Jacobs, Keagan Johnson, Diante Vines, Jermari Harris, Nick DeJong and Luke Lachey were among the players not participating Saturday.
Some absences have been a result of a lot of “wear and tear,” as linebackers coach Seth Wallace described it earlier in the spring. Campbell, for example, fits in this category after playing more than 1,100 snaps in 2021.
Others, like Lachey or DeJong, are sidelined because of injuries.
The Hawkeyes have “had a lot of those kind of weird ground balls,” Ferentz said, when it comes to injuries, including a receiver dislocating his finger twice and needing to go to the hospital after it happened the second time.
While the injuries are certainly not ideal, Ferentz is trying to stay optimistic.
“There’s a good thing about injuries,” Ferentz said. “At least it creates opportunities for other players, and I think we’ve got a couple illustrations of that.”
The tight end position might be Exhibit A of Ferentz’s point. Lachey’s absence from the last two weeks of practices gave Johnny Pascuzzi an opportunity to move up a rung on the depth chart.
“Johnny Pascuzzi has done a great job,” Ferentz said. “Johnny Jacuzzi — whatever you want to call him — he’s got a couple of nicknames right now.”
Ferentz ‘getting closer’ to having new advisory committee
More than three months after dissolving the advisory committee created in 2020 in the wake of allegations of racial mistreatment in the football program, Kirk Ferentz said Saturday he is “getting closer” to having a new, restructured committee in place.
"I've got some ideas, and I think we're getting closer,” Ferentz said. “We'll probably have that wrapped up here by June."
Ferentz said he anticipates having “more conclusive thoughts” on the new committee the next time he meets with media.
He sent a letter to parents dated Jan. 17 saying he was “in the process of inviting new members to join the group” and then told reporters on Feb. 2 he was “still formulating some thoughts” on the format of the new committee.
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