Iowa Football

Iowa football notes: Hawkeyes hope Oliver Martin decision comes this week

Wide receiver, Michigan transfer's appeal to play immediately still in hands of NCAA

Iowa receiver Oliver Martin (5) at Kids Day practice at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (The Gazette)
Iowa receiver Oliver Martin (5) at Kids Day practice at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Here’s an Oliver Martin update. There is no update.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said at his Tuesday press conference that the Iowa City West grad and University of Michigan transfer still has heard nothing from the NCAA about his official appeal to play immediately for the Hawkeyes.

“We do hope to hear something this week,” Ferentz said. “That would be great and, obviously, timely. Good, bad or indifferent, it would be nice to hear something. I think that’s realistic, and when we do hear something, we’ll make an announcement on that. But at this point, there is no decision.”

Ferentz said Martin definitely would play if his appeal is successful.

“I was in town here driving around town about three places Saturday after we finished up (practice) here, so in about a two-hour period, I had (the radio) on about three different channels,” Ferentz said. “But every channel was talking about transfers, so that was the topic of the day.

“I’m not sure I have the right answers about that, quite frankly. What the right answers are, I don’t know at this point. But certainly I think what all of us hope for is some consistency in whatever it is we are going to do moving (with that) forward. So we know what to count on, what not to count on. Not only in interpretations but the timeliness of the process.”


Cole Banwart doubtful

Ferentz said guard Cole Banwart is doubtful for Saturday’s game with an unspecified injury. He was listed on the depth chart with Levi Paulsen as the starter on the right side.

“We’ll see how that goes,” Ferentz said. “But right now I’m not optimistic, based on practice this morning.”Ferentz


Position battles

Ferentz said he considers redshirt freshman Spencer Petras to be Iowa’s backup quarterback behind Nate Stanley right now, with sophomore Peyton Mansell third.


In the kicking competition, the coach said Caleb Shudak will handle kickoff duties against Miami, though both he and Keith Duncan are expected to see game action.

Iowa receivers to face former teammate

There will be some barking. Ihmir Smith-Marsette knows that.

“It’s football,” the Iowa receiver reasoned.

But how much jawing there will be back and forth between him and Manny Rugamba remains to be seen. Same goes for the rest of the Hawkeyes receivers and Rugamba.

A junior from Naperville, Ill., Rugamba played two seasons at Iowa before transferring to Miami of Ohio. He sat out last season but has been named one of the RedHawks’ starting cornerbacks for Saturday’s game at Kinnick Stadium.

His backup is redshirt junior Cedric Boswell, who also spent time in Iowa City before transferring.


“Former teammate, he was my locker buddy, right next to me,” said Smith-Marsette. “So it’ll be really cool. I know it’s going to be like Fight Night. We’re going to be going at it. We’re definitely going to go back and forth. He’s a good player ... So just being able to play him, have him on the opposite side of the ball, I know it’s a competition every time you go out there. I’m not going to back down, and I know for a fact that he’s not going to back down.”

Rugamba started three games as a true freshman for Iowa in 2016 and nine as a sophomore, though he missed the 2017 opener because of a team suspension and had lost his starting job to Matt Hankins by the end of that season.

“I’d go against every DB as much as I could in practice, so, yeah, we had our fair shots at going one-on-one and stuff like that,” Smith-Marsette said. “It was always back and forth. He’s a very good player, very hands on. so we’re just going to try and take advantage of that.”



Film study in a different way

Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young both mentioned Tuesday that Iowa’s running backs have been instructed to view game video in a different way this season by position coach Derrick Foster. Sargent, Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin all return after combining for 1,723 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

“We are more focused on what our O-linemen are doing,” Sargent said. “We are more focused on the whole concept of the play. So Toren is right that we are studying film differently than last year. For us to be successful in the backfield, for us to have those really good runs, we have to know what every guy on the field is doing.”

Foster is in his second season as Iowa’s running backs coach.

“It’s just the way we’re able to see things now,” Young said. “This summer was a lot about how we were looking at different looks and looking at how the O-line is blocking stuff. Having that understanding really helps.”

Freshmen talk

Ferentz said he does not anticipate any of his true freshmen on defense to see playing time this season.

He did think an offensive frosh or two could play at some point, specifically mentioned running backs Tyler Goodson and Shadrick Byrd.

Famous father

One of Iowa’s graduate assistant coaches this season is Dylan Chmura. If that last name sounds familiar, it should.

Dylan’s father, Mark Chmura, was an outstanding tight end in the NFL who won a Super Bowl in the 1990s with the Green Bay Packers. Dylan Chmura played collegiately at Michigan State, was a student assistant there in 2016 and spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant at Fresno State.

He helps coach the offensive line at Iowa.


Climbing the charts

Quarterback Nate Stanley has a chance at surpassing Chuck Long this season for the most career touchdown passes at Iowa. He’s fourth now with 52, 22 behind Long.


Provided he stays healthy, the senior will be a three-year starter whose name will be all over Iowa’s single-season and career record books.

And he doesn’t really care.

“I just want to win,” he said, Tuesday. “I want to help my teammates be the best that we can be. Whether that means we run for 400 yards or pass for 400 yards, I don’t really care.”

Honoring the graduates

Ferentz said his team has 10 players who already have graduated, and they will wear decals on their helmets to commemorate that. This is the first time the program will honor its grads like that.

“It’s a good reminder that these guys are here for a bigger purpose than just playing football,” Ferentz said. “We excited about starting that new tradition.”

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