CEDAR FALLS — With only a handful of fall camp practices under its belt, Mark Farley’s Northern Iowa football team has a lot of things left to sort out. That said, here are three things we learned at Wednesday’s media day.
1. ‘Flashing’ true freshmen DBs could have roles
A lot of names were mentioned by Farley when it came to who’s in the running for positions in the defensive backfield. There are a handful of returnees with experience, but other than Xavior Williams, Farley didn’t guarantee anything when bringing up other names on Wednesday.
Interestingly though he did say true freshman Taj Moffett has flashed early in camp.
“There’s three (true) freshmen that have kind of jumped (out) at me,” Farley said. “Moffett did because he’s so smooth. (Taj) is very smooth, yet he’s got good speed to him. And he’s very instinctive too. So he’s been well coached and trained throughout his whole life. I can see that already just by walking in the door (and) through a few days.”
Farley also mentioned true freshmen Deion McShane and Eric Mooney have flashed skill-sets he feels the Panthers need to find a place for.
2. No worries about running back depth
With Purdue transfer Jack Wegher having left the team for undisclosed reasons, the Panthers find themselves back in the same spot with their running back depth chart as they were at the end of 2017. A spot that obviously provoked them to seek out an additional player to add into the mix in the offseason. Behind Marcus Weymiller, there wasn’t much production or experience last season.
Farley pushed back on the idea that there’s a lack of depth in the running back room.
“I’m fine with (the depth),” Farley said. “You have Marcus Weymiller, Trevor Allen, and Alphonso Soko. That’s exactly how I recruited it and most of our kids here are high school (recruits) so the depth is exactly what the initial plan was. Sometimes you try to shore it up and you might get lucky with one or two along the way.”
3. Excitement for non-conference schedule
Even though UNI’s MVFC schedule is as tough as it gets in the FCS, it hasn’t kept the Panthers from scheduling quality non-conference opponents.
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So, when Farley was asked about non-conference night games against Montana in Missoula, Mont., on Sept. 1 and in Iowa City against Iowa on Sept. 15, he couldn’t help but show his excitement for the atmospheres he knows his team will play in early this season.
“Montana at night is ramped up,” Farley said. “Then you go to Iowa. (We’ve) played them in the afternoon — tough. Playing them at night? Really tough. The environment will play a factor in those games. Ya’ll know what Kinnick is like at night. Dang.”