We continue our coverage of Iowa Hawkeye Spring Football with the health of the boys in the black and gold.
As every knows, football is an extremely physical sport, and injuries are common place. When spring football rolls around, sometimes it makes sense for players coming off big injuries to continue to rest and recover. This is the case for a quintet of Hawkeyes this spring, according to Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
“Guys that are going to be kept out of spring ball, Ben Niemann, Derrick Mitchell, and Greg Mabin, three guys that were in the two-deep last year will not be able to really practice this spring, so they’re going to have to stay in tuned mentally and try to grow that way,” said Ferentz. “That’s in addition to a couple guys I mentioned earlier, James Daniels and Josh Jackson. Those guys will be either out or limited in what they do.”
Ben Niemann started all 14 Iowa games at outside linebacker as a true sophomore and was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten linebacker. He suffered a head injury in Iowa’s 12th game last year, but played in the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl.
Derrick Mitchell enters the spring as the third running back behind senior Leshun Daniels and junior Akrum Wadley.
Greg Mabin started all 14 games at left cornerback last year opposite All-American Desmond King, and is slated for that role again for his senior campaign.
James Daniels and Josh Jackson are both true sophomores. Daniels is slated to be the starting center at this point for the Hawks next fall, while Jackson is lined up to be Desmond King’s backup at cornerback.
Coach Ferentz did not specify the reasons why the five players are being held out of contact drills this spring.
“It’s pretty much stuff that’s lingered,” Ferentz explained. “Most cases you try to hold off on surgery if at all possible. In the three cases I cited, it was stuff that at some point we decided had to be addressed. The good thing is they’ll be back in June full speed, but they’re going to miss this period unfortunately.”
The Hawkeyes were banged up as a collective unit much of their historic 2015 season, and that trend seems to have continued so far in the offseason.
“It’s been a little bit of an unusual off-season,” said Ferentz. “We’ve had a little more activity on that front than normal. Even a couple cases of mono just to top it off. It’s just been one for the books. But we’ll work through that. The teams did a good job working through injuries last fall and we’ll try to do the same this spring.”
Coach Ferentz and his Hawkeyes have to feel good with so many returning difference makers, but we’ll have to wait until fall’s training camp before we see the projected two-deep on the field as a unit.
We will continue our coverage of Iowa Spring Football tomorrow as we will take a look at what will be different on the field for the Hawkeyes in 2016. Also check out our Facebook page, “Mahaska Zone Network” to stay locked in with all things Iowa Football.