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Marcus Coker enjoys his space away from football

[ 1 ] October 5, 2011 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Marcus Coker needed some time by himself one night last week, so he headed out of town — away from lights and distractions.

Iowa’s top tailback, packing his telescope this time and not a football, went star-gazing during a week that for the first time didn’t include preparing for a Saturday football game.

“Just me and the stars,” said Coker, an astronomy major. “It cleared my mind of everything. When I’m out there, it’s like nobody else exists.”

That will change in a big way Saturday when Coker gets back down to earth during a 2:30 p.m. game at 4-1 Penn State. Instead of being in his own world, he’ll be in a stadium that has been known to include 109,000 enthusiastic fans.

So much for solitude.

“That’s why it’s nice to get away every once in a while and be by yourself,” Coker said. “It was good for me to be out there that night, all by myself looking at stars.”

Coker’s world Saturday will include family and friends who made the three-hour drive from his home in Beltsville, Md., to Beaver Stadium.

“I had a lot of people who needed tickets, but I could only get eight,” he said.

He got them from teammates who didn’t have ticket requests from family members.

“I could have used more, but that’s all right,” he said

Coker, who averages 95.0 yards on a league-leading average of 21.8 carries a game, received the customary recruiting letters from Penn State while attending DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

“But they didn’t offer,” Coker said. “It’s all good for me here at Iowa.”

No tech guy: Just when you thought Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz had it all, last Saturday’s Penn State-Indiana game cropped up.

Since his Hawkeyes didn’t have a game that day, Ferentz thought he’d catch a peek at what might be in store on Saturday, so he clicked on his office television.

Bad idea.

“I’m going to go off on a tangent here,” Ferentz said during his weekly press conference. “We have a new video system. I don’t remember what channel (the game) was on, but I could not get to it.”

The moral of this story is that someone just might want to tell their leader how to operate the channel-changer.

“I don’t watch much TV, so I haven’t taken the time to have them explain to me getting on these couple of channels,” Ferentz said. “I’m kind of like a guy living in the ’60s in some ways when it comes to television.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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