Whether he moves back outside after playing middle linebacker last Saturday against Northwestern really makes no difference to Iowa’s Tyler Nielsen.
“You just tackle the ball,” he said after the 41-31 victory.
That will be his mission Saturday, too, when the Hawkeyes host Indiana (1-6, 0-3) at 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium.
Nielsen will return to his outside linebacker home if James Morris’ sprained ankle allows a return to action after sitting out last Saturday. If the ankle doesn’t respond to treatment, he’ll stay inside, while Tom Donatell starts his second consecutive game as an outside linebacker.“We’ll just have to wait and see how things shake out,” coach Kirk Ferentz said Saturday night.
So far, so good from coaching perspective.
The Iowa depth chart released Monday showed Morris starting in the middle, Nielsen back outside, and Thomas Nardo, who also missed the Northwestern game, starting in the defensive line.
Stay tuned, though. Things sometimes change quickly.
“We knew Thursday that James wasn’t going to be able to play,” said Nielsen, who led Iowa with 12 tackles.
True freshman Quinton Alston also filled in at linebacker Saturday as Iowa improved its records to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“We were a little short-handed,” Ferentz said after the game. “Tommy’s a fourth-year guy now, and we’re thin at linebacker.”
Nardo didn’t play because he hadn’t recovered from a knee injury suffered against Penn State, which gave junior Steve Bigach his first start.
“We had a lot of guys jump in and help out,” Ferentz said.
Nardo jumped out after earning Big Ten Conference defensive player-of-the-week honors for a 12-tacklesgame against Louisiana-Monroe.
“Nardo got the kiss of death,” Ferentz said. “He made Big Ten player of the week, and then boom, he sprains an ankle.
“Everybody has issues and everybody has problems. We just don’t know the other teams’ as well as we know our’s.”
Iowa’s Oct. 29 game at Minnesota will start at 2:30 p.m., the Big Ten Conference announced Monday. The game will be on the Big Ten Network.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football