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Zusevics steady, solid on O-line

[ 1 ] November 17, 2011 |

Markus Zusevics is about as fancy as a can of green beans.

But the senior offensive lineman has been a strong, steady anchor for 23 straight games at right tackle for the Hawkeyes.

“It definitely was almost a surreal experience out there on Senior Day,” Zusevics said. “I can still remember the very first time I suited up in Kinnick in 2007 against Syracuse when I redshirted.

“I remember that day, and I remember going out there for the last time. The fans have been excellent since day one out there.”

Zusevics is closing his career at Iowa as a prototypical program guy.

A three-star lineman out of Prospect High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., Zusevics picked Iowa over Purdue. Zusevics’ older sister and brother both went to Iowa, and his visits to Iowa City left an impression on him.

“I just liked everything about it. This was just the school,” Zusevics said. “And the coaching staff impressed me right away. I knew Coach Ferentz was one of the best coaches in the nation.”

Zusevics said the fact Iowa had a reputation for cranking out NFL offensive linemen wasn’t a big factor.

“I wasn’t thinking about that much,” Zusevics said. “Where can I play for a great coaching staff and be on a great team?”

He came to Iowa City at 224 pounds, a four-year letter winner on the Prospect boys volleyball team in addition to his gridiron bona fides.

“I remember my first couple years as more of a development,” Zusevics said. “I needed time to get bigger, get stronger, as well as learn the system and just develop as well as I could. I knew eventually I’d get my shot.”

During that time he butted heads almost daily with senior Broderick Binns.

“He comes across the ball hard,” Binns said. “He’s more athletic than the bigger guys we’ve had and smarter, I would say. He’s a good player.”

Zusevics, started all 13 games as a junior and was expected to be a cornerstone on a veteran offensive line featuring four returning starters — junior left tackle Riley Rieff, senior guard Adam Gettis and junior center James Ferentz.

But the line has perhaps been good, not great, and Iowa is 6-4.

“No I don’t think we’ve reached our maximum potential,” Zusevics said. “We’ve watched tape and seen that we’ve left a lot of yards out there.

“If we had done this or that better, a 3-yard gain could’ve gone to a 30-yard gain.”

The offensive line does have a chance to do something no other line has done at Iowa — help produce a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, and a 1,000-yard receiver.

Marcus Coker already has 1,158 yards rushing, and Marvin McNutt has 1,089 receiving yards. Quarterback James Vandenberg has 2,351 yards with two regular-season games and a bowl game left to go.

Only once before has Iowa had a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in the same year (2000, Ladell Betts and Kevin Kasper).

And just twice has Iowa had a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher (1985, Chuck Long and Ronnie Harmon, and 1988, Chuck Hartlieb and Tony Stewart).

“We still haven’t played our best game yet,” Zusevics said. “That’s something we hope to do in the next couple games.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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