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Two UI defensive linemen will miss spring practice

[ 1 ] March 20, 2012 |

The spring effort to rebuild the Iowa defensive line is going to be a bigger job than first thought.

Junior Dominic Alvis and sophomore Carl Davis are expected to miss the most of spring practice with knee injuries.

“They should both be ready in June,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Those are the two guys right now that are out of spring ball.”

Neither was listed on the first new two-deep of 2012. Instead, the defensive line included three redshirt freshmen — Dean Tsopanides, Darian Cooper and Riley McMinn — and senior Steve Bigach.

“We are a very young group,” Ferentz said. “Now it’s a chance for them to learn what we’re doing in our scheme, putting some things to use.”

Iowa graduated three starters off the defensive line for the second season in a row, this time losing Mike Daniels, Broderick Binns and Thomas Nardo.

The returning group — including the injured players — combined for 5 tackles for loss and 2½ sacks last season.

FERENTZ SURPRISED BY DERBY: Ferentz said he wasn’t sure what changed with A.J. Derby to make him decide to leave Iowa in January for Coffeyville Community College.

Derby came to Iowa as a quarterback, picking the Hawkeyes over offers from Florida and Alabama, among others. Last fall, he was asked to move to linebacker and made the shift.

But in January, he left Iowa, presumably to try to get back on track as a quarterback. Derby hasn’t spoken to the media.

“Came as a surprise to me,” Ferentz said. “That’s the way those go sometimes. It’s just a decision he made. I think his family supported that decision obviously.”

A.J.’s brother, Zach, remains with the Hawkeyes as the second-string tight end. He had 12 catches for 117 yards last season.

MACMILLAN HEALING: Junior Nolan MacMillan, who started six games as a redshirt freshman on the offensive line, finally may be ready to compete again. He missed all of 2011 recovering from sports hernia surgery.

“He’s a guy that can really help us,” Ferentz said. “Keep our fingers crossed. But I think he’s on the right path right now.”

FANS CAN WATCH APRIL 14: Iowa’s final spring practice, which will be open to the public, is at noon April 14 at Kinnick Stadium.

NO. 1 PUNTERS: Backup quarterback John Wienke is listed along with Jonny Mullings as the No. 1 punter.

EXTRA POINTS: Iowa held its pro day Monday, giving NFL executives the chance to test Hawkeyes for the upcoming draft. Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel spent a half-hour talking defensive line with Iowa’s new defensive line coach Reese Morgan. … Ferentz said there were “nine guys, maybe 10” battling for the offensive line spots. The first list includes returning starters James Ferentz and Matt Tobin, along with Brandon Scherff or Andrew Donnal at left tackle, Conor Boffeli or Austin Blythe at right guard, and Brett Van Sloten at right tackle. … Junior college quarterback transfer Cody Sokol is expected to redshirt.

The Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson contributed to this report.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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