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Pat Harty: Another would’ve, could’ve, should’ve at running back

[ 3 ] August 1, 2012 |

One thing that seems obvious about the quick dismissal of running back De’Andre Johnson from the Iowa football team is that his timing could not have been worse.

It’s never a good time to have two skirmishes with the law in a three-day period — or during any period for that matter. But with practice scheduled to start in barely a week and with the high rate of attrition at running back, Johnson needed to be on his best behavior.

He needed to understand that he had an opportunity to contribute for a team that relies heavily on its running backs to be productive.

He needed to understand that the Iowa program is slipping in the eyes of many and that he could’ve helped to prove the naysayers wrong.

And he needed to remind himself about the recent plight of the Iowa running backs and how his behavior could adversely affect that.

Instead, Johnson failed to do all those things, and now he’s the latest failure at running back for the Iowa football team. It’s a long and sobering list of should-haves and could-haves and would-haves at running back.

Johnson is also the Iowa football team’s latest running back casualty from the state of Florida, a list that already includes Jevon Pugh and Jeff Brinson.

As of this past Friday, Johnson had the support of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. That even seemed to be the case after Ferentz learned about Johnson’s first brush with the law while attending Big Ten media days in Chicago.

When told that Johnson was charged last week with having a disorderly house, Ferentz said there would be consequences, but he also seemed slightly amused by the charge, which basically was the result of Johnson having a loud party at his house.

“He didn’t sneeze, too, did he?” Ferentz said sarcastically.

Johnson should’ve been made aware of what Ferentz said to reporters after the first incident and then realized that his coach had put himself on the line during a difficult time.

Johnson should’ve thanked Ferentz for not over-reacting and he should’ve shown his thanks by staying out of trouble.

The disorderly house charge is easy to understand with Johnson being a college kid nearing the end of summer break. Perhaps it was a case where he and some friends — reportedly a lot of friends — were just blowing off steam in preparation for the long grind and things got a little out of hand.

What’s a mystery is why Johnson would try to elude police on a motorcycle just two days after being cited for disorderly house.

Another mystery is why Johnson risked speeding in University Heights in the first place. People learn right away after moving to town that University Heights is where speeders go to die.

As for life after Johnson, it’ll go on just like it has after all the other running backs succumbed to injuries or controversy.

Penn State recruit Akeel Lynch is reportedly trying to choose between staying with the Nittany Lions and switching to Iowa.

Sophomore Damon Bullock is healthy and by all accounts ready to go at running back. Junior Brad Rogers is another option at running back, along with incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill.

Losing Johnson hardly puts Iowa in crisis mode. He only rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries last season, and he didn’t see any action in the last five games.

Where it puts Johnson, though, is anybody’s guess. He has let down so many people, but mostly himself.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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