Let’s assume the Iowa football depth chart released Monday holds up throughout the week — that top rusher Mark Weisman can’t play in Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Penn State at Kinnick Stadium.
Let’s assume the ankle he hurt while scoring the game-tying touchdown during last Saturday’s 19-16 double overtime victory against Michigan State hasn’t healed sufficiently.
What’s that mean for a Hawkeye team trying to remain unbeaten in the Big Ten Conference’s Legends Division?
It means true freshman Greg Garmon — of Erie, Pa. — will have a giant role to fill against a team from his home state.
“Greg will do a fine job when he’s running the ball,” Iowa football analyst Ed Podolak said Monday. “He’ll do just fine if Mark can’t play, but what a blow if he’s still hurt. Mark’s been a savior.
“Greg lacks the power that Mark has, but he’s faster.”
Podolak was in the dentist’s chair when he heard the news that Weisman, at least Monday, was doubtful for Saturday’s game.
“Bad news on top of bad news,” Podolak said. “I’m at the dentist’s office at the same time I’m learning that Weisman might not play. That’s a double whammy.”
Weisman’s injury comes at a time when he is needed most — when Iowa and Michigan are the only Legends unbeatens.
“Everyone’s going to have to step it up,” Podolak said. “They’ve done it before; there’s no reason they can’t do it again.”
Weisman’s absence means whoever carries the ball will do it against a team that allows an average of 128.5 rushing yards a game, the sixth-stingiest in the conference.
Penn State shares the Leaders Division lead with Ohio State at 2-0 — and owns a four-game winning streak after losing the first two games under new coach Bill O’Brien.
Garmon, with 14 career carries and 35 career yards, is listed as the starter, and his backup is Jordan Canzeri, who hasn’t played since undergoing spring ACL surgery.
Depth charts change, but if Iowa’s doesn’t, it also means quarterback James Vandenberg could pass more than anticipated against a team that allows an average of 213.2 yards through the air.
“I’ll be fine,” Weisman said after Saturday’s game in which he missed both overtimes.
The depth chart doesn’t list Damon Bullock, either, Iowa’s No. 2 rusher, who is recovering from a concussion. So, if nothing changes by Saturday, Iowa will have players on the sidelines that have combined for 165 of its 180 running back carries, and 911 of its 947 running back yards.
“Greg will be fine running and catching the ball,” Podolak said of Garmon. “The challenge he’ll have, like any young freshman running back has, is blocking. He’s going to have to pick up the blitz — with help from whoever’s back there at fullback.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football