3 takeaways from Kirk Ferentz's press conference before Iowa football's season opener

Raven Moore
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — On Tuesday, Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz held his final press conference before the season kicks off, providing updates on the team ahead of Saturday's season opener against South Dakota State. 

Injuries having an early impact on Iowa football 

During his opening statement, Ferentz mentioned that offensive linemen Justin Britt and David Davidkov, as well as wide receiver Jackson Ritter would be out for the entire 2022-2023 season.

Veteran starters, wide receiver Nico Ragaini and defensive back Jermari Harris, are both suffering injuries that will keep them out of action for at least the season opener. 

"In Nico's [Ragani] case he will be out at least a couple of weeks," Ferentz said. "It is really unfortunate because he had been practicing really well and is one of our veteran players. It would be great to have him with us." 

Defensive back Kaevon Merriweather has been battling some injuries this week, but Ferentz said that he expects the senior to take the field this week.

More:Leistikow's 10 game-week thoughts on Iowa's football season ahead

True freshmen to see action early

Despite a lot of depth along their defensive line, true freshman Aaron Graves has flashed throughout camp.

Though Ferentz remained mum on how many snaps he expects Graves to take this season, he expects him to have an impact.

"Aaron [Graves] has done nothing but impress us," Ferentz said. "The challenge there is that we have a lot of depth there, so we will see how the game plays out. We fully intend to play him and push him forward and see what happens after the first couple of weeks."

In the case of defensive back Xavier Nwankpa, there's still no guarantee about how much playing time he'll see, but Ferentz assured the media that it's possible to see both of them on the field at some point. 

More:Four things to know and watch when Iowa football hosts FCS contender South Dakota State

Iowa's captains for 2022

Ferentz announced this year's defense-heavy group of captains. Earning the honor for 2022 are seniors linebacker Jack Campbell, defensive backs Kaevon Merriweather and Riley Moss, and tight end Sam LaPorta.

The reigning Big Ten West champions will start their 2022 campaign Saturday at 11 a.m.

Raven Moore covers high school sports for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. You can reach her at RSMoore@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Raven_XReport.