New Iowa tackles shine: 'We're not as bad as everyone thinks'

Chad Leistikow
Against Illinois State on Saturday, offensive lineman Boone Myers (52) was part of a unit that didn't allow a sack and opened a hole for 210 team rushing yards in a 31-14 win at Kinnick stadium.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – When the topic of Boone Myers and Ike Boettger came up on Iowa's pregame radio show, Kirk Ferentz joked that for guys "that have never played, I've never read so much about two tackles in my career."

Well, following Iowa's 31-14 domination of Illinois State that wasn't that close, Myers got the last laugh.

"Me and Ike have been wanting to prove to people, we're not as bad as everyone thinks we are," Myers said Saturday after completing his first career start at left tackle and bearing the highly visible task of succeeding Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff.

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Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, 300-pound redshirt sophomores Myers and Boettger were hardly noticed. That means they did their jobs.

"That's a big compliment when you're an O-lineman," Myers grinned.

That was hardly the case exactly three weeks earlier, when Myers in particular was tormented by defensive end Drew Ott during Iowa's Kids Day open scrimmage. It was a humbling Aug. 15 for Myers, with Ferentz saying that he was struggling mentally.

What we learned Saturday is that maybe Myers and Boettger are going to be OK. And maybe Ott and fellow senior defensive end Nate Meier are just really good.

"They're making us better," Myers said. "By the end of the year, me and Ike are going to be light years ahead of where we were for Kids Day, and spring ball before that."

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Obviously, it's not time to crown Myers an all-American like Scherff was.

But it was progress, something Ferentz was proud about.

"He's thinking right," Ferentz said. "He's still got a couple little hitches in his delivery that could be corrected or addressed, but one thing you can't give a player is game experience. You just can't do it.

"We're not out of the woods; I'm not suggesting that. But it was a good first step, certainly, for those guys."

Saturday, Iowa rushed for 210 yards and a solid 4.8 yards a carry. The offensive line didn't allow a sack.

One of the staples in Iowa's offense is the outside stretch run. The first time it was called Saturday on Iowa's opening drive, it went behind Myers. The hole's width was comparable to the Coralville Strip, and LeShun Daniels Jr. uncorked his longest scamper of the day at 27 yards.

"The hole was humongous," said Daniels, who lost yardage on just one of his 26 carries en route to 123 yards. "The offensive line did an excellent job."

Not that you really noticed. That's how it's supposed to work.

"You work on it in practice and you don't know, 'Is that really going to hit like that in game?'" Myers said. "But it felt really good when you see LeShun running down the field."