Iowa starting tackle Tristan Wirfs suspended for season opener

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Iowa will be without starting offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs in its season-opening football game Sept. 1 against visiting Northern Illinois.

Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz announced Tuesday that Wirfs, a sophomore from Mount Vernon, will be suspended for that game after he was arrested Sunday and charged with driving a motor scooter while intoxicated.

Wirfs reportedly had a .129 blood-alcohol level when he was pulled over by police at 1:43 a.m.

Iowa's starting right tackle, Tristan Wirfs, is suspended from playing in the season-opener against Northern Illinois after being charged with OWI.

Ferentz also suspended junior backup defensive tackle Brady Reiff for the Northern Illinois game after his July 21 citation for public intoxication.

"It is always disappointing when student-athletes make decisions that are against the law and/or inconsistent with the University of Iowa’s code of conduct or team policies," Ferentz said in a statement.

"Within one week, two of our players were arrested on alcohol-related charges. As a veteran football coach and parent, I understand firsthand the personal pain and public humiliation that comes with making such decisions. While these players are college students first, they are held to a much higher standard because of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a member of the Iowa football program.

"Any player in violation of team rules or the university code of conduct is subjected to a variety of penalties. My philosophy and practice is consistent, and that is to hold players accountable — no matter their position on the depth chart. However, I hold senior members of the team to a higher standard because they know and understand the expectations.

"These situations can be defining moments for all students. It is my responsibility to hold our players accountable and help them learn and succeed. My goal is to develop a winning culture that translates into championship seasons and players who are successful in life."

Wirfs, 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, was the first true freshman in Ferentz's 20 years as Iowa coach to start at offensive tackle last season. He did so eight times and enters the 2018 season listed as the starter at right tackle. 

Senior Dalton Ferguson is listed as Wirfs' backup. The Hawkeyes open fall camp Friday, when finding a substitute for Wirfs will become one of the main orders of business.

Northern Illinois, like Iowa, is coming off an 8-5 season and features senior defensive end Sutton Smith, who had 14 sacks a year ago.