Iowa center Keegan Render discusses the progress the Hawkeyes have made over the past two weeks, and how to keep it going. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Like every team in college football, Iowa did its best to heal up on its bye week. One injured player, though, is still up in the air.
Cornerback Matt Hankins is “not yet” ready for Saturday’s game at Minnesota, Kirk Ferentz said at Tuesday’s press conference. Hankins was injured against Wisconsin and was replaced by Julius Brents.
“He’s working through some stuff,” the Hawkeyes coach said. “We’re hoping he’ll be ready to roll, but we’ll see.”
Should Hankins be sidelined or limited, expect to see more of Brents and Riley Moss against the Gophers. Both freshmen had shown sparks through the early schedule.
“(Moss) is on the rise, and Brents is on the rise too," Ferentz said. “They both have been out there playing.”
‘You get into October, you’re going to have guys missing time’
As he mentioned on last week’s conference call, Ferentz reiterated that linebacker Nick Niemann will be out “a couple weeks” with a leg injury. The sophomore went down on Wisconsin’s final touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
“You get into October,” Ferentz said, “you’re going to have guys missing time.”
Iowa’s linebacker unit has been a revolving door through four games, and Barrington Wade is the next man up.
“Much better player than he was last fall or even last spring,” Ferentz said of Wade.
Wade joined Jack Hockaday and Djimon Colbert as the starting linebackers on this week’s depth chart. All three were listed as backups heading into the season, slotted behind Amani Jones, Niemann and Kristian Welch.
But on-field performance has dictated change. Ferentz figured it would take a few games for Iowa to see exactly what it had at linebacker.
“All players do things at different times,” Ferentz said. “Some guys, it just works out really well for them at the start. But usually, there’s some progression.”
Running back Kyshaun Bryan announced Monday that he’s transferring from Iowa. The move wasn’t surprising as Bryan hadn’t been with the team going all the way back to fall camp.
Ferentz had previously said he’d revisit Bryan’s status during the bye week.
“We kind of came to a mutual decision last week,” Ferentz said. “Kyshaun’s a great young guy. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Ferentz announced that Parker Hesse, Brady Ross, Nate Stanley and Keegan Render are Saturday’s captains at Minnesota.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.