Iowa sophomore T.J. Hockenson is basically an every-down tight end; he talks about that plus the potency of he and Noah Fant at that positiion. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Kirk Ferentz ran through a bevy of injury updates Tuesday, some more optimistic than others.
Linebackers Jack Hockaday (knee) and Nick Niemann (leg) are likely out at Indiana, with Niemann “at least a week” out from returning. Hockaday’s injury seemed worse when he was on crutches at Minnesota, but Ferentz said his progress since Saturday has been encouraging. The Iowa coach didn’t rule out Hockaday returning next week.
Meanwhile, tight end Noah Fant and running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, who both came out against Minnesota, are questionable for Saturday.
“Right now,” Ferentz said, “we’ll see how it goes.”
On the likeliness either miss Saturday: “I’m not smart enough to say that,” Ferentz said. “The medical people make those decisions. If a guy clears with the medical staff, then we have to see if they look good on the field.”
More optimism exists in the secondary. Ferentz said cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins should be ready to go after being questionable last week. Ojemudia played sparingly against Minnesota, and Hankins missed the whole game.
Freshmen Julius Brents and Riley Moss both started last week and likely will again at Indiana.
'He plays hard'
Moss’ performance was one of the brighter spots from the Gopher win. The former Ankeny Centennial standout had two interceptions in his first career start — the latest chapter in an unexpected journey.
Moss was a North Dakota State commit up until last November, when Iowa offered a blue-shirt option that he accepted. Still, he faced an uphill battle to any sort of substantial role.
But consistency in practice and injuries up ahead created an opportunity. Moss took full advantage.
“The guy doesn’t always know what he’s doing,” Ferentz said, “but he’s plays hard.”
A chance to return
Ferentz offered updates on two guys who were thought to be lost for the year: linebacker Aaron Mends (torn ACL from spring) and defensive back Wes Dvorak (also a knee injury).
“We’ll see (on returning this year),” Ferentz said. “He’s climbing the ladder. He and (Dvorak) are both improving. Again, I don’t want to try to put a number on it, but I think they’ve got a shot to get back. That's what they’re working hard for right now.”
Ferentz announced Parker Hesse, Nate Stanley, Jake Gervase and Brady Ross as Saturday's captains.
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.