September 17, 2004
The Iowa Hawkeyes are ailing.
Center Brian Ferentz (staph infection) and guard David Walker (ruptured Achilles tendon), a pair of projected starters on the offensive line, have yet to play this season while redshirt freshman Todd Plagman, who started the first two games at left guard, is out with an ankle injury suffered against Iowa State last week.
That’s bad news for an offensive unit that already lost Outland Trophy winner Robert Gallery to graduation and is averaging just 2.9 rushing yards per attempt after averaging 4.2 yards last season. This season’s two-game average is the lowest since the 1999 team averaged 2.2 yards in the first two games and Iowa’s 149.5 rushing yards per game rank 10th in the Big Ten.
In addition to the line woes, Iowa’s second- and thirdstring tailbacks, Albert Young and Marcus Schnoor, are out with torn ACLs while sophomore A.J. Johnson was suspended. Nebraska transfer Marques Simmons will back up Jermelle Lewis Saturday and walk-on Sam Brownlee is also available.
Despite the injuries ASU defensive coordinator Brent Guy said the Sun Devils must be wary.
"They’ve had some trouble but they still know how to run the ball," Guy said. "The guy that can really run the ball for them is (quarterback) Drew Tate. On third-and-4, 5 or 6 he can make a first down on any kind of play. That’s something they didn’t have when we played them last year so we’ll have to be careful."
Kyle Caldwell’s gimpy hamstring felt a lot better Thursday and the former Saguaro High School star said he will start Saturday against Iowa. A healthy Caldwell means the defensive line will boast the same four starters as it did against Northwestern with Ca ldwell and Ishmael Thrower manning the ends and Jordan Hill and Jimmy Verdon at the tackle positions.
Verdon may shift to end in certain rotations, Guy said.
Iowa will break with tradition and practice tonight at Sun Devil Stadium in full pads. Coach Kirk Ferentz hopes the move will prepare his team for the night heat they will face in Saturday’s game.
Iowa’s $87 million Kinnick Stadium renovation campaign got a boost last week when a $5 million donation came in from the William and Nancy Krause family of West Des Moines. . . .
Fewer than 3,000 general public tickets remain for the game. The ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. until halftime on Saturday.
To order tickets call: (480) 965-2381. . . . Guy said defensive lineman Connor Banks (ankle) is still severely limited. . . . Offensive linemen Chaz White and Grayling Love both had heavily taped ankles at Thursday’s practice.