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History Lesson 07/06/2009

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
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It seems that the more things change, the more they remain the same…..

Summer 2008, Iowa City, Iowa.  There is concern among U of Iowa fans about the running game.  The most

Jewel Hampton was the clear choice to be the Hawkeyes starting running back

Jewel Hampton was the clear choice to be the Hawkeyes starting running back

experienced player vying for the position is Paki O’Meara.  The main competition will come from a junior named Shonne Greene who spent last year working for a moving company while attending junior college attempting to become academically eligible and two freshmen, Jewel Hampton and Jeff Brinson.  Not much experience there.   Fast forward through the season, and the rest is history.  Apparently this former mover was pretty good.  He was the only rusher in the nation to top the 100 yard rushing mark in all 13 games his team played (including the Outback Bowl victory over South Carolina).  Greene set the single season Hawkeye rushing record, won the Doak Walker award as the nations best running back, and will be playing in the green and white of the New York Jets this season.  That worked out well for all concerned.   Jewel Hampton emerged as a capable back up, rushing for almost 500 yards and seven touchdowns himself during the season.

Why rehash this now?  Because Hawkeye fans are beside themselves with worry.  Word out of Iowa City (though not official as of yet) is that Jewel Hampton has suffered a knee injury and speculation is that he may miss most or all of the upcoming season.  Rumor has it that Hampton is having a MRI today.  There has been no word from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. 

 Assuming the rumors are true, the most experienced player at the position is Paki O’Meara.  The main competition

Hawkeye redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson

Hawkeye redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson

will be from redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson and true freshman Brandon Wegher.  Not much experience there.  While I am not suggesting that anyone will have the same type of year that Greene had last season, I would think that Hawkeye fans would know that there is no reason for despair.  First and foremost, there is plenty experience returning along the offensive line, experience at all 5 positions.  Next, there is a returning quarterback,  Ricky Stanzi, who won the job early last season and improved as the season progressed.  O’Meara rushed the ball for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns last season.  Just as in 2008, he will not be the starter when the season begins.  The probable starter will be redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson.  Brinson was redshirted last season after suffering an off season leg injury, but is healthy now and already had many speculating that he would split time with Hampton.  While he has no collegiate experience, remember that he rushed for 4,925 yards and 67 touchdowns while a prep star in St Petersburg, Florida.  He received scholarship offers from Florida, Kansas and Michigan State before deciding on Iowa. I doubt he forgot how to run the ball during his redshirt year.  Pushing Brinson for playing time will be true Freshman Weiger.

Weiger last season led  Sioux City, Iowa,  Bishop Heelan High School to a class 3a state championship.  He had crazy numbers as a senior,

Incoming freshman Brandon Wegher

Incoming freshman Brandon Wegher

 carrying the ball 362 times for 3,238 yards, a whopping 8.3 yards per carry average, and 51 touchdowns.  His career rushing total at Heelan was 6614 yards! Granted, he did not play in the top division of schools in Iowa, but those numbers are wicked good for any level of play.  With an experienced line and experienced leadership at quarterback, these two runners provide as good a chance, if not a better chance, than the Hawkeyes had  for a quality running game going into last season.    If the worst happens, and Hampton is out for the season, do not jump off the nearest tall building or grain silo Hawakeye fans!  Search your memory all the way back to last year, and remember how that turned out.  Yes, Virginia, the Hawkeyes will have a running game.

Paki O'Meara carries the ball against Mane last season

Paki O'Meara carries the ball against Mane last season

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