March 29, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While the quarterback position remains an area of uncertainty as the University of Iowa continued spring drills Friday, one of the signal-callers' best friends is ready to rejoin the offensive line.
Junior left tackle Brandon Scherff is nearly 100 percent after suffering a broken leg against Penn State on Oct. 20, 2012. And Scherff has a message for opposing defenses:
"Whoever is behind us (at quarterback) is not going to get touched," Scherff said Friday after the Hawkeyes completed their second of 15 spring practices.
Although the absence of the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Scherff left a colossal gap for Iowa's offensive line during the final five games of the season, he did see a silver lining in the midst of a dark cloud.
"It was tough, but I came to practice and tried to help the best I could," Scherff said. "I worked with (strength and conditioning coach Chris) Doyle while they were at practice with my upper body strength. It helped me get stronger in the upper body."
So it is a stronger Scherff that took the turf Friday in the indoor practice facility. He doesn't take for granted how enjoyable it is to put the gloves and knee braces on and join the team in an actual practice.
"It's been a while, so I'm excited to get back after it," Scherff said. "I'm doing well. It has been a long process, but I was cleared after winter break. With the help of coach Doyle and the training staff we have moved forward."
Scherff, from Denison, Iowa, will spend the spring working on technique, tempo, and getting the entire offensive line on the same page. The offensive line returns letterwinners in Scherff, Andrew Donnal, Jordan Walsh, Brett Van Sloten, Conor Boffeli, and Austin Blythe. Blythe started nine games at right guard last season, but he is now trying to fill the starting spot at center, a void created with the graduation of James Ferentz.
"They're going to put the best five guys in there," Scherff said. "We're going to work to be the best group we can. Austin is doing a heck of a job in there right now, but we all have competition, so we have to do the best we can."
The Hawkeyes return to the practice field Saturday before taking their typical three days off at the beginning of the week.