Hawkeye Backfield Continues to Produce
Nov. 2, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Six times this season the Hawkeyes have had 100-yard individual rushing efforts. Indiana, on paper, has the lowest rated rush defense in the conference. Running the ball sounds like an obvious recipe for success against the Hoosiers, but the stats don't always tell the story.
"They play really hard," Lester Erb said of the Hoosier defense Friday afternoon inside the Iowa team hotel. "You turn on every film and they're competing and playing hard. They've been in every game this year. So we're expecting a stiff challenge out of them and we've got to be at our best."
He returned to the lineup last week against Northwestern and looked like he had regained his old form, totaling 107 yards on 22 carries. He opened the year with a career-best 150 yards on 30 carries against Northern Illinois, so his 4.86 yards per carry last week is a near image of his effort in the season opener. That's a good sign for a running back that missed more than a month of action because of injury. It also means he'll get the start tomorrow.
"Right now obviously we're going to start Damon in the game and Greg (Garmon) is ready to go when called upon," said Erb, who is in his fifth season coaching the Iowa running backs. "And Jordan Canzeri is ready to go if we need him tomorrow."
Canzeri hasn't played since starting and scoring a touchdown in the Insight Bowl last season. He tore his ACL in the spring and is still wearing his redshirt this year, but his name continues to pop up in the conversation because of Iowa's depth at the position. Weisman, the Hawkeyes' leading ball carrier, is likely out with an injury tomorrow after playing sparingly the last two weeks, but Erb remains confident with the Iowa's ever-changing backfield personnel.
"I think we're pretty fortunate the guys we have running the ball for us are talented guys," said Erb. "Obviously the guys prepare well during the week, so when they get in the game on Saturday we have full confidence in them.
"I think the biggest thing is make sure we're focused, ready to go. Obviously this is an important game for us and we want to make sure we have the proper mental attitude coming down here to play Indiana."