Iowa football: Toren Young a second half specialist?

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 24: Running back Toren Young
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 24: Running back Toren Young /

Toren Young was utilized in the second half of games for the Iowa football team to wear down opposing defenses. Will be getting the same treatment in 2019?

Toren Young is always going to be the “Thunder” compliment to Mekhi Sargent‘s “Lightning” for the Iowa football team. It was the same for LeShun Daniels, Jr. and Akrum Wadley. Iowa likes to have a speedy back that can keep opposing defenses off balance and then wear them down with a bruiser back.

That’s exactly how running back, Toren Young, was utilized last season for the Hawks. If you recall, Iowa was clinging to a 3-0 lead at halftime in the opening game against Northern Illinois last season. Young didn’t have a single carry in the first half, which was likely planned. Instead, Mekhi Sargent and Ivory Kelly-Martin carried the load for the Hawks in the first half, or at least they tried to.

Young got his chance in the second half and sparked the Iowa football team’s offense en route to a 33-7 win. He had 8 carries for 84 yards in the second half and really wore down that NIU defense led by Sutton Smith.

In Week 2, it was more of the same for Young who wore down the Cyclone defense enough to allow for the passing game to open up to secure a 13-3 win over the Hawks’ in-state rivals.

Looking ahead to this season, Mekhi Sargent is going to be the starter. We know that. What we do not know yet is how Young will be utilized in the Hawkeye offense. Is he going to be a second-half specialist again to wear down opposing defenses or will he be mixed into the rotation more regularly?

I think Kirk Ferentz has a game plan in mind for how they would like to use him this season, but they could also play it by ear. If Sargent is doing fine carrying the load but the offense is in need to dominate a game down the stretch that is when I would expect Young to enter the game.

To be quite honest, I am not entirely sure what role Ivory Kelly-Martin will have with the offense in 2019. He lost his starting gig last season to Sargent in part to injuries and lack of production. He could see a big drop-off in carries this season, especially if the other two guys are doing just fine.

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I like to compare Young to Daniels because they have a similar body type. Daniels was utilized to compliment Wadley in 3rd down or goal line scenarios because he had a better chance of fighting for those necessary yards simply because he was bigger. Young could be utilized in a similar fashion but it might just be a feeling out process for Kirk Ferentz and his coaching staff this season.