The Iowa football secondary is dealing with a few injuries but will need others to step up in their first true test of the 2019 season.
Weird things happen when Iowa State and the Iowa football team get together. Iowa can be lightyears better on paper than the Cyclones but they still end up on the short end of the stick. The Hawkeyes have taken the last four and five of the last six in this rivalry. They’ll look to continue their dominant streak on Saturday but will have more challenges than just a road game with College Gameday in Ames.
The Iowa secondary is pretty banged up right now with Kaevon Merriweather already ruled out for Saturday’s contest. Julius Brents is dealing with a knee issue and has yet to see any time in either game this season. Jack Koerner started in place of Merriweather and, while he wasn’t a liability in the secondary, his play was mediocre at best recording just 4 tackles.
Another guy that could potentially be out for the Cy-Hawk game is cornerback Matt Hankins. The junior from Lewisville, Texas has had a solid start to the season, tallying 4 tackles and 2 pass deflections. Head coach Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media on Tuesday and indicated that he was 50/50 whether he would play.
So who steps up in their place?
Michael Ojemudia is off to a fast start this season recording 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 pass deflections thus far. The senior lost his starting gig in the middle of last season to a thriving Julius Brents. If Hankins is out, the most likely candidate to see the start is DJ Johnson.
If you recall, Johnson was a big-time get for Kirk Ferentz out of Indianapolis when Iowa really started to establish a pipeline there. He has yet to see the field during his time at Iowa and was pegged as being the front-runner for the CASH position when Phil Parker implements his 4-2-5 defensive look.
It’s not exactly the most ideal scenario for someone to get their feet wet in a game that’s this hyped up but some level of trust has to be placed in Kirk Ferentz for getting his players ready for this game. So to sum up, it looks like Brents, Hankins, and Merriweather are all out for Saturday. Koerner and Johnson are in. Let the games begin.