Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was on the Scott VanPelt show today on ESPN Radio, and confirmed that Iowa running back Brandon Wegher has been out of practice.
“Brandon Wegher has left camp. He’s working through some things personally, but we’re hopeful at some point here in the near future, he’ll rejoin our team.” More from Marc Morehouse of the Gazette
Ferentz has always played his cards close to the vest, and after having covered most of his public statements for his 11 years in Iowa City, I have found you can read into what he says just by the nature of the comment. In this instance, if Ferentz wasn’t optimistic about Wegher’s return, he would not have said ‘we hopeful at some point in the near future, he’ll rejoin the team.”
The use of ‘near future’ might be the most revealing aspect of his comment. That’s much more specific than just hopeful that he will be back with the team ‘at some point’.
I know some of you may think I am parsing his words too much, but again, Ferentz probably wouldn’t throw such phrases around idly. He has certainly used the term ‘optimistic’ or ‘hopeful’ in the past and things have not come to pass.
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However, given what people have told me that I place trust in, I think Wegher stands a good chance of being available for Iowa’s season opener against Eastern Illinois. As Ferentz said, he is dealing with personal matters, and that’s all I will delve into or allow on this website.
Look at it this way; if Wegher decides to rejoin the team sometime next week, he would still have roughly two weeks of practice under his belt before the first game. While he is just a sophomore, you’d have to say given the amount of action he saw last year and how well he acquitted himself, that would be plenty of time to get ready to play. If not for EIU, then certainly for Iowa State, and Jewel Hampton will also be available for that game.
Iowa was going to be hard pressed to feed Adam Robinson, Hampton and Wegher significant carries. I know Wegher was asked to lose a little weight in the offseason in order to bring back some break away speed to his game, to be a change of pace to what Iowa has in Robinson and Wegher. Wegher could be used in several ways this year, given his ability to block in the passing game. When you can do that, run like he can and catch the ball, you become a Dave Megget-like option on some third down situations.
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Of course, Wegher still has to decide if he wants to play football this year. All are hopeful and optimistic this will happen, and I believe Ferentz’s words spell a greater likelihood of that happened.