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Hyde leads with Bernstine behind him


More Hawkeye football coverage:

• Injuries abound in Iowa backfield
• Iowa linebackers: Tarpinian finds a home
• Q&A with Pat Angerer
• Q&A with Dace Richardson
• Q&A with A.J. Edds

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For the past three years, Iowa has dealt with cornerback questions.

With one spot seemingly locked up, the other tends to be up for grabs.

In 2008, Bradley Fletcher held down one position, and Amari Spievey replaced Charles Godfrey. Last year, Spievey kept his position, and Shaun Prater eventually won the spot held by Fletcher.

Now, Prater appears to be a lock at left corner, and the right side remains open with Spievey awaiting this week’s NFL draft. Junior-to-be Jordan Bernstine and sophomore-to-be Micah Hyde are the top two contenders hoping to fill that void.

Bernstine is trying to regain a place on the field after missing the 2009 campaign with a broken ankle. Hyde, who head coach Kirk Ferentz said is the front-runner at right corner, is looking to build off the opportunity he received in the FedEx Orange Bowl in January when he came in for the injured Prater.

“It’s very much an open race right now, but I think we’re progressing,” Ferentz said.

The competition at right corner developed into one of the more intriguing on-field battles during the spring practice, which concluded last week.

But while Hyde may be the odds-on favorite for the time being, at least one player said he believes this will remain an ongoing tilt that may not be decided until the end of fall camp.

“They’re both great cornerbacks. As far as who’s better, I couldn’t tell you,” senior-to-be linebacker Jeremiha Hunter said. “They’re both phenomenal athletes. It’s just going to come down to who wants the job more.”

Bernstine, a Des Moines native, was originally projected to start opposite Spievey before his ankle injury. In the first two games last season, Iowa relied on Greg Castillo against Northern Iowa and William Lowe against Iowa State while Prater served a suspension.

Lowe also started against Arkansas State, a game Prater sat out because of a knee injury.

Hyde never started a year ago, but he got on the field in all 13 games, recording eight tackles in the process.

Whether Hyde holds the position down or has it taken from him by Bernstine remains unclear.

But when one of them does emerge, the team knows what they’ll be getting.

“They just want to win,” junior-to-be wide receiver Marvin McNutt said. “The way they do that is compete. Every day in practice, we’re always out there competing, whether it’d be a blocking drill, one-on-ones, even releases.

“Every day, everybody is out there trying to get better.”

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