Iowa Notebook: Fiedorowicz gets recognized, Iowa football is healthy, and Braxton Miller is really good

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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Bye week to the rescue

The Iowa football team came into this past week ailing a bit following a 26-14 loss to Michigan State on Oct. 5. Running back Mark Weisman, defensive lineman Dominic Alvis, and wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley are just a few starters who saw little action in the contest because of injuries sustained early on in the game.

But Iowa appears healthy going into Ohio State on Oct. 19 following the week of rest. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said the bye week really could not have come at a better time.

“We would have been in a little bit of trouble if we played Saturday [Oct. 12],” Ferentz said.

“Fortunately, we didn’t. Based on what we saw over the weekend, looks like everybody’s ready to go. We’ve just got to get through the week now.”

But come Saturday, all eyes will be on Weisman. As of now the starting running back would likely be Iowa’s MVP, at least on offense, and was severely limited in the Michigan State game. The junior fullback turned running back said he should be good to go on Saturday.

“I think it’s pretty much under control now,” Weisman said when asked whether his injury will affect him down the road. “It’s been good. The week off was nice.”

Fiedorowicz earns award hype

Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz was one of 29 football players in the nation that was named to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list this week.

The Mackey Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college tight end. The last Iowa player to be honored with the distinction was Dallas Clark following the 2002 college football season.

The senior from Johnsburg, Ill., has 11 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year so far. In his four-year career, Fiedorowicz has accumulated 72 receptions for 698 yards and 4 touchdowns. He currently is riding a 24-game streak in which he’s tallied at least 1 reception, a stat that’s second best among active tight ends in the football bowl subdivision. Fiedorowicz was named a Big Ten Honorable Mention tight end by coaches and media following the 2012 season.

How do you stop Braxton Miller?

Iowa has faced scrambling quarterbacks before, but no one with the pedigree of Ohio State’s signal caller. The last player Iowa has faced that was as big a threat on the ground and through the air is likely former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who beat Iowa, 20-17≤ in Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 20, 2010 — the last time Iowa faced Ohio State.

Ferentz said that he may employ putting one of his faster skill players at quarterback on scout team offense to try to simulate what the Buckeye quarterback brings to the table.

“We’ve done that. I’ve given that some thought. We had the same problem with the question about Terrelle Pryor earlier,” Ferentz said. “Unless we borrowed somebody from the NBA to come down and simulate him. That’s assuming you can find somebody that can throw the ball, too. Those guys, they’re freak athletes. There’s no other way to put it.”

Iowa’s defensive players are looking forward to the challenge that Braxton Miller presents.

“He’s good, he’s a great athlete, he can make you miss,” Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge. We’re just worried about playing a football game and getting better. It’s going to be a fun game. It’s just technique, know your balance, be ready to make the next play.

“We’ve played against quarterbacks who can scramble; it’s nothing we haven’t practiced already.”

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