Iowa Open Practice

Iowa held its second public practice in as many weeks on Saturday with fans filing into Kinnick Stadium. HI Publisher Rob Howe attended the event and brings you news, notes and observations.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - After getting jammed up inside for much of Saturday's practice, Barkley Hill burst outside and out-sprinted defenders to the end zone. The celebration quickly turned to concern as the Iowa running back remained grounded.

Blaring Kinnick Stadium music and piped in crowd noise was shut down. The air seemed to be sucked out of Kinnick Stadium.

Hill pointed approaching trainers to his left knee. After a few minutes, the Cedar Falls product was helped into a golf cart and driven away. Practice continued but wasn't the same.

Iowa Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis didn't know the extent of Hill's injury. The coach hoped it was just a sprain.

Injuries have hampered the Hawkeyes throughout August camp. Hill and fellow true freshman running back Greg Garmon missed last week's open practice with health issues. Saturday, starting receivers Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley were held out of the action.

Starting right tackle Brett Van Sloten missed practice on Saturday and defensive end Joe Gaglione left the workout on a golf cart. DE Riley McMinn was absent for a second week in a row.

The Hill injury appeared most serious of the ones that have happened this month. And the way it occurred, in front of fans cheering a touchdown at Kinnick, proved mood altering.

Running back is a position of uncertainty for the Hawkeyes. That makes Saturday's injury to Hill all the more deflating.

On the bright side, Garmon is gifted. He shows patience in waiting for a hole and can burst through it when it opens. He moves the pile and catches the ball, lining up wide several times on Saturday.

Another true freshman, Michael Malloy of Sioux City, ran the ball well on Saturday. The coaches seemed comfortable with what they had in starter Damon Bullock as they limited his touches.

While the Hill injury might hurt depth if he's out for an extended period of time, the Hawkeyes should be fine at running back with Bullock, Garmon and Malloy. Fullbacks Brad Rogers and Marc Weisman also can carry the ball.

Also from Saturday at Kinnick…

-Greg Davis said the injuries to Keenan Davis and Martin-Manley were not serious.

-True freshman Nate Meier was at linebacker on Saturday after playing running back a week earlier.

-Senior Tom Donatell continues to lead Nico Law in the race for the starting strong safety spot. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker said after practice that it's still a close competition, however.

-Starting MLB James Morris dressed but didn't play in Saturday's scrimmage. Parker said his junior would be fine.

-With Morris sidelined, Christian Kirksey moved into the middle and Travis Perry played on the outside with the first unit.

-True freshman Ryan Ward was working with the second team at left tackle. He was receiving a lot of instruction from Brian Ferentz.

-With Van Sloten out, Andrew Donnal played right tackle with the starters.

-Carl Davis made a lot of plays, including two tackles for loss on the same series. He was very active.

-The defensive linemen were rotating. Gaglione, Dom Alvis and Steve Bigach shared timed at end with Davis, Louis Trinca-Pasat and Darian Cooper keeping each other fresh on the inside. Mike Hardy also appeared to be pushing the top six.

-With the starting receivers sidelined, Fleming, Jacob Hillyer and Don Shumpert worked with the first unit.

-Freshmen Connor Kornbrath took almost all of the punter reps. Senior John Wienke booted a few balls at the end of practice, but it looks like the newcomer might be the starter.

-Parker and Greg Davis coached from the press box for most of Saturday's workout. They planned to be up there during the season.

-Zach Derby looks to have a hold on the No. 2 TE spot behind C.J. Fiedorowicz, but redshirt freshman Jake Duzey might find himself in the mix for playing time at a crowded position.

The Michigan product was involved in Saturday's passing attack and even lined up wide a few times. He played wideout in high school.

-After an off practice last week, back-up QB Jake Rudock settled in on Saturday. He hit Duzey for a touchdown pass and looked more comfortable going through his progressions.

-Freshman Sean Draper missed practice after being utilized as the team's nickel back a week ago.

-The Hawkeyes have two capable place kickers in Mike Meyer and Marshall Koehn. They were consistent out to 48 yards on Saturday.