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Iowa finds itself with something it has rarely seen over the past five years: multiple talented and experienced tailbacks fighting for carries.
Fullback-turned-tailback Mark Weisman and tailback-turned-receiver-turned-tailback Damon Bullock began spring at the top of the depth chart.
Bullock was the starter in 2012, but a concussion opened the door for Weisman, who was a sensation.
During the only four games for which he was healthy, the Air Force transfer and walk-on rushed for 623 yards, 6.35 yards per carry (YPC) and eight touchdowns. That is one touchdown for every 11.6 carries.
Unfortunately, he tweaked his ankle against Michigan State and wasn't 100 percent for the rest of the season. Neither were the Hawkeyes, as they went on to lose six straight.
Bullock eventually came back, but wasn't as effective as Weisman, albeit against the tougher part of the schedule. The junior-to-be finished the year with 513 yards for 3.80 YPC and three touchdowns.
The other key competitor for carries is sophomore Jordan Canzeri. Canzeri went into last spring as the top tailback, but a torn ACL ended his season prematurely. However, he was cleared to play only six months after his injury (though he never did play)—an injury that usually takes nine months to a year to heal.
It will be tough to keep a player with that type of work ethic and determination off the field.
In effect, the Hawkeyes are in the fortunate position of having a lot of choices. The question is who gets the bulk of the carries; will Ferentz opt to spread the playing time out or will he waste one of his options at fullback?