Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz told ESPN.com on Thursday that sophomore running back Brandon Wegher still isn't practicing with the team.
No indication has been given that he will return for the 2010 season. Wegher opened preseason camp with the rest of the team but left several days later for undisclosed personal reasons.
The sophomore from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota has not been back to practice since. Though reported to still be enrolled at the University of Iowa, it is unclear whether or not he started classes with the rest of the students earlier this week.
"He isn't here, and we have to operate as if he's not going to be here this year," Ferentz told ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg. "If he chooses to come back, that'd be wonderful, but we've had a lot of time elapse."
Wegher rushed for 641 yards as a freshman and compiled 967 all-purpose yards last season. He set an Iowa freshman record with eight rushing touchdowns.
"It's an unusual situation, certainly, but I've got respect for his feelings right now," the Iowa coach empathized to ESPN.
After Iowa's open scrimmage, quarterback Ricky Stanzi was asked about the situation. “When we line up for practice everyday, he’s not out there,” Stanzi told Gazette writer Marc Morehouse. “We can’t stop practice and hold a prayer session. We’ve got to keep moving.”
Stanzi's sentiment is the correct one. Life at 19 years old can be confusing, and everyone wishes Wegher the best, but the team has to move on.
The question now becomes, what does Iowa's running back depth look like without Wegher?