In an attempt to build depth in Iowa’s backfield, freshman linebacker Aaron Mends will get a look at fullback, according to The Gazette‘s Marc Morehouse.
The move was necessitated by a season-ending injury to Iowa’s starting fullback, Adam Cox. Mends will now be the team’s only depth at fullback behind junior Macon Plewa.
Mends was considered a three-star recruit as a linebacker, but he doubled as a starting running back in high school. Mends also held offers from Iowa State and North Dakota State.
While the Hawkeyes hope Mends can make the transition to the offensive side of the football, the team certainly doesn’t envision him as their starter this season. Mends is far from a traditional fullback at 200 pounds. The team’s starting tailback, Marc Weisman, is 240 pounds.
This was supposed to be a season for Mends to potentially redshirt and develop as a linebacker. Instead, he’s now one play away from accepting a critical role in the Hawkeyes’ running game.
(Photo courtesy of the University of Iowa athletic department)
The “Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God” has returned. Although, it appears its wrath is now aimed at the fullback position.
Iowa’s history of injuries and losses at the running back position is mind-boggling. However, the team has remained relatively healthy in the backfield over the past year. That came to an end this week after Hawkeyes lost their starting fullback, Adam Cox, to a season-ending ACL injury, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
The injury was described as a “freak accident” by backup fullback Macon Plewa.
“He kind of just ran up in there,” Plewa said. “I don’t know the details of it. But it happened.”
The Hawkeyes’ offense is built around their ability to control the line of scrimmage and effectively run the football. Cox was the team’s lead blocker and served as an integral part of the team’s offensive scheme. The contributions from the former walk-on was enough for him to earn a scholarship last week.
With Cox out of the lineup, the team will turn to Plewa. The junior played in 11 games last season, and he’s ready for the opportunity, despite the circumstances.
“I’m ready to embrace the opportunity,” Plewa said. “With or without Adam, I was ready to compete whether it was on offense or special teams.
“Whenever I’m on the field, I want to try my best and do the best for the team.”
High expectations have been placed on the Hawkeyes this season. The program is one of the favorites to emerge as the champions of the Big Ten’s western division. In order for the team to do so, Plewa will have to be a physical presence out of the backfield to keep the running game on track.
And Plewa better be wary of the AIRBHG.