Kirk Ferentz loves Mark Weisman.
Ferentz was seen crying on the sidelines last week when Weisman went down after suffering a sprained ankle in Iowa’s overtime win against Michigan State. It was a very emotional afternoon for the head coach.
Ok, so Ferentz wasn’t really crying on the sidelines last week about Weisman getting injured. But he was surely upset when he saw his massive running back hit the ground. The former Air Force transfer has been one of the reasons the Hawkeyes have gone from pretender to contender in the Big Ten and he’s lifted critics off Ferentz back after his team started the season 2-2 with a loss at home to Central Michigan.
Weisman, the former walk-on, has brought a different running style to the backfield and given the Iowa offense a tough and physical identity that has helped them to a 4-2 record. He caught everyone off guard by capitalizing on his opportunity when almost everyone Hawkeye running was injured.
He’s run for 631 yards and eight touchdowns in four games as the main tailback. He’s one of the great stories in college football this season. It’s also taken the pressure off senior quarterback James Vandenberg, who has been inconsistent and a complete disappoint in his progress as a passer.
Weisman has given Iowa life, something few thought they had after the first few weeks of the season. He’s putting up numbers as good as anyone in college football right now, which leads to an intriguing question.
Can Weisman win the Heisman?
There’s nothing better then a tough, hard-nosed running back who pounds the ball between the tackles. If he keeps putting the numbers up and Iowa keeps winning, Weisman’s name at least needs to be brought up in the discussion.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.
Follow Will on Twitter: @GoPackGo1