Iowa DT Cedrick Lattimore discusses offseason and the defensive line rotations.
Matthew Bain, firstname.lastname@example.org
Iowa will be without two more key linemen for its season-opening football game against Northern Illinois.
Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz announced Wednesday that starting offensive tackle Alaric Jackson and starting defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore have been suspended for the game for an unspecified violation of team rules.
This comes on top of previously announced suspensions for starting offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs and backup defensive tackle Brady Reiff. Both of those were for alcohol-related arrests last month.
“As a coach one of the most important decisions is to hold student-athletes accountable,” Ferentz said in a university news release. “It is painful for the players and the team to impose a suspension, but we have high standards and there is an expectation all players abide by our rules.”
The player infraction is not a legal matter, Iowa said. Violation of team policy or rules can include academic performance, attendance, timeliness, behavior, effort, and engagement.
The issues surfaced in late spring and both players were given guidelines to meet and milestones to achieve over the past 10 weeks.
“Their response has been excellent, and I am very pleased with how they are meeting our expectations,” Ferentz said.
For Jackson, this is the second consecutive game he will miss for running afoul of team policies. The sophomore also was suspended from the Pinstripe Bowl in December. Levi Paulsen started in his place for that Hawkeye victory over Boston College.
But Paulsen missed time this spring with an injury and enters fall camp, which began Friday, as a backup right guard. The Hawkeyes have no other players who have ever started a game at tackle.
The listed backups are senior Dalton Ferguson and redshirt freshman Mark Kallenberger.
Whoever gets the start must contend with NFL prospect Sutton Smith, a junior defensive end for the Huskies who had 14 sacks a year ago.
Lattimore, a junior, is the presumed starter at left defensive tackle alongside senior Matt Nelson. He is Iowa’s best run-stuffer with 15 tackles in 2017, when he started six games.
The Hawkeyes have proven depth at the defensive end spots, but the absence of Lattimore and Reiff will be difficult to overcome in the middle of the line. Chauncey Golston is listed as Lattimore’s backup, but he is a converted end who has never appeared in a game at tackle. At 265 pounds, he also is 30 pounds lighter than Lattimore.
Junior Garret Jansen is a two-year letter winner who showed promise last season. He weighs 280 pounds. Iowa also could call on one of its backup ends — A.J. Epenesa or Sam Brincks — to play inside for one game. Brincks practiced some there during the spring.
Northern Illinois returns 14 starters from a team that finished 8-5 last season. Kickoff for the Sept. 1 game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Kinnick Stadium.