Especially when it comes to Hawkeye tailbacks.
True freshman Barkley Hill became the seventh back scratched from the 2012 roster when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during a scrimmage this past weekend. On Tuesday, head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed the initial prognosis and that Hill, a projected starter, will require season-ending surgery. Overall, Iowa has lost 10 tailbacks since 2008, with four of those coming via torn ACLs.
The starting job may now fall to Damon Bullock, a little-used sophomore who is the team’s only remaining back to have actually carried the football in a college game. And Bullock’s resume consists of all of 10 carries for 20 yards in mop-up duty a year ago. Bullock also saw some time at receiver and returned two kickoffs.
Hill wasn’t the only freshmen to be sidelined for the season. Safety Ruben Lile also suffered a torn ACL and underwent surgery last week. Both players will redshirt this season, giving them each four years of eligibility when they return to competition next fall.
While Lile’s injury was also regrettable, it was the loss of yet another tailback that has gripped Hawkeye Nation.
In the past nine months alone, misfortune has claimed Marcus Coker (dismissed from the team following an assault investigation), Mika’il McCall (transfer), Jordan Canzeri (torn ACL) and De’Andre Johnson (dismissed for legal troubles). Freshman Greg Garmon, a blue-chip recruit from Pennsylvania who chose the Hawkeyes over a number of other Big Ten schools, was arrested on marijuana charges, but will have every opportunity to win the job himself if he can avoid further trouble.
Iowa fans will be left to ponder what might have been before the latest wave of attrition.
The Hawkeyes will open the season against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 1.