IOWA CITY, Iowa – If Desmond King is upset about not being a team captain for a second consecutive week, he hid it well on Tuesday.
“It’s a big honor to have it,” King said Tuesday. “But for me, I’m the captain of the defense. So that’s my job, to make sure that the defense is collectively as a unit ready to go.”
Senior running back LeShun Daniels will serve as one of Iowa’s four team captains against Northwestern on Saturday after getting more player votes than King.
The other three captains will continue to be senior quarterback C.J. Beathard, injured senior receiver Matt VandeBerg and junior linebacker Josey Jewell. Iowa now has three offensive captains, while Jewell is the only representative on defense.
King and Jewell both served as defensive captains for the first two games against Miami of Ohio and Iowa State.
“We do it by voting and he had his votes again,’ King said of Daniels.
The 16-player Iowa Leadership Council votes for the four team captains on a weekly basis. The four team captains stayed the same throughout last season.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz downplayed the switch when asked last week about King not being a captain anymore.
“No story there,” Ferentz said.
King is one of the most celebrated players in college football as the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate defensive back. He is the only Jim Thorpe Award winner to return to college.
King tied the school single-season record with eight interceptions last season. The Detroit native doesn’t have an interception this season, partly because teams aren’t throwing his way as often as they did last season.
Injury report: Just when the team was starting to get healthy, then Matt VandeBerg goes down.
His foot injury on Monday spoiled an otherwise optimistic medical report.
Junior running back Derrick Mitchell Jr., and junior receiver Jonathan Parker are now healthy after being out with injuries.
Junior running back Akrum Wadley also showed last Saturday in the 14-7 victory at Rutgers that he had recovered from a knee bruise, and did so while running behind a healthy offensive line for a change.
"Anytime there’s an injury, it affects that individual the most, and that’s first and foremost in our minds, but as we all know, it’s part of football,” Ferentz said. “So it provides opportunity for other players, and they’re going to have to step up and get the job done for us, and I’m sure they will.”
Coluzzi shines: Senior punter and kickoff specialist Ron Coluzzi has arguably been Iowa’s most outstanding and consistent player after four games.
And that is without punting his best.
“I haven’t punted my absolute best yet,” said Coluzzi, a graduate transfer from Central Michigan. “This last game, I punted average at best.
“When we actually had to punt, punt and not do it like the rugby punts, I didn’t really hit my best ball. So there is a lot of room for improvement.”
The Big Ten Conference still thought highly enough of Coluzzi’s performance in last Saturday’s 14-7 victory at Rutgers to name him this week’s Big Ten Specials Teams Player of the Week.
The Naperville, Ill., native averaged 42 yards on seven punts, with a long of 55 yards. Four of his punts were placed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Coluzzi also recorded touchbacks on all three of kickoffs against Rutgers, allowing no returns. He has recorded 18 touchbacks on 22 kickoffs this season.
“That’s the best part of the game hitting kickoffs,” Coluzzi said. “All eyes are on you. It definitely sets a tone for a game.
“But that’s where I feel I put the least amount of time in practice, but I feel I do the best, probably because I’ve been doing it for the longest. It’s just natural and a lot of fun for me.”
True freshman Keith Duncan kicks field goals for the Hawkeyes. The North Carolina native hasn’t been tested much this season, making his only field-goal attempt and all 17 of his point-after kicks.
But Duncan has impressed Coluzzi with his maturity and his approach to kicking.
“He’s doing a great job,” Coluzzi said. “I can’t believe how mature he is for 18 years old. I have a lot of great things to say about Keith, a great player and a great person, more importantly.”
Iowa’s two kickers have become close friends during their short time together.
“We play ping pong pretty every day and we hang out at the dorms sometimes,’ Coluzzi said. “But he’s a great kid and even a better kicker.”