By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – At certain points this season, junior Iowa receiver Tyrone Tracy has been visibly frustrated.
And who could blame him?
Tracy was expected to be one of the main offensive weapons this season for the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes with the departure of Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith. However, the Camby, Indiana, native has four receptions for 27 yards through two games and his longest reception went for nine yards.
At times, the 5-foot-11, 201-pound Tracy seemingly could not have been more wide open, but didn’t get a look and demonstrated his frustration.
“That’s part of the nature as a receiver, right?” receivers coach Kelton Copeland said. “As receivers, we’re always open. Even if there’s three people around and I’m on the ground I should still get the ball. That’s how we think, which you love about Tyrone. He’s a competitor. That was one of the big reasons why I recruited Tyrone was because of his competitive edge. Not only his athletic ability, but the guy is a competitor.”
Part of the reason for Tracy’s slow start is that Iowa’s offense has been average at best much of the time. Junior quarterback Spencer Petras is averaging just over 125 passing yards per game and has completed 50% of his passes, both of which rank last in the Big Ten.
Senior receiver Charlie Jones is the only Hawkeye to have caught a touchdown pass this season.
Three of the Hawkeyes’ seven touchdowns as a team this season have come on defense. Senior cornerback Riley Moss returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Indiana in the season opener and junior linebacker Jack Campbell had a scoop and score fumble return against Iowa State last week.
“It’s going to come together,” Copeland said. “There’s no doubt in my mind it’s going to come together. Week by week in practice you’re seeing a little bit better job by Spence, you’re seeing a little bit better job by the receivers making things mesh. Here before you know it – might be this week, might be next week – but I have full faith that at some point we’re going to see these guys playing on a high level together.”
Tracy has every right to be frustrated because, frankly, it has been frustrating to watch at times knowing the kind of impact he can have has a player.
But don’t take Tracy’s frustration as an act of selfishness. He does not take plays off and Copeland said he has been an excellent leader for a young group of receivers.
Of course, Copeland isn’t going to throw one of his players under the bus, but that is exactly what you would expect from a guy with 27 games and 14 starts under his belt and who serves on Iowa’s 16-member Player Council that assists in formulating policies and decision-making for the team.
“He wants to contribute to help the team win,” Copeland said. “It has nothing to do with selfishness. It has nothing to do with my highlights or my playing time or give me the ball. We’ve all seen those guys. I’ve been around those guys, I’ve coached those type of guys. Tyrone is not that guy.”