Welcome Back, Brad Rogers

Oct. 8, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz admitted that Saturday’s game against Penn State was no time to break in new running backs.

“They were hitting pretty good out there,” said Ferentz, moments after Iowa’s 13-3 loss to the Nittany Lions.

UI fullback Brad Rogers is not a new guy; it just seems that way lately.

Rogers saw action against Penn State after being sidelined since the Minnesota game a year ago with a heart ailment. That is a span of five games dating 10 months.

“One positive today was Brad is back with the team,” Ferentz said. “He joined us a couple weeks ago and for obvious reasons everybody was being cautious about how he progressed. It’s great having him back in uniform and back on the team.”

Rogers is a 5-foot-10, 230-pound sophomore from Toledo, Ohio, and he has experience playing both the running back and fullback positions. He didn’t have a carry in his return to football at Beaver Stadium, but he spent the afternoon protecting quarterback James Vandenberg (17 completions for 169 yards) and opening holes from running back Marcus Coker (74 yards on 18 carries).

“It was surreal,” Rogers said of his return. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play again.”

And the blocks and collisions were not only good therapy, but they brought back good memories for Rogers, who has 11 career carries for 75 yards.

“I feel good,” he said. “It felt like old times. I’m just getting adjusted back to the game mode.”

At his lowest, Rogers said it was “50-50” if he would ever play football again. But after conversation, tests, procedures and more conversation, he was finally cleared.

“It’s not scary,” Rogers said. “I talked to a lot of people and I feel confident. I feel very comfortable out there.”

Actually, Rogers was cleared to practice during the first week of the season. He used that time from late August to early October to work his way back into game shape.

His return comes at a good time for the Hawkeyes.

“He’ll help us out and we’ll need all the help we can get at every position right now,” Ferentz said. “It’s good to get a good player back — it’s going to be a process.”

With Rogers returning to the backfield, the Hawkeyes earned every inch of their 253 total yards against a physical Nittany Lion defense that limited them to a 23-yard field goal by Mike Meyers.

Rogers said backing from teammates, coaches and hospital support staff motivated his return.

During a 45-0 win against Ball State on Sept. 25, 2010, Rogers rushed nine times for 66 yards with a long of 18. He had two carries for nine yards during a win at Indiana on Nov. 6. He saw action in 11 of 13 games as a redshirt freshman — missing time at Northwestern and the Insight Bowl victory against Missouri. Rogers started at fullback against Michigan (a 38-28 Iowa win). He has two career pass receptions: a 4-yarder during the first game of his career against Eastern Illinois (a 37-7 Iowa win) and an 11-yarder during his start against the Wolverines.