Dec. 16, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brad Rogers has been to two bowl games with the University of Iowa football team, but the 2011 Insight Bowl will be special for the Hawkeye fullback.
Rogers was a red-shirt on Jan. 5, 2010, when Iowa knocked off No. 9 Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl, 24-14. He was sidelined with a heart ailment on Dec. 28, 2010, when Iowa defeated No. 12 in the Insight Bowl, 27-24.
“I’ve been to many bowl games, but I haven’t gotten to experience actually playing the game,” Roger said Friday after the Hawkeyes’ fourth practice of the postseason. “(Playing) is what I want to do the most down there.”
Rogers, a 5-foot-10, 230-pounder from Toledo, Ohio, worked his way back into playing shape during Iowa’s four nonconference games this season. He saw his first action Oct. 8 at Penn State and has been making headway since. In Iowa’s offensive system, the fullback’s primary role is to protect quarterback James Vandenberg and open holes for running back Marcus Coker. Rogers has done that, as well as carrying the ball once for two yards against Michigan State, and catching a pass for seven yards against Northwestern.
“I’ve gotten a lot better,” Rogers said. “I’ve talked to the coaches and they feel the same way. As the season went on, I worked on a lot of smaller things that I need to detail and fine-tune to get better.”
Rogers played 11 games as a freshman, rushing 11 times for 75 yards and catching two passes for 15 yards. He was held out of the 2010 Insight Bowl and games against Tennessee Tech, Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Louisiana-Monroe in 2011, until his heart issue was judged safe enough for a return to action.
“Getting back and getting back into game mode was the hardest part,” Rogers said. “I had been off for so long that it was hard to get back into game mode as far as hitting and getting my head back into the game.”
The Hawkeyes completed their fourth practice since Dec. 8 on Friday as they prepare for No. 19 Oklahoma, a team that was ranked No. 1 in the preseason.
“Things went pretty well,” Rogers said of Friday’s practice. “We got a nice workout in to keep us going until we get into game week.”
Iowa and the Sooners play Friday, Dec. 30, with a 9:05 p.m. (CT) kickoff from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Hawkeyes depart for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Dec. 22.