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Wegher’s absence highlights running back issues for Hawkeyes

As Allen Iverson once said, “How the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing!”

That’s right, we’re still talking about practice.

For the third day in a row (as of Tuesday), Iowa running back Brandon Wegher did not show up for practice, says the Eastern Iowa Gazette. Wegher enters 2010 as the Hawkeye’s second leading rusher from last season, when he contributed 641 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Wegher’s absence has been nothing short of a mystery and head coach Kirk Ferentz has declined comment on the matter. The 5-foot-11 back out of Sioux City, IA was last seen practicing with the team on Saturday.

There has been plenty of speculation about Wegher’s no-shows, including that the back is academically ineligible. Wegher, however, refutes the rumor.

“No problem,” said Wegher mildly.

Okay, then...

Wegher was supposed to compete for the starting job this fall, along with sophomores Jewel Hampton and Adam Robinson, who led the team in rushing last year with 834 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Hampton was thought to be the heir apparent to current New York Jet Shonn Greene, but has run into some problems cracking the top of the depth chart. After 463 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2008, he redshirted in 2009 due to a knee injury. Hampton is also suspended for the first game of 2010 because of a public intoxication arrest in June.

Adding uncertainty to the depth at running back is the injury of freshman Marcus Coker, who has a broken right clavicle. Coker’s status for this season is still unclear.