Hawkeyes bye week comes at great time for depleted secondary

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Seven defensive backs have seen game action for Phil Parker's defense

It’s been a revolving door in Iowa’s secondary this season.

The first bye week of 2019 comes at a great time for the Hawkeyes depleted secondary.

“I know this week right here is a really good week even to rest our starters and get some other looks at some other guys and bring them along,” said Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker.

Seven players have seen action at defensive back because of injury in the first three games.

“If they are injured, what are you going to do about it?,” Parker said. “I can only play with the guys we’ve got. If you’re out there, you can help us win. I’m going to coach like I expect you to be. If you put somebody in, you’ve got to be the guy.”

The guy against Iowa State was D.J. Johnson. The redshirt freshman overcame an early mistake on the Cyclones first touchdown to finish with eight tackles and two pass breakups.

“The challenges are for these young kids, going to a big atmosphere is how they are going to react,” Parker said. “I think D.J. has really done a good job coming back and he grew up. Does he have a lot more to go? Yeah, he has a long ways to go, and he knows that and he worked hard today.”

The week of rest should help some of the starters like Matt Hankins and Kaevon Merriweather get healthy, although Parker was non-committal on the timetable for their return.

“Merriweather is a guy that has a chance to get back. I think Hankins at some point. I think they’re all looking pretty good, but I’m not the doctor,” Parker said. “They usually decide who is playing, just the way their preparation is and their understanding; how they take command of the back end.”

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