IOWA CITY Iowa — Wide receiver Matt VandeBerg will miss spring practice after re-injuring his foot. Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz announced VandeBerg’s injury at his introductory spring football press conference on Wednesday.
Ferentz said he expects VandeBerg to be healthy by June. Rivals first reported the news of the injury earlier this month.
The injury is another setback for VandeBerg, a former honorable mention All-Big Ten performer. He looked poised for a big senior season last fall, catching 19 passes for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns in four games before breaking his foot in a September practice. VandeBerg received a medical waiver for an extra year of competition.
The concern with VandeBerg isn’t about him missing spring drills. The concern should be whether two foot injuries within a year will impact his ability to play this fall.
VandeBerg is a veteran and the most important receiving component for the passing game. Iowa needs him to be healthy enough to play from September through a possible January bowl game.
His injury will result in the other returning receivers getting additional reps over the next month. Iowa needs its passing game to improve, and it won’t do so without significant growth from the receivers. No returning wide receiver consistently showed the ability to get open and make plays after VanderBerg was injured.
The spring is as important to the receivers as any position group on the roster. Wide receivers Jerminic Smith, Devonte Young, Adrian Falconer and Ronald Nash must show improvement. They’ll get plenty of chances. That’s the only silver lining to VandeBerg’s injury.