IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s not one thing that’s keeping Iowa LB Aaron Mends from seeing the field. It’s multiple issues, stemming from health to his knowledge of the defense.
“He’s not as good as the guys in front of him right now,” Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker said. “Sometimes he’s been banged up a little bit and probably not practiced as much. Sometimes he has some issues there. To us we’ve got to make sure that he’s on the same page all the time with what we want to do defensively.”
What was going on with Mends was a mystery for the fan base. The 6-foot, 212-pound sophomore exited spring and entered fall as the No. 1 weak-side linebacker. It looked like he might be a multi-year starter for the Hawkeyes, but he was out beat out in camp by Bo Bower.
As the season progressed he kept falling down the depth chart. He wasn’t listed on it for the Wisconsin game last week. Mends has 3 tackles this season.
Parker likes what Mends brings to the position, but it sounds like he won’t see the field anytime soon, until the coaches can trust him more.
“He’s great athletically,” Parker said. “I think his progress has not been where we think it needs to be to go out there and be out there on a full-time basis.”