Amidst the jubilation of Iowa’s 44-41 win in overtime at Iowa State was the injury to starting right tackle Ike Boettger, who left in the third quarter and didn’t return for the rest of the game. Per Kirk Ferentz, it sounds like an Achilles injury:
Ferentz says he thinks Boettger injury is achilles. If so, season-ending
— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) September 9, 2017
The speculation that he’s out for the year is a bit premature for now, but considering that there isn’t a great deal that can be done to an Achilles other than a tear, it’s likely that Iowa will be without Boettger for an extended period of time. Following his injury, Sean Welsh was moved from right guard to right tackle and Ross Reynolds took Welsh’s spot. Boettger’s absence was felt as soon as he left the game, as Iowa punted on the same possession and the ensuing possession. Fortunately, they righted the ship and did enough to win but Kirk Ferentz is going to need to find a competent replacement before the conference schedule.
Who should replace Boettger? Well, Tristan Wirfs is an option. He’s listed as Boettger’s backup and is clearly the future at offensive tackle. We already know he’s an athletic freak with the size to start as a true freshman. Or maybe Iowa sticks with Welsh at right tackle and Reynolds stays at right guard? Welsh was Iowa’s starting RT in 2015 and was forced into a couple starts last season but it’s clear that he’s a natural guard. Should Boone Myers return from injury, Alaric Jackson is also an option. The RS freshman has started two consecutive games at left tackle and looks the part.
The good news is that Iowa has a tune up against North Texas before opening up the Big Ten slate against Penn State on September 23rd, so Ferentz and Co. will have an opportunity to try some things out. The bad news is that it’s damn near impossible to effectively replace a three-year starter at tackle in two weeks. Regardless, get well soon, Ike.