This week in "Bad News for Iowa Linemen"... a week after Brady Reiff had a case of mistaken identity involving Uber and the Iowa City Police, another Iowa linemen had another alcohol-related incident involving the police. His is considerably more serious than Reiff's infraction, though:
Final weekend without football for Iowa players a costly one. Starting right tackle Tristan Wirfs arrested for OWI early Sunday morning by Iowa City police. pic.twitter.com/yCvgCpDt7N
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) July 29, 2018
Wirfs was arrested for operating while under the influence (OWI) at around 2 AM on Sunday. Wirfs was booked into the Johnson County Jail on Sunday morning and later released. In addition to the legal consequences he'll face from this incident, he'll also obviously face discipline from the Iowa football program. Iowa's sports information department issued a statement indicating that he would be subject to the rules and regulations of the UI Student Athlete Code of Conduct, as well as the rules and regulations of the football program.
From Iowa sports info. pic.twitter.com/Y2Ns8F7Smz
— Marc Morehouse (@marcmorehouse) July 29, 2018
At a minimum, I think we can expect him to be suspended for Iowa's season opener with Northern Illinois on September 1. He may be suspended for additional games, although the fact that he's a true sophomore may place him on the less severe end of the disciplinary spectrum; Ferentz tends to reserve more significant suspensions and disciplinary measures for older players who make mistakes than younger players.
Wirfs was projected as Iowa's starting right tackle on the new depth chart released last week; in his absence, we can probably expect to see a first-ever career start for either Mark Kallenberger or Dalton Ferguson, the listed backups at the tackle positions. Kallenberger was one of Iowa's top recruits in its 2017 recruiting class (some recruiting services ranked him higher than Wirfs, who became a starter as a true freshman), but redshirted during the 2017 season. He was expected to make his Iowa debut against NIU, but likely only in spot duty; now he may have a much bigger role to play. Ferguson, a redshirt senior former walk-on, has never started at Iowa and has played only limited minutes during his Iowa career. Last year he saw in just three games after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in spring practice. If neither Kallenberger nor Ferguson gets the nod, we could see Levi Paulsen starting at right tackle, assuming he's fully recovered from his injury this spring. He started at right tackle in the Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College.
We'll update when we know more about Wirfs' suspension. Regardless of the length of Wirfs' suspension, though, one conclusion is inescapable: Do. Not. Drive. Drunk. Ever. Driving while intoxicated is an incredibly stupid and reckless decision and one that poses great harm to yourself and anyone else on the road. The only good news about Wirfs' arrest is that no one else was hurt by his incredibly poor decision; that's often not the case when someone opts to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Driving while drunk has never, ever been a good idea, but it's an even stupider idea now, when there are so many options to get home if you've had a few drinks. In addition to calling a sober friend or a taxi, there are ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft to use. Just don't get behind the wheel and try to drive yourself if you've been drinking. Hopefully Wirfs has now learned that lesson.