The competition at running back has been amongst the most competitive this spring for the Iowa State football team. Junior Hiawatha Rutland is listed as the starter to replace Ennis Haywood but is being pushed by Michael Wagner, JaMaine Billups and redshirt freshman Brian Thompson. Normally by this time the Cyclones have an established starter but coach Dan McCarney says if they need to use several running backs to be successful they will. McCarney and Rutland say the battle will continue right up until the opening game with Florida State. Rutland says he needs to keep improving to stay in the top spot, but it could all change. Rutland does not view this as a chance to replace Ennis Haywood. He says Haywood is “irreplaceable,” and he’s more content to make his own mark on the program.The Iowa Hawkeyes need a new starter at running back to replace Ladell Betts. Likely starter Aaron Greving has missed practice with what has turned out to be a minor ankle fracture. With Greving out Fred Russell has gotten more carries this spring and coach Kirk Ferentz feels both can fill the shoes of the departed Betts. Ferentz says they have confidence in both backs. He says Greving will be out the rest of the spring, but should be back for the fall.The defensive front was hit hard by graduation but Ferentz likes the way some new players have stepped in. He says based on what he’s seen thus far, the team is going to be okay. Both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones will close out spring drills with an intrasquad game on Saturday.
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