Iowa's backfield takes another hit with dismissal of Johnson

Iowa running back De'Andre Johnson has been dismissed from the football team.

Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz had suspended the sophomore this past Sunday after two run-ins with police in the past week. Johnson was ticketed for speeding and eluding arrest on Saturday just two days after he was ticketed by police for maintaining a disorderly house after neighbors complained of a loud party.

The backfield depth in Iowa City has been a major concern throughout the offseason for Ferentz and new offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

The Big Ten's second-leading rusher in 2011, Marcus Coker, transferred to Stony Brook, while likely new starter Jordan Canzeri suffered a torn ACL and will likely miss the 2012 season. Class of 2012 product Greg Garmon ran into some off-the-field trouble, so the team was looking at having to rely on Damon Bullock, Johnson, Barkley Hill or Garmon to emerge from the pack and run with the starting job.

Now, Johnson is out of the equation, leaving Bullock, Hill and Garmon to carry the slack. The question is whether they can emerge to at least give the Hawkeyes some semblance of Big Ten-quality depth, especially against the league's better run defenses.

Hawkeye fans should expect to see Davis put games into the hands of quarterback James Vandenberg more often than not this fall, perhaps utilizing the short-passing game to serve as a de facto run game, at least early in the season.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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