Iowa endured its share of off-field problems involving players between 2007-09, and following the incidents, head coach Kirk Ferentz typically issued statements that included phrases like "very disappointed" and "poor judgment."
Ferentz has taken a very different approach regarding defensive end Adrian Clayborn and his assault case. The coach has stood by Clayborn ever since the incident in January 2009, saying that there are two sides to the story and more information to be learned. Clayborn faced no penalties from the team, served as a permanent captain and led Iowa to an 11-2 record and an Orange Bowl victory.
According to online court records, Clayborn will enter a guilty plea in the case at a March 19 hearing. The star faces a misdemeanor charge of assault causing bodily injury after he allegedly struck a taxicab driver during an altercation in Iowa City. It's unknown whether Clayborn will plead guilty to the assault causing bodily injury charge or a lesser offense.
I caught up with Ferentz on Friday for an upcoming story on the Big Ten and asked him briefly about Clayborn's status going forward.
"I've not heard a thing different than what I heard at the onset," Ferentz said. "We'll wait and see how it all rides out, but I can tell you he's been nothing but a model student and citizen with us. He's been a great player on the field, great guy off the field. Based on my knowledge of everything right now, nothing's changed at all."
Unless Clayborn receives a stiff penalty from the court, you should expect to see him out there for spring practice. Ferentz isn't the type of coach to support a player blindly without having a decent grasp of what went down. You can never completely rule out some sort of penalty from the team, but Clayborn doesn't seem to be in jeopardy of missing time on the field.