Plans for Marcus Coker’s first spring on the football field at Stony Brook include shedding a few pounds, but not shedding much light why he chose to leave the Iowa football program.
The former Hawkeye running back met recently with media in New York for the first time since his January decision to transfer from the Big Ten to the Football Championship Subdivision program, a move that came while Coker was suspended from the Iowa program for violating university policy.
Coker, whose 1,384 rushing yards in 2011 have been topped by only three backs in Hawkeye history, did not talk specifically about why he left or why he chose not to pursue available opportunities to return to the Iowa team. Instead, he focused on his future.
Asked about a bracelet he was wearing emblazoned with the words, “Get Better, not Bitter,” Coker said, “When someone or something knocks you down, just get back up and move forward.”
Coker said he misses his former teammates at Iowa, but the Beltsville, Md., native said he feels good about returning to his native East Coast.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go home the past two weekends,” Coker said. “The chance to see my mom and family is something I definitely missed.”
Saying he is currently heavier than the 230 pounds he carried a year ago while finishing second in the Big Ten in rushing, Coker said coaches, academics and the type of offense Stony Brook runs attracted him to the school.
Coker finds himself in a competitive situation this spring. Stony Brook returns Miguel Maysonet, who rushed for 1,633 yards and scored 15 touchdowns last season.
“We’re both going to compete for time on the field. But, I don’t see it as one over the other. We’re both trying to win,” Coker said, adding that the desire to prove himself on a daily basis is no different now than it was when he was at Iowa.
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore expects to find plenty of carries for both Coker and Maysonet.
“I don’t think the transition to our offense is going to be too difficult for Marcus,” Priore said. “The offense at Iowa is very similar to ours, and he’s been coached by some great coaches. He’s got a lot of natural skills.”