CEDAR FALLS — At the beginning of the season Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley felt he had the best tight end in the country in all-American Briley Moore.
Farley also felt Tristan Bohr was as solid of a back-up at tight end that a team could want.
As it looks Monday, neither Moore or Bohr will play when the 13th-ranked Panthers host 18th-ranked Youngstown State Saturday in the UNI-Dome for homecoming.
Briley has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury suffered against Iowa State and is not expected to return until late October or November if at all.
That was a huge blow and it got worse Saturday when Bohr was hurt early in the third quarter in UNI’s 29-17 loss to No. 5 Weber State, suffering an apparent right leg injury and needing assistance to leave the field. Bohr provided a key block on a nine-yard Trevor Allen run that helped move UNI out of bad field position from its own two when he suffered the injury.
“I don’t think you will see Tristan this week, I think that is confirmed,” Farley said Monday.
While Farley ruled Bohr out, key players like wide receiver Isaiah Weston and corner Roosevelt Lawrence, and several other unnamed players as questionable for the game with the Penguins.
Lawrence was hurt while making a tackle, and Weston took a high hit early in the fourth quarter, was down on the field for several minutes before sitting up, then standing and walking straight to the locker room with Panther trainers. Weston has touchdown catches in three straight games for the Panthers.
“It is a wait and see game,” Farley added.
Bohr had nine catches for 71 yards to date and had three for 22 yards at the time of his injury Saturday.
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With Bohr and Moore out, UNI is down to three freshmen at tight end — Jayden Scott, Alex Allen, and Maverick Gatrost.
Scott played substantially against Weber State, but Allen and Gatrost have yet to see action. None of the three have caught a collegiate pass.
The Panthers have dressed offensive linemen Matthew Vanderslice and William Blaser in tight end numbers the past two weeks, but Farley said it is time for the younger players to step up.
“They know what they are doing,” Farley said. “It is their skill set that we have to play to in this whole thing. We will see how it shakes out this week. But when we lost Briley and Tristan there are things that need to get shored up in a hurry because it affects a lot of your game plan no matter what personnel group you are in whether you are in 22, 12 or 11 it affects all of them.
“Yeah, it has definitely has changed a lot of things when you are sitting in the team room figuring out how to put the pieces together.”
LOOKING FORWARD TO HOMECOMING: Farley said he doesn’t believe Homecoming week is distracting.
“I think it is a good deal to have people around here,” Farley said. “Have your former players, they usually starting showing up on Thursday and have a deal on Friday.
“It is probably more, I don’t think distractive, it is more time spent because they will come through the office and we will take time to talk to them. They are back for a reason because the program means something to them and they were part of the program.”
Farley said it is important to get work done early in the week so when the former players arrive on Thursday and Friday that his staff can spend quality time with those players.