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Stilianos and Ostrenga Ready To Step Up Without Luke Lachey

Steven Stilianos (above) and Addison Ostrenga will be looked to by the Iowa offense to supplant some of what Luke Lachey could do.
Steven Stilianos (above) and Addison Ostrenga will be looked to by the Iowa offense to supplant some of what Luke Lachey could do. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

IOWA CITY -- The tight end room at Iowa is in some flux at the moment. Starting tight end Luke Lachey went down with a "significant" leg injury in Iowa's 41-10 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday. He's currently out indefinitely and is likely to miss the rest of the season.

"It's an unfortunate development," Kirk Ferentz said. "He'll be fine here in time, but it's a significant injury so he's going to be out for quite a while."

Ferentz added that Lachey is "most likely" out for the season, and that he had surgery on Tuesday that went well.


Fourth-string tight end and Lafayette transfer Steven Stilianos spoke about the significance of the injury for Lachey and the offense earlier in the day.

"Luke is my brother -- he's probably my best friend here, he's my roommate and he's going to be a groomsman in my wedding," he said on Tuesday. "It's obviously tough to see him go down like that -- just trying to figure out what happened to him and how serious it was. It was tough to see, and I'm trying to have his back through all of that."

Though Lachey's injury is front of mind for his teammates and the staff, they know other tight ends will have to step up in his absence -- specifically Stilianos and third-string tight end Addison Ostrenga in addition to starter Erick All.

"Obviously that opens the door for me," Stilianos said. "It's next man up, you always have to be ready to go. You always have to prepare like you're going to be that guy playing. I feel like I approach every week like that. I'm ready to go -- I'm 23-years-old and I've played quite a bit of football. I'm ready."

The sixth-year senior has spent the last year-and-a-half in Iowa City and registered his first catch as a Hawkeye against WMU on Saturday, finishing the game with two receptions for 29 yards.

"Steve is a guy that I mentioned in the spring as someone who was starting to emerge," Ferentz said. "He has a lot more confidence now and a lot more competency. So, I think he did a good job on Saturday, and we'll use him more now."

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Unlike Stilianos, Ostrenga started his college football career in Iowa City and has gotten some early reps for the Hawks. Through two seasons, he has caught three passes for 25 yards, and also caught his first pass of the season against the Broncos.

"Addy is a guy we threw in there last year pretty much out of need," Ferentz said. "He really responded well. He's been pretty consistent that way and I thought he did a good job on Saturday. He'll keep getting better the more he plays."

"Addy has some of the best hands I've ever seen," Diante Vines added on Tuesday. "He makes great catches all the time."

For the duo and the position unit, expectations remain the same from the top.

"It's no different than a week ago or a couple years ago," Ferentz said. "We just want everybody to do their best, keep working and play as well as they can play."

"Johnny Pascuzzi is a guy that jumped in there and did a good job, too. So, we like to have four guys at least that we can put in the game, and Erick has done a good job and he's a veteran guy, too. The group will be fine -- we're just better with Luke."

At the end of the day, there's no replacing a player like Lachey.

"No one's Luke Lachey, the kid is a hell of a player," Stilianos said. "But we're going to do our damn best to play for him and try to make this offense go like he can."