UNI football to utilize Flater's versatility

Jake Ryder

CEDAR FALLS – In the long term, Bryce Flater will likely be a linebacker for the University of Northern Iowa.
But UNI coach Mark Farley wanted to find a fullback for this fall and went through the roster looking for players that fit that mold before landing on the former Grundy Center standout.
"Bryce fits it to a T," Farley said. "He has that cowboy-collar attitude. He's going to strap it up and hit somebody."
As a result, Flater has been taking some snaps on the offensive side of the ball in summer practices.
"He's developing at linebacker for the long term," Farley said. "The fullback position, for how we use it, may be something more in his wheelhouse that he can be ready for in four weeks."
Quentin Griffin, a former Oklahoma standout and fourth-round NFL draft pick with Denver in 2003, now in his first season of coaching the running backs at UNI, noted that there may be packages for Flater in the playbook.
"He's definitely a versatile player," Griffin said. "Camp is just getting started – the more we see of him, the more we'll be able to plug him here and there and do different things with him."
As far as running back depth, Farley indicated Marcus Weymiller, Trevor Allen and Alphonso Soko as the Panthers' current depth after the departure of Purdue transfer Jack Wegher.
"Hopefully I can get on the field that way and special teams as well," Flater said. "I just have to keep working and getting better on my technique and see where it goes from there."
The fall is the first chance for Flater to work together as Panthers with Jordan Hook, also a Grundy Center alum entering his freshman season with UNI's offensive line group.
Hook is regaining momentum after a foot injury that Farley noted slowed his progress. The first year for guys like Hook and Dike-New Hartford's Chase Arends is more about bulking up, particularly with quite a bit of experience and depth on the offensive line this season.
"You see the strength and size that it takes once you get here," Farley said. "We've recruited Chase and Jordan to develop into that. Now we need to get you in the weight room and work with mother nature to get you big enough, tough enough to start playing this game."
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