A Defensive Battle Awaits

Sept. 7, 2004

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has reviewed the game tapes from Saturday’s 39-7 walloping of Kent State and the results are in: Ferentz says that his team did better than he originally thought in the season opener. “I sensed on Saturday that a few things need to be addressed and those showed up on Saturday,” Ferentz said Tuesday in his weekly press conference. “That being said, we did some things better than I may have thought on Saturday.

“Offensively, we were a little cleaner than it appeared from the sideline, but we hardly got through it smoothly in all three phases,” Ferentz added. The head coach singled out the work of his receivers, especially Ed Hinkel who led the team with four catches for 65 yards including the game-jumpstarting 35-yarder from quarterback Drew Tate in the first series. “I think that group has made progress,” Ferentz said of his receivers. “That was an area of concern coming out of spring practice. I think we’ve stepped it up. We’re hoping that the whole offense will come along, and I think, will come along with those guys.” Kent State provided “a good start to the season,” according to Ferentz, and the mistakes caught last Saturday are the first things on the agenda this week before the Hawkeyes (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) take on in-state rival Iowa State in the first event of the new Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series. One area of improvement is the offensive work from inside the 10-yard line, where Iowa was snagged a few times against the Golden Flashes. “We did OK when we were down there last week,” Ferentz said. “We have to do a better job.” Finding any tape of the Cyclone defense working under pressure will be particularly difficult this year, though, as Ferentz plans his offensive attack from inside the 10. Iowa State kept UNI off the scoreboard last Saturday and the Panthers could only reach the Cyclone’s 49-yard line – once. “They held UNI at will,” Ferentz said. “They did a really nice job there. “We obviously face a big challenge coming in here on Saturday,” Ferentz added. “If you look at Iowa State, they appear to be a much improved football team. A lot of familiar faces in their lineup and a few new faces that I think have added something to the mix.”

Ferentz said that both teams find their strength on defense. “I think that’s fair to say,” he said. “Both teams have first-year quarterbacks, and so the strength is on defense for both teams.” The coach also said that his defense’s concentration probably needs to improve in order to avoid a potentially damaging penalty situation late in the game. The Hawkeyes had 12 fouls for 136 yards compared to four by Kent State last week. “I think our whole defense in the second half, we lost our edge concentration-wise,” Ferentz said. “Sometimes penalties are related to that. We all need to step it up a little bit in practice and perform at a little better rate. “Bottom line is that we’re going to need to improve this week and play a good football game to have a chance in this thing,” Ferentz added. “That’s what’s ahead of us right now, and we’re obviously excited about the game on Saturday, but we need to get a few things done this week.” INJURY FRONT
Marcus Schnoor, a running back, underwent an MRI on Tuesday to determine the extent of a knee injury he sustained during last week’s game against Kent State. Coaches and medical personnel suspect Schnoor tore his anterior cruciate ligament and will be out for the rest of the season.

“Bottom line is that we’re going to need to improve this week and play a good football game to have a chance in this thing. That’s what’s ahead of us right now, and we’re obviously excited about the game on Saturday, but we need to get a few things done this week.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

“We think he needs an ACL repair, and they want to make sure they know everything about it before that takes place,” Ferentz said. “That’s very unfortunate and probably the single biggest disappointment from the weekend.” Backup quarterback Jason Manson is making progress from a foot injury during the preseason camp, reports Ferentz. But the No. 2 won’t be ready for Saturday and Eric McCollom, who played the entire second half against Kent State, is the backup QB against ISU. CAPTAINS
Defensive lineman Tyler Luebke, a first-year starter, will be co-captain with junior linebacker Abdul Hodge. Offensive lineman Pete McMahon will be an offensive captain for the second week in a row and Hinkel will join him, following a team-leading offensive performance against the Golden Flashes last week. NORM PARKER TO RETURN
Defensive coordinator Norm Parker was released from hospital on Monday and is expected to return to the Hayden Fry Football Complex on Wednesday, according to Ferentz. Parker had been hospitalized following vascular problems. “Things are really moving along,” Ferentz said. “We’re hoping he has a return visit tomorrow and we’re hoping that he can be in the press box on Saturday.” Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com