Sept. 30, 2004
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In the 2001 season, Head Coach Kirk Ferentz sent a video to Big Ten Conference officials with footage of defensive end Aaron Kampman being repeatedly held from his attempts to make a sack.
And while Kampman finished with 18 sacks for his two-year stint at end, the lineman made a significant difference in the amount of penalty yardage Iowa racked up against opponents, drawing several holding calls.
This year, Ferentz is hoping for a similar result with senior end Matt Roth, a player with “a similar type of play.” Ferentz sent Roth’s tape on Tuesday.
“I’m hoping that if we’re not getting a sack, we’re getting something close,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “There’s a reason Aaron Kampman drew so many flags in my opinion, and I think there’s a real reason to that.”
Roth, who has two solo sacks through four games which ties him for 10th in the league statistics, says that drawing a holding call takes as much selling as anything else.
“We’ve got to really work to expose it or play through it,” he said. “I’m not going to be flailing around and jumping or dropping to the ground, but you’ve got to sell it.
“I’d rather play through it than sell it.”
Sending game tapes to the Big Ten offices is a routine weekly matter, according to Ferentz. The coach is also quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that the referees aren’t doing their job.
“(Head Official) Dave Perry’s great,” he said. “I think he does an excellent job, and I think all the officials do. I really have an appreciation for those guys. And I realize that everybody on the field has a hard job. I couldn’t tell you how much I miss in a game.”
When it comes down to it, holding can be a subjective matter and some teams are just good at it.
“That’s what the offense does – they hold,” Roth said. “That’s legal to an extent, so you really have to work hard to expose it if you want to get the call.
“He’s a handful to block, and we try to do it daily in practice and it’s not easy. I don’t think he’s had many holding penalties attracted, but if the past is any good way to predict the future, he’s going to have some. There are going to be some opportunities for those to happen, like Aaron had.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz on Matt Roth
“I expect to get held. You know, it comes with the turf. The guys don’t do much holding in practice. I’ve just got to get used to it. We have to get more separation and not let them get into our body.”
Roth said the team will work on holding this week in practices.
“There are some things I’ve got to work on too in making it more obvious,” he said. “We’re gong to work on that a lot this week, especially getting into the Big Ten because there’s a lot of holding.”
The end said that most players block him low and then grab him under the breast plate or over the shoulders.
“I wish I was 6-foot-8,” the 6-foot-4, 270-pound end said. “(Blockers) just wait for you to get in close and then they just grab you like a bear and you have to get out of it.”
There’s another reason why Roth may not be drawing many calls: he’s just plain difficult to block.
“He’s a handful to block, and we try to do it daily in practice and it’s not easy,” Ferentz said. “I don’t think he’s had many holding penalties attracted, but if the past is any good way to predict the future, he’s going to have some. There are going to be some opportunities for those to happen, like Aaron had.”
Roth will be pleased with those opportunities. The “physical” nature of the game is one of the attractions of the Big Ten Conference for him.
“That’s why we love the Big Ten Conference,” he said. “It’s so physical and holding is almost allowed. It works to our guys’ advantage sometimes too, so you really can’t get bent out of shape about it.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com