Adversity and Identity

Sept. 21, 2005

If the No. 21-ranked Hawkeyes are looking for an identity, they just might find it in Columbus against No. 8 Ohio State starting at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday inside the horseshoe that is Ohio Stadium.

“I think you develop your identity as circumstances present themselves,” Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “It’s a big step for us obviously. It’s a big challenge for us, so we’re going to find out.”

After three non-conference games, few inside the Hawkeye (2-1) program are sure about what type of team they have.

“It’s a process,” Ferentz said. “Every season will have a new identity, its own twists and turns to it. Teams develop personalities just like people do, I think.”

In the same breath, though, Ferentz said he usually doesn’t know the personality of any team until November, which coincidentally is also when he knows the team’s season record.

“Every game is a challenge,” he said. “We’ve already failed at one challenge. We failed one test, not so much on the scoreboard but how we performed that day. It wasn’t what we’re looking for – none of us. That’s what it is about football. We play 11, we don’t play 162. Every step along the way is interesting and important.”

Linebacker Chad Greenway, the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week, thinks more character is built outside of game-time situations than during.

“Character is built in practice, in the weight room, what you do away from the field really,” he said. “That’s the approach we’ve taken. And we haven’t really found our identity yet. We have to keep working for that and searching for who we are.”

Albert Young, who’s led Iowa’s offensive attack with a 99-yard per game rushing average, said the adversity Iowa will face in Ohio will go a long way to determine the team’s identity.

“Everybody’s pretty much against us,” the sophomore running back said. “I don’t think anybody’s picking us to win this game. That’s something that we’re going to use as extra motivation. When you go up against a top-10 team like this, playing in front of 100,000 on the road, if you don’t see what a team’s like with that, I don’t know what’s wrong with them.

“We’ll find out what the true Hawkeyes are about.”

Ferentz said that Ohio State (2-1) is a tough opponent to have to start conference play.

“When you go up against a top-10 team like this, playing in front of 100,000 on the road, if you don’t see what a team’s like with that, I don’t know what’s wrong with them. We’ll find out what the true Hawkeyes are about.”
Running back Albert Young

“They don’t appear to have any weaknesses,” he said. “They’re an excellent football team, and playing in Columbus makes it that much more of a challenge. All that being said, we need to be worried about us, and push ahead so that we can be ready on Saturday.”

Ferentz also dismissed some concern that the “horseshoe” – in front of 104,000-plus – is too intimidating.

“I think the No. 1 factor is that they usually have a pretty good team,” he said, “so when you show up there you usually have a pretty good team waiting for you. You’re normally the underdog. It’s a pretty good head start.

“It’s a pretty big place to play. It’s loud in there, but there are a lot of places in the Big Ten that are loud,” the coach added. “I think the one constant is their talent. Since I came into the conference in 1981, I can’t think of another team that’s had better talent year-in and year-out than Ohio State.”

Quarterback Drew Tate agreed with his coach.

“It’s a nice place, and it’s real loud,” he said, recalling his first trip there as a freshman. “But we have priorities to take care of without worrying about that distraction.”

FUNNY FERENTZ: Head Coach Kirk Ferentz likes to show off his well-developed sense of humor occasionally among the members of the media. On Tuesday, when asked whether he developed good recruiting contacts in Ohio while he was an assistant with the Browns, the coach replied: “When you’re a pro coach, you might as well be living on the moon or somewhere else. You know your neighbors, kind of. My neighbor in Baltimore thought I was a baker for five years. He asked my wife if I was a baker one time.” No one now could make the same mistake.

INJURIES: Sophomore linebacker Chris Brevi is the only Hawkeye on the disabled list going into Ohio State. Offensive lineman David Walker got through a full slate of practices last week, and returns to the two-deep behind junior Marshal Yonda at left guard.

CAPTAINS: Coach Ferentz selected Abdul Hodge, Chad Greenway, Brian Ferentz, and Marcus Schnoor, a senior running back, to be this week’s captains. Brian Ferentz has been a captain all four weeks. Hodge has held the honor twice before and Greenway once. It will be Schnoor’s first time at the coin toss.

Barry Pump,