Sept. 15, 2008
- Touchdown Iowa…vote!
- Game Day Central
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- Iowa Football wallpaper
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa will bring one of college football’s top defenses to Pittsburgh — home of one of professional football’s greatest defenses of all-time — Saturday when the Hawkeyes square off against the Pitt Panthers at 11 a.m. Iowa time inside Heinz Field. The game will be televised live to a national audience by ESPN2.
UI Head Coach Kirk Ferentz will undoubtedly be asked about his defense when he meets the media Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. Iowa time. As is always the case, hawkeyesports.com is the only place on the world wide web where fans of the Hawkeyes can watch Ferentz’s weekly media event live from start to finish.
For those too young to know, the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in five years in the late 1970s thanks in good measure to a dominating defense that came to be known as “The Steel Curtain.” Anchored by defensive lineman Mean Joe Greene and gritty linebacker Jack Lambert, the lunch-bucket Steelers were the definition of hard-nosed, mud-in-the-eye defense.
“We’re doing a lot of good things on defense and that’s a positive because, if you look at the teams that we’ve had success with here, we’ve been pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. The really good news is that I think we can get better on a lot of things including on defense.”
Statistically, the similarity between those units and the Iowa defensive unit that will take the field Saturday in the Hawkeyes’ first road test of 2008 goes beyond the similarity in the team colors of the Hawkeyes and Steelers.
For the second straight season, Iowa hasn’t allowed a touchdown in its first three games. Iowa has also allowed only three visits to the red zone in its first 12 quarters of football in 2008 and the opponents have come up empty all three times.
The Hawkeyes currently lead the nation in scoring defense (2.67 points per game) and red zone defense (0-for-3) and are third in pass efficiency defense (80.5) The unit has also collected eight turnovers and eight sacks, 19 tackles for loss and a safety.
Simply put, statistically, through the first three games of 2008, the Hawkeyes have been as nasty and as stingy as Pittsburgh’s Curtain crew was in the 70s.
However, statistics tell one story…coaches tell another. The 2008 Iowa football team is pretty salty on defense, but you’d have a hard time convincing Ferentz that it’s Steel Curtain-good just yet.
“We’re doing a lot of good things on defense and that’s a positive because, if you look at the teams that we’ve had success with here, we’ve been pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. The really good news is that I think we can get better on a lot of things including on defense,” Ferentz offered shortly after Iowa’s 17-5 victory over intrastate rival Iowa State last Saturday afternoon at rain-soaked Kinnick Stadium.
“We have to focus on getting better every week and look at what we need to correct,” added linebacker A.J. Edds, Iowa’s second-most productive defender with 19 tackles in three games.
“We can’t get hung up on what we’ve done,” Edds continued. “We have lots of things to improve on and we’re going to need to improve because we have another tough game on Saturday.”
Ferentz’s weekly media conference is one of the many exclusive pieces of audio and video content available in Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media space inside hawkeyesports.com, the official world wide web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Subscribers to Hawkeye All-Access can watch live each weekly media conference of Kirk Ferentz, Todd Lickliter, Lisa Bluder and Tom Brands. Subscribers also have access to live start-to-finish coverage of each postgame press conference of Ferentz, Lickliter and Brands from events played in Iowa City. They also can listen to live radio coverage of the home and away games of Iowa’s football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling events in addition to the series of Hawk Talk radio shows featuring Ferentz, Lickliter and Bluder.
There’s also live radio play-by-play of volleyball, softball, women’s gymnastics, baseball, men’s gymnastics, wrestling and much more, exclusively inside hawkeyesports.com.