Opening the running lanes

Sept. 11, 2010

Video interview with A. Robinson, R. Reiff


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Football could be the ultimate team sport because it takes 11 players working to accomplish the desired result. This was evident Saturday as the University of Iowa crushed rival Iowa State 35-7 while gaining 479 yards behind an a dominant offensive line.

The offensive line gave running backs Adam Robinson and Jewel Hampton open running lanes and quarterback Ricky Stanzi a clean pocket.

Robinson rushed for a career-high 156 yards on just 14 carries, and only Albert Young reached 1,000 career rushing yards in fewer games (11) than Robinson (15.)


“I really have to thank my offensive line,” said Robinson. “I couldn’t have done it without those guys. If they can continue to keep blocking like they’ve been blocking, I have all the confidence in the world in the running game.”

Robinson had what may have been the play of the game, as midway through the second quarter Robinson scampered for a career-long 75-yard run from a draw play on 2nd-and-20. Robinson appeared to score thanks to excellent down-field blocking from receiver Marvin McNutt, but officials ruled him down at the 1-yard line.

While the offensive line did a great job blocking white jerseys in front of them, Robinson also credits McNutt for his downfield blocking.

“I don’t think I had a cut for at least 15 yards,” said Robinson. “The line opened up a huge hole and I ran 15 yards before I had to make a cut. After that I made one guy miss, and Marvin helped me get down to the one. I just kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye, a black and yellow jersey blocking somebody. So without him I don’t think I would’ve made it that far on that play.”

Iowa gained a total of 275 yards rushing behind the mammoth holes created from the offensive line, with sophomore running back Jewel Hampton gaining 84 yards and a score, making his first appearance since 2008 after missing the 2009 season due to a torn ACL.

“I really have to thank my offensive line. I couldn’t have done it without those guys. If they can continue to keep blocking like they’ve been blocking, I have all the confidence in the world in the running game.”
UI running back
Adam Robinson

“They pushed their D-line off the ball they were moving those guys around a lot so it really made it a lot easier for me and Jewel to get reads and make cuts,” said Robinson. “He (Hampton) did great. He looked really hungry and he wasn’t easy to bring down at all. He did an awesome job.”

Iowa vs. Iowa State 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 7 21 7 0 35

Iowa State00077 Iowa Statistical Leaders Passing: Ricky Stanzi 11 of 18, 204 yards, 2 touchdowns
Rushing: Adam Robinson 14 carries, 158 yards, 1 touchdown Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 5 catches, 65 yards Tackles: Jeff Tarpinian 11 total tackles

Both Robinson and Hampton ran extremely hard and were determined to not go down on first contact, breaking multiple tackles and dragging Iowa State defenders several yards on numerous occasions.

“We got some push, but our running backs ran the ball hard too, and that makes us as an offensive line want to block harder, and makes us look better too,” said left tackle Riley Reiff.

Iowa’s rushing attack and superb play up-front helped Iowa control the ball for all but 1:26 of the first quarter.

“That’s our goal all the time, wear down the clock and move the ball,” Reiff said. ” Our running backs did a great job, Ricky did a great job keeping the ball moving and we put together some good drives today.”

There were questions prior to the season about the chemistry of the offensive line how the line would do after losing tackles Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway to the draft, and seeing senior Rafael Eubanks graduate. Iowa’s performance on the offensive line against Eastern Illinois and Iowa State has proved that the chemistry along the offensive line is just fine.

“It’s a feeling process, some people pick up on it right away, some people it takes a little longer, and there are different schemes where it doesn’t happen right away, but you’ve got to make it work,” Reiff said.

Chemistry along the line is especially important in Iowa’s zone blocking scheme.

“In a zone blocking scheme, if you get on a guy you just want to stay on him no matter if it’s north south east or west,” said Reiff. “You just want to stay on him, keep your body on him and let the running backs make their reads from there.”

Robinson has liked what he has seen from the group going back to training camp.

“I saw glimpses of them at the end of camp, and if they could get those things fine- tuned I knew they were going to be a good unit and so far, so good.”