Aug. 30, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The physical work is done. All that separates the University of Iowa from its football opener is a short bus trip to Chicago — and plenty of mental preparation.
For Hawkeye offensive coordinator Greg Davis, this will be his first game inside Soldier Field. For Phil Parker, this will be his first game as defensive coordinator. Both coaches spent a few minutes with hawkeyesports.com following Thursday’s practice inside the new indoor facility.
“A lot of mental preparation will go on in the next 48 hours for these guys,” Parker said. “There is a lot of film to watch, going over in your head what plays you might see, what formations, personnel groups. It’s a constant battle 48 hours before a game.”
Iowa faces a Northern Illinois team with the longest Football Bowl Subdivision winning streak in the country at nine games. Parker’s defense will battle a Husky offense that returns four starters that went 11-3 and won the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011.
“They are very experienced at the wide receiver position,” Parker said. “They are a little young, but very talented up front. The quarterback (Jordan Lynch) impresses me as a leader and competitor.”
“A lot of mental preparation will go on in the next 48 hours for these guys. There is a lot of film to watch, going over in your head what plays you might see, what formations, personnel groups. It’s a constant battle 48 hours before a game.”
UI defensive coordinator
“All of them are ready to play,” Parker said.
“Our guys have been working hard all camp,” Parker said. “They have been improving the last three weeks and I’m excited to see what they do. I think they are ready for the challenge.”
Davis is excited to see the Hawkeye offense perform, but it will go against a deep and athletic Northern Illinois group that returns 10 starters.
“They have great experience and return a lot of guys who have played a bunch of ball,” Davis said. “It’s a group that plays with a lot of confidence. I look forward to seeing our guys play, but we realize going in that it will be a battle.”
The Davis creed is to take care of the football and win explosive plays. He said opening games always put coaches on a heightened sense of anxiety for a couple reasons: `administrative’ penalties that put the offense in a bind, and ball security.
“You can’t tackle every day in camp,” Davis said. “We try to put our players in as many live situations as we can, but it’s something you always worry about in the opener.”
Davis referred to his six months in Iowa City as a “whirlwind.” Kickoff is finally in sight.
“We’re at a point where we need to play somebody else,” Davis said. “We need to see where we’re at.”
Game time is 2:32 p.m. (CT) Saturday. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPNU.
“It will be a fun Saturday,” Davis said.