Oct. 2, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The past seven months have been good for first-year UI defensive coordinator Phil Parker.
Parker, who spent 13 seasons as defensive backs coach for the Hawkeyes, now directs a defense that ranks tied for first in the Big Ten in turnover margin (plus 7), second in total defense (315 yards per game), and fourth in scoring defense (17.4 points per game) and interceptions (six).
“I’ve gotten to know the team a little bit better, each position: defensive line, linebackers, what are their capabilities?” Parker said. “It helps you call a game and it has been fun.”
The UI coordinators gathered with media Tuesday inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex, with Parker taking the podium after UI offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
The Hawkeyes (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) have a bye week before traveling to Michigan State on Oct. 13. Iowa is coming off a 31-13 win against Minnesota in a game where it limited the Golden Gophers to 299 yards — 224 of those coming after the Hawkeyes crafted a 24-0 halftime lead.
“I’ve gotten to know the team a little bit better, each position: defensive line, linebackers, what are their capabilities? It helps you call a game and it has been fun.”
UI defensive coordinator
“It’s great to come off a win and have a bye week,” Parker said. “The guys played with a lot of energy and they came out ready to go and played the full 60 minutes.”
He said the Hawkeyes will use the extra time to evaluate defensive personnel and schemes.
Iowa’s defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) against Minnesota, with linebacker Christian Kirksey returning a pick 68 yards for the Hawkeyes’ final touchdown of the game.
Parker was asked if he felt Iowa was applying enough defensive pressure.
“You always like to have more pressure at times,” Parker said. “But when you bring a little bit of pressure, you give up a chance for an explosive play for the offense. Eliminate big plays, that’s the biggest thing.”
In its next outing, the Hawkeye defense will face Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell, the top rusher in the Big Ten, who averages 131 yards a game. The last three games, Iowa has featured a running back — Mark Weisman — who has rumbled for 113, 217, and 177 yards.
“I’m glad our guys don’t have to tackle him too much,” Parker said of Weisman. “He’s a hard-nosed guy; he doesn’t say much, he just runs the ball.”
Parker was asked about several individual Hawkeyes, including Reese Fleming, who recently moved from wide receiver to defensive back.
“Right now we think his best needs for us are with the defensive team,” Parker said.
To read the entire transcript from Parker’s media conference, click HERE.