Nov. 21, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Phil Parker’s charges are banged up, but the defensive coordinator for the University of Iowa says most should be able to play Friday when the Hawkeyes host No. 14 Nebraska in the second annual Heroes Game inside Kinnick Stadium.
UI offensive coordinator Greg Davis knows the Hawkeye wide receivers will need to contribute against the Cornhuskers in a nationally televised game that kicks off at 11 a.m. (CT).
“This time of year, our last game of the year, our kids are a little bit banged up, but most of the guys are going to be able to go out and play on Friday,” Parker said Wednesday following practice in Kinnick Stadium. “This has been a tough time for everybody, but we’re looking forward to playing a good game.”
Iowa enters its final game of the season with a record of 4-7 overall, 2-5 in the Big Ten Conference; Nebraska is on top of the Legends Division at 9-2, 6-1.
“When you play Nebraska, you know they’re going to be well-coached,” Davis said. “They have great defensive backs and they’re not afraid to play man with them. Part of the reason is they can put pressure on with their front four.”
Because the Cornhuskers use so much man-to-man coverage in the secondary, Davis said the UI receivers have to win individual battles. During the last two games against Purdue and Michigan, Hawkeye tight ends have caught 19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
“The tight ends are always important in what we do, but this is a game where the wide receivers are going to have to make some plays for us,” Davis said.
Against Purdue, the UI wide receivers hauled in 10 passes for 120 yards; that production was reduced to Kevonte Martin-Manley’s two catches for seven yards at Michigan.
Davis reflected a bit on his offense that averages 320.5 yards and 20.5 points a game.
“The production is not what we felt it would be in August,” Davis said. “Because of the injuries, a lot of young guys have had a chance to play, and a lot of those guys are coming back.”
But the Hawkeyes have their sights on Friday, not 2013.
“I think our guys are up for the challenge,” Parker said.
Nebraska has possession of the Heroes Game traveling trophy as a result of last season’s 20-7 victory in Lincoln.
To watch the entire interview with Parker and Davis, click HERE.