Hitchens, Hawkeyes Focus on Detail

Nov. 6, 2013

Wednesday interview with A. Hitchens

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team enters Saturday’s game at Purdue with a record of 5-4. With three games remaining in the regular season, simple addition says that eight wins is a possibility.

Senior linebacker Anthony Hitchens knows you can’t get to eight without collecting victory No. 6 first.

“We want to win the rest of them, but we can’t get there without six,” Hitchens said Wednesday following practice in Kinnick Stadium. “Six would be a big one for this program.”

A starting weakside linebacker, Hitchens enters Saturday’s game as Iowa’s leading tackler with 86. he is followed on the tackle chart by fellow senior linebackers James Morris (76) and Christian Kirksey (72).

“I have to give credit to the other two, they make my job easier,” Hitchens said. “I just have to line up and play football. That’s the easy part. Coach (Jim) Reid has been helping me with tendencies and being faster to the ball. I have to give credit to my teammates and coaches.”

The Boilermakers (1-7, 0-4) feature explosiveness in their return game. Sophomore Frankie Williams averages 19.8 yards on four punt returns; starting running back Akeem Hunt, a junior, averages 26.4 yards on 16 kick returns with a long of 99.

“We have to protect the punt on punt team first, then get down there and everyone has to know their lane assignments,” Hitchens said. “When we get to the ball carrier we have to wrap up.

“On kickoff, he is very explosive — we have to get off blocks and be able to make the play when it’s there.”

Hitchens said the Hawkeyes have had a good week of practice, getting a lot done and focusing on detail.

“That was our main focus this week and I think we’re doing a good job of it,” he said.

Purdue and Iowa are protected crossovers from the Leaders and Legends Division. The game begins at 11 a.m. (CT) on BTN with Kevin Kugler calling the action. Glen Mason will color the broadcast with Jon Jansen joining from the sideline.