Dec. 15, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sixteen days have passed since the University of Iowa football team concluded its regular season with a 38-17 victory at Nebraska. It has been seven days since they discovered a bowl destination and opponent.
“It feels good to have a little break,” said junior running back Mark Weisman. “We’re still working hard, but it’s a little different from game week. We started lifting again and had a couple practices, but not as heavy for the guys who start.”
The Hawkeyes went through a workout Sunday for a sixth time this postseason in the Indoor Practice Facility.
For senior linebacker Anthony Hitchens, the break from games has allowed him more time for film study.
“It makes it easier than having just one week,” said Hitchens, the Hawkeyes’ leading tackler with 102. “We get in and watch film and break it down. We should get to watch more film than ever because the bowl game is (18 days) away instead of a week or five days. It is our advantage to watch more film.”
“It’s a great opportunity for us. We had a pretty good regular season and we want to finish strong with a good game against a good opponent. You get to play a very good team, that’s what you want in college football. You want to play good competition in a bowl game.”
UI running back
Brandon Scherff, Iowa’s junior offensive left tackle, has used the down time to get caught up in the class room, not the film room. With two finals already in the books, Scherff has one to go this week before he can give his undivided attention to the Louisiana State University Tigers.
“You get treatments, get caught up on your homework and if you have any finals to study for,” Scherff said. “It’s nice to have a little time off, but we’re happy to be back playing football.”
The Hawkeyes went 3-1 in the month of November with wins in their final three outings against Purdue, Michigan, and Nebraska.
“We have been improving throughout the season, especially these last three games,” Weisman said. “It helps us (to be on a winning streak), but you have to put in the work now. The season is not over yet. We have one more good game. It is a needed break and now it’s time to get back to work.”
Time to get back to work and face a nine-win LSU team that dropped two Southeastern Conference road games by three points, or the Tigers would be sitting with 11 victories.
“The SEC is a fantastic conference and LSU is a great team,” Scherff said. “They will give us their best shot and we will give them ours.”
“They are great players just like we play every week, so we’ll have our hands full,” Hitchens said. “We have to be ready to come and compete.”
“It’s a great opportunity for us. We had a pretty good regular season and we want to finish strong with a good game against a good opponent,” Weisman said. “You get to play a very good team, that’s what you want in college football. You want to play good competition in a bowl game.”
The Hawkeyes face No. 14 LSU in the Outback Bowl Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Kickoff is set for noon (CT).
Hitchens said it is fun playing in a stadium used primarily by an NFL team. Last season the Hawkeyes defeated Northern Illinois 18-17 in Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers make their home in Raymond James Stadium.
“Every senior wants to go out like this,” Hitchens said. “Playing a bowl game against an SEC school on Jan. 1 — you can’t ask for more. We appreciate it and we’re going to take advantage of it.”