Oct. 7, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s like a broken record the media never tires of hearing.
Want a recap of University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz‘s weekly news conference Tuesday? It was much the same as ones he held Sept. 20, Sept. 23, and Sept. 27.
“We’ve got two guys that we feel good about (at quarterback),” Ferentz said.
Junior Jake Rudock has completed 66.9 percent of his pass attempts and averages 199.5 yards a game through the air. He is 11-5 as a starter. Sophomore C.J. Beathard has completed 54.2 percent of his pass attempts and averages 121 yards a game through the air. He led the Hawkeyes to a second-half comeback win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 20 and won his only game as a starter, 24-10, at Purdue on Sept. 27.
Yes, the Hawkeyes have two outstanding options at quarterback. Now it’s time for the B-side of Ferentz’s most recent news conference.
An explosive Indiana offense that averages 513.2 yards per game comes to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. The Hoosiers (3-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) feature junior running back Tevin Coleman who is second in the NCAA with 168.2 rushing yards per game.
“Since (head coach) Kevin (Wilson) has gotten there you can see the improvement they’ve made,” Ferentz said. “They’ve been moving the ball and scoring points basically against anybody, and last year they were that close to being a bowl team. They’re certainly on that path right now.”
The Hoosiers turned heads Sept. 20 when they went on the road and defeated No. 18 Missouri, 31-27. They are coming off a 49-24 win against North Texas, coached by former UI assistant Dan McCarney.
“We’re up against a tough opponent. They throw the ball well, run it well, and are a tempo offense. They make it tough, and they’re playing better on defense than they did a year ago.”
UI football coach
“We’re up against a tough opponent,” Ferentz said “They throw the ball well, run it well, and are a tempo offense. They make it tough, and they’re playing better on defense than they did a year ago.”
Indiana’s offense will be the next challenge for a developing Hawkeye defensive line. While Iowa can transition easily at quarterback, the same can be said at defensive end where juniors Nate Meier and Drew Ott are starters.
“(Senior) Mike Hardy has played well for us (at defensive end) going tback to last year when he got called upon,” Ferentz said. “Those three guys are playing well.”
The same can be said about the UI defensive tackles. The starters are seniors Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat; they are relieved by sophomores Faith Ekakitie, Jaleel Johnson, and freshman Nathan Bazata.
“We’re a little deeper with the inside guys,” Ferentz said. “We have Jaleel and Faith, and all of a sudden Nathan Bazata has done a great job. We’re going to need it this week because (Indiana) is a high-tempo outfit that runs a lot of plays. We need to keep guys as fresh as we possibly can.”
One of the biggest positives Ferentz has seen after five games is growth of several inexperienced players. While that applies to three new starters at linebacker — senior Quinton Alston, sophomore Reggie Spearman, and freshman Bo Bower — it also is true of an improving secondary, more specifically junior free safety Jordan Lomax and sophomore cornerback Greg Mabin.
“We’ll keep those guys growing,” Ferentz said. “If they do that, we’ll get better as a football team.”
Iowa (4-1, 1-0) won at Pittsburgh (24-20) and at Purdue before the first of two bye weeks this season. Ferentz is a “huge fan” of the midseason breaks.
“That was a tough five-week stretch post camp,” he said. “This was a good chance for our guys to get recharged. It’s a good thing.”
Iowa is celebrating Homecoming this week and Saturday is the annual Black & Gold Spirit game. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT) with Adam Amin and John Congemi calling the action for ESPNU.
Tickets remain on sale at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, by phone (1-800-IA-HAWKS), or online at hawkeyesports.com.