Oct. 8, 2014
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa defense is preparing for a track meet with Indiana’s up-tempo offense coming to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.
“They’re go, go, go all the time,” said senior strong safety John Lowdermilk. “We’ll have to get our calls in quicker and always be ready because they’re fast tempo. We have to be ready.”
Indiana’s offense is averaging 81 plays through five games in 2014, where the Hoosiers have piled up an average of 513.2 yards of total offense per game.
In the fourth year of head coach Kevin Wilson’s offensive scheme, Indiana has scored 45+ points seven times, reached 35+ points 16 times, and reached the 500 yard-mark 12 times. So yes, the Hoosiers want to get up to the line of scrimmage and go.
“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the defense,” said senior defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat. “We have to play with a chip on our shoulders, and be ready mentally and physically. They like to run up-tempo, but we can’t be worried about that.
“We have to go and play every down, have fresh guys in there, and go hard when you’re in (the game).”
“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the defense. We have to play with a chip on our shoulders, and be ready mentally and physically. They like to run up-tempo, but we can’t be worried about that. We have to go and play every down, have fresh guys in there, and go hard when you’re in (the game).”
UI senior Louis Trinca-Pasat
Iowa’s defense was stout during its last outing — a 24-10 victory at Purdue on Sept. 27. The Hawkeyes surrendered three points and held the Boilermakers to 156 yards on 62 plays. Purdue finished with 56 yards in the second half.
The Hawkeyes know Saturday’s game will be a different animal.
Indiana averages 300 yards rushing to rank eighth nationally and is led by junior running back Tevin Coleman, who is second in the country at 168.2 yards per game. He averages eight yards per attempt and has scored eight touchdowns. Second-team running back D’Angelo Roberts averages 71.8 yards per game and five yards per carry.
“You know they’re going to be running the ball,” said Trinca-Pasat, who is second on the team with five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. “It’s a challenge. You’re trying to see how good you are to see if you can stop the best that is out there. That lets you know where you’re at.”
Coleman has been putting up video game-type numbers since the start of the 2013 season. He is tied for the national lead in 40-yard runs (13), 70-yard runs (3), and is second in 30-yarders (16), 50-yarders (7), and 60-yarders (5).
“He brings a different element (than some of the backs we have seen),” said Lowdermilk. “He’s a slasher and downhill runner. Once he hits the hole, he goes.”
Lowdermilk says the defense needs to be in the right gap assignments and know the Hoosiers’ personnel to slow down the rushing attack.
“That’s how he has gashed people,” said Lowdermilk. “(Players) get out of position, and he hits the seam and is gone. The secondary is going to have to tackle well because if we can’t bring him down, he’s going to be gone. It’s important for us to know our fits and bring him to the ground.”
Senior defensive tackle Carl Davis says the key is slowing down the Hoosier rushing attack before it gets started. The Hawkeyes enter the game allowing 93.2 rushing yards per game to rank third in the Big Ten.
“You have to stop the run, make them one-dimensional and make them pass it,” said Davis. “One of our goals coach (Phil) Parker puts up is no big plays. If you hold those big plays down then the small plays won’t do anything and you can contain them.”
The Iowa defense will have 81 or so “opportunities” to stop the Indiana offense Saturday.
“You have to know the plays and get the calls quick,” said junior defensive end Drew Ott. “It’s a lot to prepare for because they run a lot of plays, so you have to be focused in.”
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.