Defensive Line's Toughness Stands Tall

Oct. 28, 2015

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan praises his unit’s toughness and competitive spirit through the first seven games of the season.

Maryland visits Iowa City Saturday with the third-best rushing offense in the Big Ten, averaging 187.7 yards per game and nine touchdowns. Countering that rushing attack will be a stout Hawkeye rush defense that ranks second in the league and third in the country, yielding 74 yards and one touchdown per contest.

Morgan, who is in his 16th season as a member of the Iowa coaching staff and his fourth as defensive line coach, says it has been a team effort in stopping the run this season.

“We have a group of guys who genuinely care about each other,” said Morgan. “They’re working hard and are tough mentally. The collective effort of 11 guys working together as one has been the secret for us.”

Nathan Bazata and Jaleel Johnson have anchored the inside of the line. The duo has combined for 46 tackles, including six for loss through seven games. Morgan says the two tackles have been doing their job.

“They’re doing it with confidence and doing the physical things,” said Morgan. “We’re pleased with their performance so far.”

Defensive ends Nate Meier and Parker Hesse have been sealing the edges and providing pressure in the passing game. Morgan says both are competitive and hate to lose.

“Parker has tremendous competitive spirit,” Morgan said. “He’s a hard worker, tough, and has great pride. All of that is a by-product of his parents.

“Nate is extremely tough, he goes as hard as he can every single down, and is ultra-competitive. He’s fun to be around; our meeting rooms are fun because of Nate Meier.”

Morgan also praised the play of Matt Nelson, Faith Ekakitie, Kyle Terlouw, and Melvin Spears in back-up roles.

“They’ve been good,” Morgan said. “Nelson is a guy who is seeing more time. Faith has been practicing well; he has taken steps forward and gained a lot of confidence the last two weeks. Terlouw takes great pride and works hard. Spears is a senior, who is playing his best football right now.”

The Hawkeyes (7-0, 3-0) and Terrapins (2-5, 0-3) kickoff Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CT) at Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised regionally on ABC, with outer markets able to watch the contest on ESPN2.

Tickets are on sale for Iowa’s three remaining home games, and are available online at, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or in person at the UI athletics ticket office located in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A $25 youth ticket is available for the Maryland game and the home finale against Purdue (Nov. 21).

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