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Had a blast interacting with you guys the week of the Michigan game, and look forward to doing the same this week. Post any questions you have about Iowa here, and I'll be stopping by periodically to answer them all.
What will be Iowa's keys to upsetting Nebraska?
How do you think Iowa should go about containing Nebraska offense?
How do you think Vanderkamp fare?
Bigger threat: Abdullah or Martinez?
Thanks, Todd. And tell Brommelkamp he's welcome to join in the discussion also.
Feed me to the wolves, and I will return leader of the pack. #FreeDA
What are the chances of me having to sport a Vanderbeek pic in my sig for a bet I have with Perk?
What the heck happened to Vandenberg this year? What happened to his production? Is it him? The receivers? Or is it Greg Davis? This is all very mysterious to me.
This post was edited by k9_r 17 months ago
What is the honest mood around the team going into this game?
What are the coaches telling the kids to try to turn this around for Iowa?
Is this a marked game on the schedule prior to this weekend? (ie at the begining of the season)
What can Iowa do that everyone (except tOSU) can't seem to do?
"In the deed, the glory"
Is the Untouchable Ferentz finally on the hot seat? I don't know another guy who has developed so much pro talent with such little results while they were in college.
Is it a lack of talent, poor coaching, or both? What's the deal?
I think the Iowa fan base is pretty divided - I'd say about 50/50 - on their feelings about Ferentz at this point. Some think Iowa should be getting much better results from a head coach that makes $3+ million per year, while others point out his past success, everything he's done for the school and that he deserves a chance to bounce back, just like he did after the 2007 season when Iowa didn't qualify for a bowl game, but won the Orange Bowl two years later.
But when it comes down to it, most people don't think he's actually on the hot seat, and the main reason is that he's signed through 2020, so his buyout would be enormous.
I'm pretty busy tonight guys, but I'll stop by to answer every question during the day tomorrow. Keep the questions coming.
Is the feel around Iowa that this team has folded? Sure seemed that way against Michigan.
I'm sure Brommelkamp will be over here at some point this week as well.
As for Iowa's keys to upsetting Nebraska, we'll start on defense. Iowa's biggest weaknesses defensively are at defensive end and safety. Iowa absolutely has to find a way to get some pressure on Martinez. While he isn't Peyton Manning by any means, he's proven he can make the opposing team pay if they let him get comfortable back there. Iowa has made a habit of letting quarterbacks carve them up this year because they can't pressure the passer. So the defensive ends need to play their best game of the year, or Iowa needs to reverse the recent trend and blitz more frequently and effectively. Also, the safeties have really struggled this year. When healthy, the linebackers are all pretty good, but to stop a rushing attack like Nebraska's, you absolutely need safeties to be solid in run support. So again, those guys will have to play their best game of the year.
Offensively, Iowa has actually done some good things here and there the past few weeks. Vandenberg has been playing better, and mammoth tight end CJ Fiedorowicz had his best receiving game of the year last week. The offensive line has really struggled in pass protection, so that obviously needs to improve. If it does, and the Hawkeyes can continue to progress in the passing game as they have over the past few weeks, Iowa could have some success offensively against Nebraska.
Not sure what you're asking regarding how Iowa should go about containing Nebraska's offense. Are you referring to the game plan they should use, or what the keys are to containing the Huskers? Please clarify when you get a second.
Regarding Vandenberg, he's taken way, way too much heat this year for Iowa's struggles, IMO. A lot of Hawkeye fans literally feel he's the worst quarterback in the country, and I think that's completely inaccurate. He isn't Peyton Manning by any means, but he's nowhere near the biggest problem for the offense this year. The pass protection has been poor, the receivers are average at best, the offensive line is unable to create a push against above average defensive fronts, and the play calling doesn't fit the talents of Iowa's players. Vandenberg obviously hasn't been perfect, but there are so many other reasons for Iowa's struggles on offense this year.
Against Iowa, I would say Martinez will be the bigger threat running the ball. The Hawkeye front seven is pretty good against the run. The passrush is awful, but opposing offenses haven't had a ton of success running downhill right at Iowa this year. Where teams have hurt Iowa in the running game is on the perimeter, and a big reason for that is the struggles of the safeties. So because of that, I think Martinez's ability to do some damage on the outside makes him a little more dangerous against Iowa.
Is there a spread you guys are working with? Or is it just straight up?
I guess I was thinking about the gameplan. Stop the run? Stop the pass? Etc...
SnC and Perk are going straight up on their bet. Brad wants 35 points to be with me. I'm thinking of taking it.
I answered a lot of this in another post. But in short, a player doesn't just lose it from one year to the next as long as they're healthy and still motivated. Vandenberg has still made some unbelievable passes this year, with several of them in clutch situations. So the talent is still there. Entering the season, I thought his biggest weakness by far was his pocket presence. It was well below average last year, but it's improved to at least average this year, so he deserves credit for that.
As for his production, it's a team sport. Losing three offensive linemen to the NFL, not having any legit offensive tackles on the roster this year, losing the best receiver in school history, injuries galore at running back and a brand new offense all combined to make it very challenging for him this year. With that in mind, I think the decline in production is understandable.
Not at all saying that he's above the blame here, as I feel he pressed too much early in the season when things weren't clicking, and that just exacerbating some of the problems. But when you examine all the other glaring holes in the offense, his statistical struggles make a lot more sense.
straight up son
The mood around the team is very difficult to put a finger on at this point. At least in my opinion, one thing you always know about an Iowa team is that they're going to battle you for 60 minutes. They may not come out on top, but you'll know you were in a game, and they'll keep plugging until the final gun no matter what the score is. That heart and fighting spirit was on display this year at Michigan State, at Northwestern and against Purdue two weeks ago. I said all that to say this - I was very surprised by the lack of heart Iowa displayed in Ann Arbor on Saturday. I thought the offense came to play, but the defense was soft. Not just in terms of not making plays and getting beat, but in the way they let it all go down. As a former player myself, I've been on some bad teams and I've been on some great teams, but I'd be embarrassed if my team played like that. For lack of a better term, I thought they played like sissies. I think Anthony Hitchens and James Morris (both linebackers) are Iowa's two toughest players on the roster. Hithcens was out on Saturday, and Morris only played sparingly due to an injury, so that obviously didn't help. But it still shouldn't have gotten to the point it did on Saturday.
If the Michigan game hadn't happened, I would have been confident in telling you that Iowa will still bring it for 60 minutes on Friday against the Huskers, and try to restore some pride and send the seniors out on a high note. I still think that's the type of effort you'll see, but I'm not quite as sure now after what happened on Saturday.
Beyond that, everyone associated with the program is obviously extremely frustrated with how this season has unfolded, but I give credit to Ferentz for not letting anyone point the finger publicly.
As for the coaches, I think they've just tried to continue preaching execution. Ferentz doesn't let much get out to the media, so I'm not completely sure what's being said behind closed doors. But the one thing he can fall back on is the track record of success his program has had, so the players know it can work.
Is this a marked game on the schedule? I think it depends on who you ask. I got to know Drew Ott very well during the recruiting process, and this game is obviously his Super Bowl without a doubt. He's been getting some playing time the past few weeks, so he'll have a chance to make a statement on the field on Friday. I don't think Iowa really has one main rival that everyone circles on the calendar. A lot of the fans hate Iowa State, and many of the in-state players do as well, but I haven't gotten the impression that it's quite as big with the out-of-state players. And this game with Nebraska is too new to really determine how the players approach it. Again, some fans and players absolutely despise Nebraska, but I don't think it's completely uniform. I do think we'll get a better gauge of how Iowa views this game with the way the Hawkeyes play on Friday. Win or lose, if the Hawkeyes play inspired ball for 60 minutes on Friday, then that may be your answer right there.
At this point in the season, I think Iowa is too banged up up front to have much success running the ball against any above average defensive fronts. I haven't seen every Husker game this year, but if the Huskers play as well as they're capable of playing up front on Friday, particularly how they played against Michigan, that'll likely be the case once again. If Iowa can get Vandenberg in a groove early on on Friday, he's capable of getting hot and having a big day. Fiedorowicz and Kevonte Martin-Manley have been coming along in the passing game recently, so I do think there's potential for Iowa to have some success on Nebraska's defense if the pass protection is there.
I think it's a combination of both. Especially in college football, the coaches decide who's on their roster with recruiting. Once the players are on campus, it's their job to develop them so as to maximize their potential. So with the talent currently on the roster, it's understandable for this team to not be great this season. But the schedule was very easy this year (only one OOC BCS opponent, and not playing Ohio State or Wisconsin), and there's still no reason to lose games to Purdue, Indiana and Central Michigan.
I think defensive line is a perfect microcosm of this year's Iowa team. Reese Morgan (the defensive line coach) is, by all accounts, a great coach. But the talent at defensive end this year is severely lacking, to the extent that Iowa had to burn Drew Ott's redshirt a few weeks back. The passrush is bad, but it's hard to fault Morgan when he just doesn't have the horses this year. That being said, it's ultimately on the entire coaching staff to recruit and develop well enough that something like this never even comes close to happening.
I addressed this in another post. In short, I do think the defense in particular played with absolutely no heart in Ann Arbor, and that was very disappointing for a lot of the fans when they're so used to seeing the Hawkeyes battle no matter what the situation. I think we'll find out on Friday whether this team really has folded, especially if adversity strikes early in the game.
Gotcha. In that case, I like your chances, but I think it could end up being a close game.
If I'm coaching against Nebraska's offense this week, I think the theme of my game plan would be aggressiveness. Iowa's safeties really struggle against the run, and if that continues, Martinez could have a field day on the perimeter. Iowa's got some pretty good corners, so I think it's vital that the Hawkeyes simplify the job of the safeties and take away some of their responsibilities against the pass. Whether that's blitzing them more, aligning them closer to the line of scrimmage or adjusting their reads, something needs to be changed. That may result in the corners being on an island more, but that's a risk Iowa needs to take. I think making this change would help Iowa defend against the run. And to address the lack of a passrush, Iowa really needs to blitz more and/or use some of the linebackers at defensive end in passing situations. This is all easier said than done, as the safeties still need to be able to tackle, and the blitzers have to get home, or else the defense is in trouble.
I can say this about most staff members but Todd Worly is in a league of his own. Thanks!
Twitter: @mikejschaefer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Right back atcha! I always enjoy coming over here, and you, Bruntz and everyone else do an outstanding job.
Sounds like the 247 league to me...
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