Iowa's offense is spinning in neutral. Teams are loading the box to slow down the run, and the Hawkeyes haven't been able to have much success in the vertical passing game to open up things at the point of attack.
The two biggest deep threats, Derrick Willies and Damond Powell, had no passes thrown their way Saturday against Iowa State. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said it's not as easy as just going deep.
"I don't think it's that simple," Ferentz said. "We had routes down the field. If they're not open, we're not going to throw them."
Ferentz said both receivers are healthy -- and learning.
"They're young guys," Ferentz said. "Derrick is young, chronologically. DP (Powell), as you remember, he's been here a year basically. He missed the entire preseason with a hernia injury. He's working his way back in. We love the guy. He's a really talented player, high-energy guy. We'll work him in. Nothing against either of those guys. It's just where we are right now. They've got growth to make."
Iowa's defensive tackle talks first loss, stopping Pitt's Conner
The two-quarterback plan remains cloudy. And it remains on the board for Saturday's game at Pittsburgh.
"We'll keep talking about it, yeah" Ferentz said. We'll see."
Asked if he thought about using C.J. Beathard against Iowa State, Ferentz said, "It's a thought every week, for sure. Not the most prominent thought, apparently, but it's a thought every week."
Beathard has played one series this season, against Ball State.
Iowa senior linebacker Quinton Alston talks team psyche.
RUNNING BACK UPDATE:
Ferentz said that running back Jordan Canzeri got dinged up on a second-half kickoff Saturday against Iowa State but he is good to go against Pittsburgh.
LeShun Daniels didn't play Saturday. Iowa went with a rotation of Mark Weisman, Canzeri and Damon Bullock.
"We're trying to find the right rhythm now and the right mix," Ferentz said. "Clearly we have not found it yet. We're going to keep working on that."
Daniels is still an option against Pittsburgh.
"We'll see how this week goes," Ferentz said. "We're not ruling anything out."
Iowa's Drew Ott talks stopping James Conner, Pitt
PLEWA STATUS IN AIR: Ferentz said the status of fullback Macon Plewa, who missed the Iowa State game due to injury, is to be determined.
"We'll have to wait and see," Ferentz said. "Macon is still day-to-day."
Plewa was replaced in the starting lineup by John Kenny, who was converted from linebacker a week ago. Adam Cox, who started every game last season, injured a knee in fall camp. He had surgery and is out for the season.
Receiver and potential kick returner Riley McCarron also has been cleared to play. He injured a shoulder in the public scrimmage Aug. 16.
Davis, Hawkeyes sixth nationally in rush defense
SCHERFF, OTT BOUNCE BACK: Ferentz said that left offensive tackle Brandon Scherff came through last week's game fine. Scherff had a procedure on his right knee last Tuesday, but played the entire game against Iowa State. Defensive end Drew Ott, who had stitches in his shin after his moped was hit by an automobile Sept. 8, also played the entire game.
"There weren't a lot of highlights Saturday," Ferentz said. "When you lose, there aren't a lot of highlights. But two I'd cite were Brandon, to come back from injury, and Drew Ott the same thing. For both of those guys to play the entire game, it just shows you a lot about their determination and mental toughness. That's something that can really serve as a good example for everybody involved on our team."
DEFENDING DAVIS: Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis has been in the public eye – negatively – after Saturday's loss to Iowa. Ferentz defended the third-year Iowa assistant Tuesday.
"Greg is stellar," Ferentz said. "He's unbelievable."
Asked about criticism, Ferentz added, "You can't stay in the game and compete if you go home and cry every time you get beat. It doesn't work that way."