5 questions on Iowa football with Rick Brown
All of this talk that Kirk Ferentz and now Greg Davis need to go is getting old. We have a 4-1 team, surely 5-1 after the Indiana game. That's not the kind of record that gets coaches fired.
A: No matter what the record, the offense has to get better for this season to live up to expectations. It is not as good, statistically, as last season. That is a disturbing trend.
I'm very impressed with the defense's numbers in last week's game. Wasn't this supposed to have been the problem?
A: Yes. Some genius (me) said before the season that the offense would have to carry the defense, at least in the early part of the season.
Indiana and Maryland are coming up. These games scare me. I could see Iowa winning both, splitting, or losing both. Prediction?
A: Depends on if the good Indiana (the one that won at Missouri) or the bad Indiana (the one that lost at home to Maryland) shows up. I see Iowa beating Indiana. The Maryland game right now is 50-50 in my book. I want to see how the Terps look against Ohio State Saturday.
What are you hearing about the running game and lack of explosive plays? How are they going to get that going as we go against (on paper) what should be better teams?
A: Small things, technique things. Those are the buzzwords. I think Iowa needs better guard play on the offensive line right now. Greg Davis called the slow start to the running game mystifying yesterday. Ferentz said earlier that if he knew why, he'd make changes to fix it. If you have it figured out, drop him a line.
We sit at 4-1 and I will take any win. But the reality is we are still an average football team. Ball State (1-4) ... Iowa State (1-3) ... Purdue (2-3) ... Ball State SHOULD have beat us, Iowa State did beat us, and Purdue controlled the first half. Give us Iowa State's schedule and we would most likely be 1-3 as well?
A: It's not an impressive 4-1. The only thing I would take issue with is you don't give the defense enough credit. Northern Iowa schooled them on long pass routes with David Johnson. Iowa State scored that way, too, a running back on a linebacker. But Purdue tried it several times Saturday, and Iowa had the play covered to perfection. So the defense is clearly the bright spot so far this season.
BIG TEN BUZZ
When Northwestern won at Penn State Saturday, 29-6, it marked the first time the Nittany Lions failed to score a touchdown at home since a 6-4 loss to Iowa in 2004 ... Holy Franco Harris. Penn State managed just 50 yards rushing against the Wildcats ... Michigan State is averaging 50.3 points a game, a school record through the first four games of a season ... Iowa has now won four consecutive road games since an 34-24 loss at Ohio State on Oct. 19, 2013 ... The Buckeyes had 45 first downs Saturday against Cincinnati, which tied a FBS single-game record ... Wisconsin has now won 32 consecutive non-conference games at Camp Randall Stadium ... Indiana's Tevin Coleman has scored a touchdown in 13 consecutive games, a school record ... Maryland is the only team in the nation with a 3-0 road record. The Terps won at Indiana Saturday, 37-15 ... Ohio State takes a 16-game regular-season Big Ten winning streak into its opener at Maryland Saturday.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...
In what could be a preview of December's Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, No.<TH>19 Nebraska (5-0) opens Big Ten play at No. 10 Michigan State (3-1). The Big Ten's East Division was supposed to be the bully, right? Then the West's Northwestern won at Penn State and Minnesota won at reeling Michigan. And neither game was close. The Cornhuskers' Ameer Abdullah would move into the fast lane of the Heisman race with a big game against the Spartans' vaunted defense. And the West could show that maybe it does stand toe-to-toe with its East rvals.