Iowa will look to its defense as the Hawkeyes face a Minnesota team that has had success in the air.
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Bring up alternate uniforms with Kirk Ferentz, and he turns into Steve Martin.
The Iowa head football coach may not quite understand why so many people are excited about seeing Saturday’s “Blackout” uniforms the team will wear against Minnesota — but he gets that it's a thing.
“My sense is the fans are excited about it,” Ferentz said, “which, hey, if we can make them more excited without playing a snap on Saturday, that's a good thing.”
The players got the full reveal for the first time this week for their Nike-produced attire for Saturday’s 7 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium. They were pleased.
“It was really a dramatic moment in my life to have those guys see it,” Ferentz cracked.
Each player seems to have a different level of excitement about the uniforms, which have been teased to the public — black pants, black tops, a tiger-hawk on the left thing, "IOWA" across the chest.
Running back Akrum Wadley was pleased.
"They look good, they look really good," Wadley said. "You look good, you play good.”
Quarterback C.J. Beathard was fine either way, but he seemed to prefer the Hawkeyes’ classic gold pants, black tops that Hayden Fry instituted to mimic the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1970s.
“I like that about Iowa,” Beathard said. “There’s not a lot of teams out there that stay true to who they are and how they’ve been in the past.”
Ferentz joked that when the program went through new business in the offseason, the alternate uniforms made the agenda — the bottom of the agenda.
“It's kind of a sign of the times. The players like it, they think it's great,” Ferentz said. “Again, I said earlier, I'm not a total tyrant. Every now and then we've got to throw them a bone and let them enjoy it.”
Ferentz compared his role as coach to being a governor with veto power. But it seemed as though the uniform movement had plenty of votes to override a buzzkill veto.
“It was a tidal wave; are you kidding me?” Ferentz said.
So, give the 60-year-old coach with 124 career wins — eighth in the Big Ten Conference — credit for listening to the push from the younger members of his coaching staff with, as he put it, “fresh ideas.” It's gotten a lot of people fired up.
Kinnick Stadium is sold out for the first time this season.
“It's a fun thing, so what the heck. I'm not a fun killer, either,” Ferentz said, continuing his comedy routine. “We're all for it. If it makes us play better, then we may be in them next Saturday, too.”