Unfamiliarity, Georgia Tech 'parallels' make Maryland's offense a challenge, and other things we learned at Iowa's Week 7 media session

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central
Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz enters Kinnick Stadium before the game against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

IOWA CITY, Ia. — It’s not a mirror image of Georgia Tech’s flexbone offense, but Kirk Ferentz sees parallels between the Yellow Jackets and what Iowa will face in Maryland.

That caveat adds to Saturday’s challenge, as the Terrapins come to Iowa City for the first time since 2015. It’s just the third meeting between the two since Maryland joined the Big Ten.

The Terrapins don’t implement a triple-option attack like Georgia Tech and the military schools do, but it’s the motions and movement that had Ferentz making comparisons.

“Just a lot of things going on (with Maryland’s offense),” Ferentz said. “Big week of preparation, mentally.”

Maryland’s 245.2 rushing yards per game ranks third in the Big Ten and 17th, nationally. Three Terrapins — Ty Johnson, Anthony McFarland and Tayon Fleet-Davis — have 45 or more carries and at least 230 rushing yards. Maryland has ripped off TD runs of 20 yards or more five times this season.

Ferentz said replicating that offense on the scout team will be one of the toughest challenges this week. The unique offense coupled with the unfamiliarity makes the preparation “like a non-league game almost.”

“Lack of communication,” Ferentz said, “(could) open the door for some really big plays.”

'I feel good about the guys we have'

Identity and cohesiveness usually have taken shape by Game 6. Ferentz feels this Iowa unit has meshed well so far.

“It’s interesting. Teams develop personalities — good, bad or indifferent — as the year goes on,” Ferentz said. “I said back in April, I’m not sure what our personality was. It was kind of bland. We had good guys, don’t get me wrong, but that (meshing) really took place over the summer. It typically does because it’s a really intense period of training. Things show themselves, especially during the month of July.

“But as it went, the guys up front have been so consistently doing a good job, I think we’ve got a lot of guys in the junior, sophomore class who are right there with those seniors. That’s really come together. We’re going to get tested the next six weeks — we’re only halfway through the season. There are going to be bumps in the road and more adversity, and we’ll find out more about the team, but I feel good about the guys we have. They’re all committed to doing things well.”


Ferentz announced that Parker Hesse, Jake Gervase, Keegan Render and Nate Stanley are Saturday’s captains.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.