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Tristan Wirfs: 'I hate getting Nate hit because he's trying to make plays for us' Dargan Southard, msouthard@gannett.com

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IOWA CITY, Ia. — Kirk Ferentz knows there is plenty at stake, even after Saturday’s loss to Penn State, but he doesn’t see much good in looking too far ahead.

That’s an unsurprising take from a veteran college football coach — one he reiterated at Tuesday’s media availability.

“Very briefly every week, I talk about the big picture — but that’s brief,” Ferentz said. “It’s hardly worth talking about. … That’s college football. Every week, you see a handful of scores (and think), ‘How’d that happen?’ So the experts aren’t always right. So, really, the best way to do anything is to try to take things a step at a time — as mundane as that sounds.”

The next step for No. 18 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten Conference) comes Saturday at Purdue (4-4, 3-2). The Hawkeyes are squarely in the Big Ten West race, but they’ll need help in the coming weeks. Another loss would likely dash any hope.

That’s where Ferentz chooses to put his focus.

“That’s really all we can control right now,” he said. “You aren’t worrying about anything else at this point. And it’s pretty simple — the more you win, no matter what happens, it’s better.

“Wasting time on that (big picture) stuff — it’s great for the fans and the media, but it’s not really productive for players and coaches to focus on that, because it’s going to change anyway.”

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RPO qualms

Ferentz has voiced his opinion about cut-blocking numerous times this year, and he did the same Tuesday, when asked about downfield blocking on run-pass options (RPO).

“It’s a hot spot for all of us in our camp,” Ferentz said. “We recognize it. We turn those plays in in advance because teams that run that frequently push the envelope.

“… I think, in college, we talk about three yards, but four or five, you have a good chance of getting away with it. It makes it hard to play defense quite frankly. But it’s kind of like tempo — no use squawking about tempo. If you’re in the right camp, you get a response. If you’re in the wrong camp, you don’t. That’s really the most plain way I can say it.”

High praise under center

Ferentz had high praise for Purdue quarterback David Blough, who’s thrown for 2,350 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.

“You can see why he’s a quarterback, and I’m sure players really gravitate toward him,” Ferentz said. “He’s a good player, but he just seems to have something to him that really is what quarterbacks have.”

Injury updates

Ferentz announced that redshirt sophomore tight end Shaun Beyer was hurt in Monday’s non-contact practice and will be “out a couple weeks.”

Meanwhile, running back Ivory Kelly-Martin is “a little sore right now” but should be good to go for Saturday, Ferentz said. Kelly-Martin re-injured his ankle against Penn State — an issue that kept him out of the Iowa State and Northern Iowa games.

Captains

Ferentz announced Parker Hesse, Jake Gervase, Nate Stanley and Keegan Render as 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.

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