Iowa football: Here's what Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said in his Week 1 press conference

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Game week has returned to Iowa City. 

The No. 18 Hawkeyes kick off the 2021 season Saturday against No. 17 Indiana at 2:30 p.m. inside Kinnick Stadium. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Tuesday ahead of Week 1.

Here are some press conference highlights. 

Expect a rotation up-front

After a Kids Day practice where multiple defensive linemen and offensive linemen didn't play, Ferentz said everyone (aside from Kyler Schott) has a chance to dress Saturday. 

Ferentz expects both lines to rotate several players.

"On both lines, we'll probably play more than five guys or four guys," Ferentz said. "We'll be rotating players in and out because we're still learning. We're still learning about a lot of our guys right now.

"Part of that is just the guys in the equation. Part of it is those injuries, and that's part of every camp. I have to remind myself. It's frustrating, especially the end of last week. We had a lot of guys in and out, and the week before too. We were kind of in that same situation. So it makes it tough to gauge where guys are at and how well they're doing. We're hopeful we'll have everyone at full speed, outside of Kyler, on Saturday." 

Leistikow's thoughts:Spencer Petras ready for the spotlight; Iowa vaccination rate shoots up

On opening up big 

Much has been made of Iowa opening not just against a Big Ten foe, but a ranked conference opponent. Ferentz sees the benefit of such.

"First of all, your schedule is your schedule," Ferentz said. "You play what's in front of you. But the fact is we're playing a really good football team (Saturday). Good in all three areas.

"There's no downside to it in my mind. And we all knew this back in January that we were playing a good football team to open up the season. You hope guys work with urgency regardless of who you're playing or what you're doing. But I think we all realize there's not a lot of wiggle room this week." 

More:What to know about the Iowa Hawkeyes' 2021 football schedule

Vaccination update

Ferentz said his team vaccination percentage is now in the "upper 90s" after a productive August on that front.

"Big month moving the needle on that," Ferentz said. 

Backup quarterback update for Hawkeyes

A clear quarterback hierarchy has formed, Ferentz said. Behind Spencer Petras, Alex Padilla is the backup and Deuce Hogan is third.

Iowa football captains  

Ferentz announced Saturday's captains are Tyler Linderbaum, Matt Hankins, Spencer Petras and Jack Koerner.  

Iowa football tickets update

An Iowa spokesperson said that as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, around 2,500 tickets remain for Saturday's game versus Indiana. The Hawkeyes expect most of those tickets to sell before kickoff. 

"It will feel and look sold out," athletics director Gary Barta said.

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.