What Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said in his press conference before facing Wisconsin

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

IOWA CITY − Looking for its first three-game winning streak this season, Iowa (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten Conference) hosts Wisconsin (5-4, 3-3) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Tuesday to discuss the matchup, the state of Iowa football and more.

Here's what stood out.

On Iowa football's injury front

"Brody Brecht is back on the field practicing today," Ferentz said of the wide receiver from Ankeny. "He looks like he's ready to go, and that's good to always pick up somebody along the way."

There's no change, meanwhile, on Keagan Johnson and Terry Roberts, who have been out for multiple games.

"They're both trying to work back and if they're getting ready to get there, we'll let you know," Ferentz said. "But nothing new."

On Iowa running back Kaleb Johnson

"That's everybody's best friend if you have a back that can do that," Ferentz said of Johnson's big game vs. Purdue. "We've seen him improve each week and in practice, and it really started when he got going in August. So it's been fun to watch him. And the other thing first is he's a delightful young guy. Our younger guys are in the early group. Him and Jaziun Patterson come by every day, 5:40, 5:45, smiles on their faces. 'Hey coach, how are you doing?' That's really unusual for young guys to be on top of things on a consistent basis like they are. That's just how they operate. They operate the same way. Good attitude, good demeanor. It's been great for our football team."

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On Jaziun Patterson and Iowa football's running back situation as a whole

"I think that was his first carry the other day. I don't mind telling you I was a little nervous going back to ball security. But he passed with flying colors, and he's a tough runner. Has been that way in practice, and it carried over to Saturday," Ferentz said. "The good news is Gavin (Williams) and Leshon (Williams) are 100 percent better than last week. They were kind of touch and go, and we weren't sure if they'd be able to play. They were there and were able to step in for emergency. But they both feel great now."

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On Iowa's offensive line improving in pass protection

"It just gives you a chance to do things you want to do," Ferentz said. "I mentioned these guys are balanced. We want to be balanced, and you just like to have that flexibility. We like to be able to drop back with play-action and move the quarterback a little bit. You only go as far as your players let you go. I think we're gaining some traction. We're not there yet, but hopefully we're improving every day in practice."

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On Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz

"It feels like he's been there five or six years," Ferentz said. "He hasn't, but it feels that way. And he's played really well for them. They've got good receivers, too, who do a good job off the play-action, but he can make every throw there is. It's going to be a challenge, and then they've got the balanced ability for play-action. So he knows what he's doing. He's got a good feel for the game."

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Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.