Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register answers five questions from fans.
Will leading rusher Mark Weisman return to the field on Saturday?
That’s doubtful. As badly as the Hawkeyes could use his 5.8-yards per carry average, coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t going to risk further damage to his strained groin. Here’s what Ferentz said at his Tuesday press conference:
“We’ll just have to wait and see. He’s got a strain right now. Mother Nature’s got a role in this whole thing. I think he’s got a shot this week, but probably not a good shot. We’re not going to put him out there until he can function the way he needs to.”
What’s the chance of Iowa letting it all hang out with risk-taking plays for the last three games?
That’s possible. There’s nothing to lose, considering the Hawkeyes won’t be favored to beat either of their last two opponents. Someone asked Ferentz about that Tuesday.
“You don’t change your wardrobe every week, at least good teams don’t,” he said. “You can’t, unless guys just get wiped out. Then that’s a different discussion, but to think that you’re going to go from being a two tight end, two-back team, to a four-wideout team — that’s probably not realistic. You go with what you have.”
Iowa could finish the season with six losses in a row. When is the last time that’s happened?
You don’t have to dig too deep in the archives to come up with that one. The Hawkeyes lost their final eight games of the 1999 season, coach Kirk Ferentz’s first, then added to that drought by losing the first five games of 2000. And before anyone asks about the last time Iowa lost four conference games in a row. . .that’s also 1999.
Keep in mind, however, that after losing against Penn State, Northwestern, and Indiana on successive Saturdays this season – Iowa is favored to beat Purdue on Saturday.
Is Iowa’s downfall due to playcalling and not being able to adjust to new offensive coordinator Greg Davis?
That would be a no, according to people who know football and the Iowa program. The Hawkeyes haven’t strayed far from the plays that were called when Ken O’Keefe ran the offense for 13 seasons. Ferentz still has veto power on what’s called.
Former college coach Gerry DiNardo, an analyst for the Big Ten Network, said last week that Iowa’s top players were better in the Orange Bowl season of 2009 than the team’s top players today. That sounds like a recruiting problem, to me.
A common comment after the current three losses in a row was that the Hawkeyes got beat at the line of scrimmage. That didn’t happen back in the glory days. A lack of speed has been an Iowa concern for years, but this season (except for Micah Hyde and Jordan Cotton), it’s at times been over the top.
What happens when reporters interview Ferentz in that small group after the press conference?
That started a long time ago – pre-Internet, when newspaper reporters wanted to ask questions for stories that might not be published in newspapers until Friday or Saturday of game week. That’s where tougher questions sometimes are asked; in a more personal setting.
Anymore, however, a transcript of that 15-minute or so session somehow shows up on the Internet, so what we call on-the-side sessions often are as transparent as the live-streamed press conference. And as for Ferentz’ comments holding up to be fresh by the end of game week – forget it. Someone invariably posts his comments immediately.
Below is a replay of Wednesday’s chat with the Register’s Randy Peterson:
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football