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5 questions about the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] November 21, 2012 |

1. Is Friday the day we’ll finally see the backup quarterback?

Jake Rudock has been there all season. He’s No. 15 — on the sidelines, holding a clipboard, and wearing a headset. James Vandenberg has taken all 730 snaps thus far, and under normal circumstances that wouldn’t change Friday. However, Friday is his last game at Kinnick Stadium. Coach Kirk Ferentz likes him a lot. If the score becomes so one-sided late in the fourth quarter — if the Hawkeyes have a lead so advantageous that the Cornhuskers can’t rally, or vice versa, it would not be a shock if Ferentz substitutes quarterbacks during a possession somewhere around midfield. That would allow 70,000-plus fans to give Vandenberg an ovation for his loyalty and being one of the most stand-up guys on the team.

2. Why did coach Kirk Ferentz end the post-press conference sessions with reporters?

Because he could. Still annoyed at what happened a week ago when asked about an anonymous report by a radio station, he said no more side sessions. Therefore, his normal press conferences will be longer next season, and tough questions he sometimes got on the side and out of view of TV cameras now will be out there for everyone — including Iowa fans watching streamed content at hawkeyesports.com. Sometimes Ferentz used a side session to stress a point he didn’t make during the normal press conference. No more.

3. How on earth can Iowa expect to stop Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez?

A lot of people have been trying to figure that out. He has rushed for 729 yards on 140 carries for a 5.7-yard average, and he has eight rushing touchdowns. Martinez also has completed 187-of-294 passes for 2,420 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s another of those versatile quarterbacks who give the Hawkeyes trouble — like Northwestern’s Kain Colter and Michigan’s Devin Gardner. “We’ve seen them this year, so we have an idea what to expect,” safety Tanner Miller said after the Michigan game. However. “You can’t really simulate it in practice. Scramble drills are the best you can do.” Translated: It’s hard to prepare for a multidimensional quarterback when you don’t have one on the roster against whom to practice against.

4. Is the Big Ten Conference finished expanding, or will there be more?

Expect two more. That’s the prevailing thought as college football heads toward 16-team mega conferences. It’s unlikely to stop with this week’s additions of Maryland and Rutgers. The most talked about teams joining the Big Ten are North Carolina and Georgia Tech. So what happens in the Big 12 you (didn’t) ask? That league is at 10 now. Adding schools like (just guessing) Florida State and Clemson would make it a dozen. Two more? Cincinnati and Louisville, maybe.

5. What does Kirk Ferentz think about the possibility of playing a nine-game Big Ten Conference schedule?

He’s against it. All coaches are against it. Commissioner Jim Delany said this week that it’s a possibility once this round of the expansion cycle settles. Here’s what Ferentz said about that on Tuesday: “I just think the math is weird. Any time you talk about a competitive advantage of five home games, four away, or vice versa — I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” Delany also threw out the possibility that Big Ten basketball could be going to at least 20 conference games. Coaches would be against that, too.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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