Practice Turns Physical for Iowa Game

Arizona State's next opponent is far from being a finesse team, and Coach Dirk Koetter said that his squad is preparing accordingly.

"Practice yesterday (Tuesday) was very very physical," said the Sun Devil coach. "There was some excellent hitting in practice. It was hotter than we're used to - practicing in the afternoon. We actually got a little banged up yesterday. But it will be a physical game, and we needed a physical Tuesday (practice)."

As far as the pace for Wednesday's practice goes, Koetter was going to play it by ear. "I'm gonna try to get a feel for it as we get started. We had a similar practice slated but we'll have to see. I'll get a feel for who's still banged up and who isn't, and we may have to adjust a little bit."

Koetter scheduled the change in practice time from evenings to afternoons to coincide with the week of the Iowa game. One reason was to prepare for hot temperatures and humidity in Iowa City. While it seems that the weather this Saturday will be quite pleasant, there's even a more important reason for the switch. ""Football players and football coaches are all about their routines," said Koetter. "We're in a different routine right now, and after you get into to it it's nothing. But those first few days for the players…some of those guys have been going home and taking naps every afternoon and then come back. I just don't think it's that wise making such a drastic switch in their days during a conference (game) week."

When asked about his impressions of the Hawkeyes, Koetter replied: "They look like a team that's won 14 straight regular season game. Very solid in all the team phases, one of the best all around special teams in the country. Offense doesn't beat themselves…haven't thrown an interception all year. Defensively they can get to you with a four man rush, try to keep everything in front them in the secondary. They play sort of a bend but don't break style. They really come after you when you drop back."

If Iowa does find success in their ground attack on Saturday, it will be in large part due to the play of running back Fred Russell. "They're a zone blocking team and he's a great cut back runner," exclaimed the ASU skipper. "He has the speed to go all the way, but he's a jitterbug type of player that can make you miss right in the hole. He actually runs a similar style to (ASU's) Cornell Canidate."

Koetter claimed that his squad isn't taking a lighter approach towards this game, being that it has no bearing on the ultimate goal of making the Rose Bowl. He said his players comprehend the magnitude of this game. "They had this (game) circled, and relazie what Iowa did last year and what they have done this year. I don't think we have to say much… If you're a competitor you go out every week and play your best. I don't think our guys are thinking that way (taking the game lightly)."

The ASU coach noted that hasn't seen any improvement yet in curing the dropped passes syndrome. Another aspect he would like to see enhanced is the team's success in the red zone. "We have to have that if we're gonna win these next few games. You can't get inside the 5-yard line and give it away. Normally championship teams will have 85-90% in the red zone, and we're sitting at about 50%."

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