Simple Solutions

Iowa has gotten off to a slow start on offense, to say the least. The Hawkeyes believe the solution to the problems is about execution of the plays.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - As it was after Saturday's loss to rival Iowa State, the focus remained on the Iowa offense at Tuesday's weekly press conference. Also, like the weekend, there wasn't panic from Coach Kirk Ferentz and his players.

"I think you just keep practicing, keep working, and you just have to do a better job of finishing plays or finishing drives," Ferentz said.

The coach doesn't think it has much to do with offensive changes under new coordinator Greg Davis. Ferentz said Iowa would be struggling even if Ken O'Keefe still were in charge of the attack.

"I think we would be going through the same things," he said. "The change has not been a tremendous impact. It's just where we are at now right now."

Translation: It's the execution of the game plan, or in this case, a lack of it.

Iowa plays host to Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Hawkeyes have totaled 24 points and scored just one touchdown through two games. They fell 9-6 to Iowa State on Saturday.

"(It's) a product of our team right now," Ferentz said. "I don't think anyone is having mental trepidation right now. We have to play cleaner and better."

Iowa Quarterback James Vandenberg agreed with his coach's assessment. He didn't feel like the team still was adjusting to offseason changes to the offense.

"It was the easiest transition I could have imagined," Vandenberg said. "We've picked up on it well, we just haven't been able to execute it as well as we need to against other defenses.

"A lot of that is just experience. There still are a lot of guys that are playing their first couple of football games. They're only going to get better."

In the meantime, he and the other veterans need to pick it up.

"We have to make sure the experienced guys are making sure we're leading and getting this offense turned around," Vandenberg said.

Vandenberg chooses to proceed with a positive attitude.

"If you snap, then you're done for," the Keokuk product said. "The whole battle is not snapping. It's trying to stay in that happy medium.

"I learned that from Rick (Stanzi). I take that from Coach Ferentz. It's a mild approach. It's never (being) too high, never (being) too low."

Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz said on Saturday that Iowa was practicing well it just wasn't showing up on game day. Ferentz agreed on Tuesday. His son, James, the starting center, had an idea to help that transition.

"In games, there's another whole set of emotions and nerves and pressures you're dealing with," James Ferentz said. "I think we've got to get guys to loosen up a little bit and go out there and have fun. We're all out here to have fun. It doesn't have to be life or death. Maybe we just need to get back to the basics of enjoying what we're doing."

Short memory: Fullback Marc Weisman tried to forget about his drop of a potential touchdown pass against Iowa State as soon as possible. It wasn't easy.

"It's hard to let it go but you have to let it go," Weisman said. "I just want to improve from that. I've got to move on from that."

Not with 10-Foot Pole: Kirk Ferentz was asked to comment on the recent assistant coaching firings at Houston and Wisconsin. He wanted no part of that question.

"I don't know," Ferentz said. "I am not in those situations. I don't know what is going on in Houston or in Wisconsin. I am just worried about our team right now. Our progress."

Movie Man: Well, Ferentz might be a recluse of the football offices as he sometimes claims, but we did find out on Tuesday that he watches motion pictures that don't include guys running around in helmets and shoulder pads.

Ferentz was asked if he ever talked with UNI Coach Mark Farley after signing away a player originally committed to the Panthers. Brandon Myers, Mike Elgin and Allen Reisner flipped to the Hawkeyes in the past. Two of them - Myers and Reisner - made NFL teams this fall.

"I don't talk to anyone during recruiting, pre or post," Ferentz said. "It's like when Rocky and the Hulk met (in Rocky III). It was just business. The Hulk said it was just show business. You just do what you do."

Quick-Hitters: Senior Colin Sleeper will be eligible to play in Saturday's game, according to Ferentz. The safety missed the first two games for a violation of team rules…The coach said that the team was "in good shape" injury wise…Vandenberg, James Ferentz, Micah Hyde and James Morris will serve as team captains as they have for the first two games…Ferentz said a couple of the true freshmen receivers still are being considered as options this season. Iowa so far has played four first-year players - Connor Kornbrath, Greg Garmon, Sean Draper and Kevin Buford.


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories