Football Notebook: QBs, Injuries and More

Iowa held its weekly press conference Tuesday at the Hayden Fry Football Complex as it prepares for this weekend's game at Maryland. The quarterback rotation, injuries and recruiting in the DMV were among the topics discussed.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A week ago, Iowa players and coaches were inundated with questions about the quarterbacks. Tuesday, the topic barely was touched on.

The 180-degree change was not lost on head coach Kirk Ferentz.

"Just kind of a quiet day today," Ferentz joked after the first quarterback inquiry came up.  "We're even talking about Maryland.  The team we're playing. Yeah."

The Hawkeyes travel to Maryland Saturday (11 a.m. CT, ESPN2).

The lack of interest shown by the media, a direct result of the calmed storm in the fan base, reflected greatly on Jake Rudock's performance in Saturday's 45-29 win against Indiana. The junior completed 19 of 27 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He won for the 12th time in 18 career starts.

Back-up C.J. Beathard played just one series in the first half against IU. He received the call for two second-half possessions and led the team on its lone scoring drive after the intermission.

"I thought (Rudock) played really well," Ferentz said. "We expect Jake to play well, and we expect C.J. to play well.  I thought he played well while he was in there.

"So that's one position where I feel pretty good about knowing what we're going to get.  I felt good about fullback coming into this season too.  So much for that equation.  So you just never know.  Things are always changing."

As he's done all along, Ferentz kept Iowa's quarterback plan to himself.

"I don't know," Ferentz said when asked if this week's plan will be similar to Indiana. "We'll probably play C.J. in there somewhere, but we just feel pretty good about things at that position."

The quarterback controversy that swirled around outside of the program didn't impact the team based on its performance against the Hoosiers.

"Sometimes you guys like to make a bigger deal out of it than what it is," receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said with a smile. "It didn't really bother us at all. We get reps with both quarterbacks during the week."

Rudock said the quarterback set up is working at Iowa because the principles are friends with the same goal.

"We both want this team to succeed. That's as simple as it has to be," he said.

INJURY REPORT: Fullback Macon Plewa (undisclosed) will miss the Maryland game. He played against Indiana after sitting out the team's previous three contests.

"The bye week coming up here will probably help us out that way," Ferentz said.

Starting right guard Jordan Walsh exited the Indiana game on the first series after hurting his ankle. His status for Saturday remained up in the air.

"I don't think it was a crippling injury, so I think he's got a chance.  We'll see what he looks like today and see how it goes during the week," Ferentz said.

Receiver Derrick Willies missed the last contest with an undisclosed injury.

"He's got a chance (to play this week).  We expect him out there today.  How hard they can go and how long they can go is the next question to find out the guys that are hurt right now," Ferentz said.

The coach said that Walsh, Willies and Boone Myers, who also missed the IU game, were among a group of players whose ultimate status for Saturday has yet to be determined.

"Got a handful of guys that are nicked up.  We're mid-season right now, so we'll learn more here as we go along, but I think everybody else has a chance to make it Saturday.  We'll just have to see how the week plays out and go from there," he said.

NEXT MAN IN: When starting left tackle Brandon Scherff was hurt earlier this year, Ike Boettger replaced him. Senior center Tommy Gaul joined the line Saturday when Walsh went down, pushing Austin Blythe from there to Walsh's right guard spot.

Ferentz was asked if Myers would have played right guard had he been healthy.

"We talked Thursday and pretty much have an idea where we're at.  I think our thought was Tommy would be the first guy in in the interior.  Austin could have slid left, right, and that's just the way he's been practicing, we felt like he was the best option," the coach said.

LOWDERMILK STILL LAMENTING: Iowa senior Johnny Lowdermilk said Saturday that he should have been benched against Indiana. The strong safety blamed himself a lot for Hoosier running back Tevin Coleman rushing for 219 yards on 15 carries, which included three long touchdown runs through the secondary.

Lowdermilk didn't feel any better about his performance after watching the film.

"It was pretty bad. I just didn't play very well. I just have to learn from it and play better this week," he said.

Ferentz said he liked his senior's accountability but felt he might have taken more than his fair share of the blame.

"He could have played better. He's been playing really well, but we came up a little short the other day.  Part of that is on angles, and it might have been some miscalculation.  That guy was running faster than maybe we gave him credit for on a couple of those," the coach said.

MINIMIZING MISTAKES: The Hawkeyes are tied for second nationally in fewest penalties (22). They're ranked third in penalty yards per game (29.8). Their opponents are averaging about 72.

"It's not like we make it a huge emphasis point," Ferentz said. "I think I've said this before.  Sometimes you're better off being in that two, three, four slot instead of the number one slot because it might mean you're too timid with the way you're playing.  But you don't want to be in the bottom half.  I know that."

"The thing we try to coach against are the mindless penalties.  Hitting guys that are out of bounds.  Hitting guys that are on the ground, false starts, substitution issues, things like that.  That's the stuff we try to.  Defensive offsides is a terrible one.  We hit that one Saturday.  Just those kinds of things.  That's what we try to emphasize."

ROAD WARRIORS: Iowa has won both of its road games this season. The Hawkeyes have captured four in a row and six of their last seven contests in opposing stadiums.

"We just have a good attitude and that's something the coaches enforce,' defensive tackle Carl Davis said. "Me, personally, I like being the villain. I like going in there and get a win why all the fans are booing you and talking about you."

RECRUITING GROUND: The Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area where this Saturday's game is being played is a fertile recruiting ground. Iowa is one of the many schools that tries to haul in prospects from there.

Starting free safety Jordan Lomax hails from Maryland. Injured defensive tackle Darian Cooper is his former teammate at DeMatha Catholic. Marcus Coker, Nico Law, Miles Taylor and Omar Truitt are other DMV products turned Hawkeyes.

Ferentz said playing in that part of the country could benefit Iowa.

"I hope it does," he said. "I think it's us, expanding eastward is probably maybe hopefully it will make it easier for prospects out in that region to be enthused about playing in the Big Ten.  We're always looking at places.  Does it make sense for us to try here and try there, and that felt like a place where we have some connections out there, and that's good football out there.

"There are good players everywhere, not just in the south.  But there are good players everywhere, it's just a matter of where you're going to have a chance to have some production.  I think realistic production based on your program and your staff."

Ferentz said he will consider bringing Cooper out on the traveling squad despite him being out for the season after surgery.

"Yeah, we haven't talked about that.  Probably a discussion item for Thursday," he said. " It's just you feel bad for him not playing because he's such a good guy and such a positive guy."

QUICK HITTERS: Former Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he was retiring from the NFL after four plus seasons. He's battled injuries the last few campaigns and was cut by the Atlanta Falcons in August…The Hawkeyes are 9 of 12 on fourth downs this season and scored points after each of the conversions…Iowa will enter a bye week, its second this month, after the Maryland game. The program announced that there will be no media availability next week…This is the first ever meeting between Iowa and the Terrapins.


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