IS THERE ENOUGH INFORMATION FOR A GOOD SCOUTING REPORT ON PITT WITH THEIR BACKUP RUNNING BACK?
I think so. He's obviously not James Conner. Conner is more of a bruiser and obviously more proven. His experience back there is unparalleled and one of the best in the nation, and a future NFL player. With Qadree Ollison, the schemes are a lot of the same. They have a big, experienced offensive line that paves big holes. The difference would be is that Ollison is less physical and has more wiggle and elusiveness.
WE WERE ABLE TO CONTROL THEM IN THE RUN GAME LAST YEAR, AS I RECALL. IS THEIR OFFENSIVE LINE IMPROVED OVER LAST SEASON?
I would say their offensive line is improved, and they should be. Most return from a year ago, and they have more experience, and plenty of time for development. They're very big and that will be a test for the Iowa defensive line.
HAVE THEIR OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE SCHEMES CHANGED A GREAT DEAL FROM LAST SEASON, OR IS NARDUZZI SCHEMING TO FIT HIS PLAYERS' ABILITIES, RIGHT NOW?
Narduzzi's specialty is defense, and I think he is making his mark on that side of the ball first and foremost. He likes a more aggressive style, and I think you'll see that Saturday night. He likes to challenge wide receivers on the outside in press man coverage, and send different blitz packages. Offensively, they are a lot of the same. They're still running very similarly to what Paul Chryst did while head coach.
WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THEIR DEFENSE?
Their defense is going to be a strenght for the team, in the future. Right now it's not in my opinion. They gave up 37 points to Youngstown State. Narduzzi is trying to infuse his schemes and his concepts and he doesn't particulary have the personnel to do so. They have some talent in the secondary and size up front, but I think Iowa should have their way on this side of the ball as a whole. I don't see them being particulary contained in any one facet, the running or passing game. I think they can put up some points in this contest.
WHERE DID JOSHUA JACKSON COME FROM ON DEFENSE?
I agree. He's been one of the more pleasant surprises so far, and was a strong contributor in the game against Iowa State. He even stepped up and handled Allen Lazard pretty well. Sean Draper hasn't been particulary healthy and that has allowed Jackson to have an opportunity to leave his mark, and he has. Expect him to remain out there, as this secondary continues to get stronger.
WHEN ASKED, COACH FERENTZ SEEMED PESSIMISTIC ABOUT DARIAN COOPER GAINING A MEDICAL REDSHIRT. HOW COME? HE'S BEEN OUT ALL YEAR.
With only having covered this team for a month, it is really difficult for me to say what the circumstances are behind this. Easy responses would be that they possibly see him making a contribution at some point this season, that he would like to move on and start his career after this year, or that something from his first year or two on campus is preventing that from being an option. It is really tough to know what it is at this time. It doesn't seem like he's anywhere near ready to see the field, though.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF SEAN DRAPER? HE SEEMS MISSING LATELY.
He hasn't been particularly healthy, as noted by Kirk Ferentz during his press conference on Tuesday. He's getting closer, and could be ready for this Saturday. However, as already explained, Joshua Jackson has been good so it'll be interesting to see where he figures in at this point.
ALSO ANY REASONS WHY JAY SCHEEL DID NOT MAKE THE TRIP TO AMES?
I'm not sure what the situation is here, but something is awry. He's also been dinged up some as well, dating back to fall camp. I think more clarity will be shed on this in the future but as of right now we are not privy to any information of that sort. They are also very high on Jerminic Smith and Adrian Falconer so he's being passed up in that regard.