Instant Reaction: Iowa at Northwestern

My reaction to Iowa's win over Northwestern.

THE GOOD

  • There was a lot of it. I'll just first point to the resiliency of this team. They overcome everything thrown at them and keep proving us all wrong. All the injuries they came in with and then losing Jordan Canzeri and they didn't blink an eye. 

  • This team has a championship pedigree. They're tough. They're hard nosed. They fight tooth and nail for everything they earn. All these pretty flashy offenses are in football now like TCU, Oregon, and Baylor, but who are the teams holding up the trophy? They're still the teams that beat you up physically, play some defense, and are battle tested. Iowa is that. I'm not saying they go and win the national title this year but they are built the way championship teams are built, minus some of the pure talent. 

  • C.J. Beathard epitomizes the above. There's a lot of players that don't play through what he did. He gutted it out when his team needed it the most. Not only is he a good leader, but he's one tough, gutty player. His team follows him. And that took another step yesterday because they saw everything their quarterback was giving and that is not lost on this team.

  • There must be a ton of talent at running back. LeShun Daniels ran for over 100 yards in the opener, Jordan Canzeri ran for four touchdowns against earlier in the season and then for 256 yards against Illinois, and then Akrum Wadley runs for 204 yards and four touchdowns against Northwestern. Not only that, Derrick Mitchell picks up 79 yards of his own.

  • Adding on to that, Akrum Wadley looks deadly in the backfield. He's got some elusiveness, wiggle, and athletic ability that none of the other running backs have. There's a role for him on this team if he can continue to hang onto the ball. He may be the most gifted of the bunch. 

  • This offensive line also epitomizes the resiliency of this Hawkeye squad. They lose their two starting tackles from a year ago and then lose their two starters for this season. It's unbelievable how they've patched this group together. It was a fantastic coaching move to have Sean Welsh move to right tackle and keep James Daniels inside. It wasn't going to be perfect but it was much better than having the true freshman pass protect on the edge. Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh are monsters. 

  • Tevaun Smith played a week earlier than anticipated and looked good and healthy. That is a great sign moving forward. He's a game breaker. They'll need a big play or two from him as the season goes on. 

  • Defensively, there's a few guys that are just playing out of their minds in Jaleel Johnson and Desmond King. Another one may be emerging in Josey Jewell at inside linebacker. He's been incredible in Big Ten play. Pair Jewell with Niemann and the future of this linebacker core is very bright. Those two are fantastic. 

  • Another great coaching move personnel wise that I saw was having Bo Bower in the game on the raider package they throw out there in obvious passing situations. Bower was not a linebacker but a defensive end with his hand on the ground and he flat-out was impactful coming off the edge. They needed to come up with something wtih Drew Ott out and I like the creativity they're displaying by inserting someone like Bower there. He was a nuisance for the offensive tackle. 

  • In general, this coaching staff deserves a lot of credit. Having their team prepared week in and week out and making the proper substitutions and personnel moves is no easy task with all the injuries they've been dealt with, but they've been near perfect in doing so. 

  • I also want to share my tremendous thoughts on the job Kirk Ferentz is doing. Everything he's done since January and every button he's pushed since January has been beneficial to the 7-0 start. That ranges from the personnel moves, dealing with the injuries, fostering an environment to develop the leadership that exists on this Iowa team, the coaching shuffle among his assistants, to even practicing in the mornings. A lot of the administrational decisions have created an overwhelming positive vibe around the program. 

THE BAD

  • There wasn't a whole lot of bad. It was the second week in a row that Greg Mabin kind of got picked on. It's more Desmond King being avoided than Mabin being picked on because he's a pretty darn good player in his own right. However, this is something that is going to continue to happen because of the reputation building for King. If Mabin falls asleep for just a second it could be a big play, just as it was against Northwestern. This is not a huge concern, because he is good, but the microscope will be on him.

  • Does Marshall Koehn have the yips? Something is awry. After being practically perfect throughout most of his career he's now missed an extra point in three contests and has missed a few field goals in addition. Again, this is a great player, so the concern isn't great, but the magnifying glass on him will grow more and more. 

  • Iowa did not seem to miss a beat without Drew Ott. The pass rush is much less consistent without him on the field, though. They're going to need a pass rush and they may have to manufacture it from elsewhere to create pressure on the quarterback. If they do, what will they have to give up? That's one item I'm definitely going to have an eye on moving forward.

  • Health. Actually, it's better. It does still have to be a concern. I think LeShun Daniels, Boone Myers, and Ike Boettger may all be back against Maryland. Tevaun Smith is already back. Jordan Canzeri is now dinged and it is not known how much time he will miss. It doesn't appear to be season-ending but his services will probably not be available against Maryland. Jake Duzey hasn't seemed to take any steps forward since playing against North Texas. It was a pretty serious injury and it seems as if any contribution from him this year will just be a bonus.

  • Miles Taylor has quietly missed some critical tackles this year. This trend needs to stop or there's going to be a big play broken sooner rather than later.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories