Former Iowa All-American quarterback Chuck Hartlieb was like the rest of the Hawkeye Nation this weekend: he was glued to his television watching college football.
He took in every snap of Wisconsin's win against Ohio State and provides some of his insight into what Iowa might be facing when they invade Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
Hartlieb engineered one of the biggest wins in Iowa history in 1987 in Iowa's thrilling last second win at the Horseshoe.
Having played and excelled in those big games makes his perspective truly ‘one of a kind'.
Chuck's thoughts on the Wisconsin-OSU game
CH: "First of all, I thought it was a classic coaching job by Alvarez and his staff. I felt that they played to their strengths and really did a number on OSU from a game plan standpoint."
"I think Ohio State gave a good effort, but that some of their limitations came out Saturday night and Wisconsin knew what they were and took advantage of them. It was obvious that Ohio State was not as impenetrable on defense as one might have believed."
"Wisconsin ran the ball with decent success and I don't think that Wisconsin had shown that strong an offense up to this point. I think in future games, Wisconsin will not be as tough a team as they showed Saturday night, yet they were successful on offense."
"I think that coach Alvarez's theme will be the same theme as Coach Ferentz: time of possession, ball control, field position and no turnovers. I was surprised that Wisconsin won the game with losing the turnover battle, but fluky things happen sometimes."
"That Ohio State offense…it's a miracle that they won 19 straight with the offense they have. Wisconsin played well against them, but that offense is nothing magical and I think Iowa will be OK against them."
HN.com: Does it amaze you how ‘average' Ohio State's offense is without Clarrett, even though they have former high school All Americans on the depth chart at running back and given the fact that they returned their entire starting line from their national championship season?
CH: "It is amazing. It's like a house of cards that has held up for a long time. I think that this is a team that could go the other direction, a team that Iowa could knock off and they could lose another game or two after that."
"I just don't see it with Ohio State, except for their wide receivers. I really like their wide receivers, but outside of that, there is nothing that amazes me with the makeup of that offense."
HN.com: Do you see Jenkins and Carter on the level as Michigan's outstanding trio of Avant, Breaston and Edwards?
CH: I put them in the same boat. They are playmakers. Krenzel and Navarre are in the same boat. Michigan and Ohio State have had similar pass offenses over the years. I think that Tressel might have made Ohio State's passing offense more simplistic than in previous years, which is similar to what Michigan does. That bodes well for Iowa."
HN.com: I noticed that Ohio State was committing a lot of players to stop the Wisconsin running attack. They were bringing backers and safeties quite a bit with stunts, yet Wisconsin had success running the ball. If OSU brings that heat against Iowa, given the Hawkeyes' penchant for play action and waggles, could that hurt Iowa with a quarterback in Chandler that does not move as well laterally in the pocket?
CH: "I think you are right in that regard. I would liken Ohio State's defensive package to Purdue. I don't think they will be as simple as some of the other defenses that Iowa has faced where they just drop a safety down and put eight in the box. I think they are overloading sides at certain times, I think they are coming up with some good zone blitz packages. I think that Iowa will have their hands full from a scheme standpoint with what Ohio State does on defense."
"One thing that was interesting to me in watching the OSU-Wisconsin game, was how poorly Ohio State did on outside contain. Most of their pressure came up the middle and when Stanley (Badger running back) broke out, even though the play may have been called inside, he was breaking things outside and there was not much containment and he was getting five yards a clip."
"That could bode well for a play action game. If they have that same undisciplined approach to containing the ends, I think that Chandler could get out on the corner or that Fred Russell could break things to the outside, but I would bet that Ohio State would work on that this week knowing how important it is for their backside people to stay home."
"I think it is a challenge, but having two weeks to prepare and get healthy, from an Iowa standpoint, they have seen everything they need to on film and will be prepared for what they need to do."
HN.com: You were on the bottom of a lot of piles. Had you seen or experienced anything like the choking incident that took place in Madison on Saturday?
CH: "It happens three or four times a season. There is a meathead from time to time that does something like that. I don't think it happened every game when I played and I don't think it does today. But sometimes there are those that have wrong intentions and things like that happen. Usually it was between offensive linemen, be it a punch in the gut or a punch in the throat. The backs and quarterbacks always take cheap shots in piles, but I have never seen anything like that (the choke). I was glad to see that it was caught on film so that the kid got called out a bit. He will get his due."
HN.com: If you were an Offensive or Defensive Coordinator preparing for Iowa, knowing that Iowa likes to play to its strengths with seemingly little adjustment, would you make any changes?
CH: "I think that (Iowa DC) coach Norm Parker will stick with what he has been doing. The unusual part to Iowa's defensive package is their lack of a need to go to a nickel in a three wide receiver set. I think that Ohio State is going to try to exploit that like Michigan State did. One of the interesting things about this game is that Iowa will go into this wanting to make Ohio State convert on 12 to 15 play drives and not give up the big play. That is the right approach."
"If I am the offensive coordinator for Ohio State, I am thinking to myself that I have the receivers and that Iowa is going to play 10 or 15 yards off of them on the outside with soft corners, Ohio State needs to throw the flats at least eight to 12 times in the game. Do it in the same series multiple times. I would envision Iowa giving Carter and Jenkins plenty of room to run their 12-yard outs and their eight-yard stops. Backs in the backfield getting the flats, etc."
"Ohio State will really take advantage of that and methodically move the ball downfield. What Iowa needs to do is let them have that for the most part, mix in man coverage or a blitz package on third and medium and hopefully get the ball back without them getting into field goal range."
"This is a fun game for me, because it will be classic cat and mouse as far as Iowa's defense playing soft corners and just not wanting to give up the big play against such a talented group of receivers and then how much patience can OSU show and take what they are given and move the ball down the field with an outside passing attack."
HN.com: Chuck, you are a member of an exclusive club: Iowa quarterbacks that have won at Ohio State (joking). You and I have talked in the past at how Michigan is not that intimidating of an environment. Most of the players on Iowa's roster have won at Michigan and at and Penn State, two of the largest stadiums in all the land. Ohio Stadium is also huge. Where does that environment rank?
CH: "I never got a chance to play at Penn State, but my brothers did. Each one of us has said that Ohio Stadium was the toughest place that we ever played in. The two-tiered stadium, they are a little more on top of you. There is just something about the aura of that stadium and Ohio State history that has an impact on you. I think it will be a challenge from a noise standpoint. I think that Ohio State's fans have been gearing up for this game this year, given that the two teams never met last year and shared the Big Ten Championship."
"I don't think there is anything unusual, but the players have to focus and play the best 60 minutes that they can."
HN.com: That has to have an impact on Iowa's young receivers?
CH: "They are going to be wide-eyed. That was one of the areas where Iowa struggled against Michigan State. It was your classic Big Ten road opener and it caught some of the young guys by surprise. Hopefully now that they have a couple of games under their belts, they are more ready to play in this game and I think they will be. Teams tend to band together on the road. I think it will be a great game and I think that coach Ferentz is sitting with his coaching staff this week and saying that ‘We are a great second half team, let's play to that strength and make it a heavyweight title fight and win it in the third and fourth quarters and not let it get away from us early'."
HN.com: Chuck, any final comments that you would like to add?
CH: "I think Iowa will have some success running the ball. I hope that Coach O'Keefe (Iowa's offensive coordinator) comes up with an exotic play or two. This is a great game to bring in a twist and I would expect that. Kaeding is on his game."
"If I am Ohio State, I am going to take my shots downfield. I think that there is some vulnerability with Sean Considine and Bob Sanders. I think they are vulnerable to getting beat over the top. They have to be careful on run support because OSU will take their shots with a deep post or two. That is the only way I see Iowa losing this game, is if they give up a deep pass or two and Ohio State gets a cheap 10 or 14 points, then Iowa is in trouble."
"But if they can keep away from that, I think that Iowa will win the game by seven to 10 points. I really think that this is a great match up for Iowa."