Ball State was not a good football team, that was obvious. But Iowa came out and played with a great degree of intensity, the same type of preparation we see from them when they play conference rivals. I guess they did all that they could do and wanted to do?
CHUCK HARTLIEB: I agree. I think so much of the game is mental, as we have talked about before. And to see that type of intensity makes you feel good that the Hawks are ready for another big year. I love the character that the coaches have put into this team, and it came out on Saturday. Easily could have had a situation where you looked past them and you were saying ‘ho hum' after all the suspensions, but they did a great job of being as sharp as they could be and really getting after it.
From a starter's perspective, do you think they needed more work than they got on Saturday, or does the fact that many of them are veterans sort of make up for that?
CHUCK HARTLIEB: I think the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages. One, we talk a lot about momentum and the momentum it creates for the whole team is extremely positive. I think there are enough veterans in the starters that it's not necessary for them to go three or four quarters and this will only be of help later in the year when you didn't have to play a full game from a physical standpoint.
I think to that the starters love the fact that the two's and three's who work just as hard as them get a chance to play out there. IT puts a smile on everyone's face and gets everyone feeling good about themselves and about being a Hawkeye. There are so many good things that come out of it.
Now, would you have liked the offensive line and defensive line to play four quarters before ISU? Maybe, but I think the coaching staff knows exactly what they need to do to be ready on Saturday.
With everyone getting a chance on Saturday, does that make everyone on the team more focused to prepare for Iowa State?
CHUCK HARTLIEB: It might engage them more as a part of the process for the whole year. I think everyone dreads double sessions and August, and when you can have some payoff for a Jason Manson or a Sam Brownlee, kids that that needed an opportunity to play on Saturday and they get that chance, it just reinvigorates everyone. I think it set the tone well for the whole season.
You watched some of the Iowa State game; talk about what you saw…
CHUCK HARTLIEB: It goes back to schemes and formations and preparation, etc. I don't know how much Iowa State actually prepared their entire game plan for Illinois State. To me, it looked rather simplistic, and I think they do more on both sides of the ball than they did against Illinois State. But on the other hand, they probably felt like that they could line up and move the ball easily against them and that did not occur.
I am really curious to see how the passing game of Meyer, Blythe and company has evolved since last year. I thought Barney Cotton and that staff had to keep it to a simple level of reads and understanding early in the season and I saw them progress a little bit, but a lot of times, they ran two and three receiver patterns. We have all made jokes before about the jump balls to Blythe being the cornerstone of their passing game. Again, it seemed to be the tone or the personality against Illinois State. Do they come out this weekend and put in a better package against Iowa, or do they continue to just try to keep it pretty simple on Bret Meyer and see if he can win with the less complicated passing schemes?
ISU did not run the ball like you would think they should have against a weaker opponent. That and looking at the intensity for the coming game, do you think Iowa should have some success stopping the run as well as running the ball?
CHUCK HARTLIEB: That is the million dollar question. I don't know if it matters that its Iowa State or Northern Iowa or Bowling Greene; if there is one thing that I hope to see on Saturday is that we gain at least 100 yards of rushing if not significantly more. If we do that, we should win the game. That is where a lot of the determination of how we are looking going forward comes from, is the strength of our run offense and also the run defense. I am particularly intrigued by getting that running game going, because I think we have the ability to put a lot of points on the board if we can get a balanced attack this year. I think that is the big question. Iowa State easily could be a completely different team on Saturday and make it extremely tough for Iowa on both sides of the ball, but you think that Iowa should have some successes doing that going into this one.
Do you expect this to be your typical Iowa-Iowa State haymaker, hard fought game?
CHUCK HARTLIEB: Another comment to make is that we have talked the last couple of years on defense…Coach Skaldany, the DC at Iowa State, I have been impressed with him over the years and he is outstanding, and I know that Iowa has a lot of respect for him. One of the things that he has done the last couple of years is really dared the Iowa offense to go after them in the air. They have dripped the safety down the last two years when Tate goes under center. They put eight in the box and they are leaving their guys out on an island.
I think they were able to get away with that last year because Tate's legs were basically cement in the second half and they had to keep it pretty vanilla for the sake of Tate's condition. But the question for me is one, does Skaldany take that same approach again and try to mix it up in the back end and bring more pressure, and two, do we try to force the running game in that situation and still try to run the ball, which in the Robert Gallery days we had success with, but now will it be something where Tate is under center and adjusts the play and goes over the top or makes something happen through the air.
I am looking at the run offense and run defense, but two, how our pass offense reacts to Iowa State's schemes. Hopefully we have a strong advantage on special teams and can continue off the momentum and have another strong Saturday. I expect that would be what would happen.