Monday Morning Quarterback with Chuck Hartlieb

In this week's installment of Monday Morning Quarterback with Chuck Hartlieb, the former Iowa quarerback talks about what Iowa can do going forward to make the best of this season. Hartlieb believes that Iowa can still do some good things, and he will tell you why...

Q: Well Chuck, the loss at Ohio State was not unexpected, but how Iowa was dominated on both sides of the ball was shocking. How did you see things?

Chuck Hartlieb: My hope and my feeling is that we are at the exact same spot as last year at 2-2. We didn't feel as bad after the B10 opener last year, but it was it was not optimistic. I kind of feel that the difference this year is that we played a team that can run the field in the Big 10 and is one of the top three or four teams in the country. I think we still have it all in front of us and can certainly turn this thing around quickly, it's just up to the kids and how bad they want it.

Q: Clinton Solomon is averaging just 2.5 catches per game, and it's my opinion that he should be getting two touches a quarter. What can Iowa do to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers more?

Hartlieb: That is a difficult thing for being a TV viewer and looking at things analytically, without being in the meeting room, is exactly what their approach is. I have to think that staff and the players know where their bread and butter lies and I thin they also know they have to take what the defense gives them. It's what we said at the start of the season, is that we need patience and teams will take away the big guns and make your run it. Now, we had some problems running, so they might go to the drawing board a bit on offense. They are trying to get the ball to those guys downfield, but if they are not getting open and are getting double teamed, you can't go there. I like, and it was the first time in two or three years, is they are starting to sneak the backs out of the backfield. We did that under Fry for years. If you can do three to five yards and every once in a while break a longer one, those are things that Coach Fry and Snyder did for years. Big Ten defenses like to play a lot of zone, and the linebackers take deep drops. Go back to our 1988 game against Indiana, I think Nick Bell did it 13 times in one game. I love that. If you do that, the underneath coverage has to come up, then you can go over the top and do the 20 yard dig route. But you have to bring them up first with the drop down passes.

Q: Norm Parker can't stop time and the young defensive linemen need that to mature physically. That is no one's fault, but what are some things you think Iowa can do to help stop the running game?..

Hartlieb: I agree. I don't know what is going on in the meeting rooms. Perhaps they were thinking about OSU's speed going into the game and the tried to stop the big play and worried about the pass. Maybe what they do now, without the threats that Ohio State has save maybe the Michigan game, is bring people from different spots and mix up the defense a little bit more. The Roth/Babineaux advantage isn't there, and they have to get different looks for the quarterbacks. Put Greenway and Hodge in positions where they can make plays. What they are trying to do makes sense, but it's not working out. Hodge is not getting a lot of chances to make plays. He was in coverage a lot. Somehow you have to get your best players in the best position possible to make big plays.

Q: What is your response to Drew Tate's emotional outburst?

Hartlieb: Last week you talked to me about finding their identity, and where is the theme for this team. I really think this is a team with the exact same amount of character as they had last year and they want it as badly. It's just not clicking right away. You had to replace the front line on defense, as well as Lee Gray. Right now, they are struggling to replace those guys and they are having a harder time with that than expected. I am sure when you talk with Drew, he will say he regrets doing that. I think he knows and Dick Olin would tell him and the Iowa coaches, that in the toughest of times is when leadership comes to the forefront. Anyone can be a leader at 9-2. What he realizes now after reflecting on it, is that his direction and approach rubs off on everyone else. That was the heat of the battle, and he wishes he could have it back, but it's not the end of the world and he has to be a leader and realize that he has to inspire and give confidence to those around him, and I am sure we will see that this week.

Q: What can the fans look to going forward?

Hartlieb: Special teams are playing exceptional. We are doing it all there. What that says to me is that the kids are committed, they have talent, they are disciplined. There is no change in the make up of this team. They have just had some losses to graduation and injury. This is still in front of them. I think the schedules sets up well. It's good that Wisconsin and Minnesota are not next. You have Illinois, Purdue and Indiana. Illinois is a chance to rally the troops and at Purdue is a critical game, but they are not at the level of Ohio Sate and then you have Indiana. It would feel great to go into the Michigan game 5-2, and that is a possibility. Everything is there. They are 2-2 and they can go 5-2 and see what happens against Michigan. It lays out nicely and they have to put it behind them and get the momentum going again.

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