Howe's Notebook Nuggets

The days of typewriters and notetaking have all but vanished from modern journalism, replaced by laptops and recorders. However, Senior Writer Rob Howe still enjoys jotting notes down during pressers. Each week, Howe will revisit portions of the events he penned to paper and unveil them in a premium story. This week, Howe looks at playing in a dome, depth at OL, and much more.

Continuing Impact: Ferentz tends to live each day as it comes. He doesn't dwell real long on the past, and takes careful, calculated steps into the future.

That's why you can tell he was really impressed with the renovations to Kinnick Stadium. The Iowa coach opened his Tuesday press conference reviewing his comments made last Saturday, saying how nice he thought the $88 million projected turned out and re-offering his fondness for the Nile Kinnick statue.

Hot Dome: In anticipation about how humid and warm it might be in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, Ferentz seemed significantly concerned with his team's hydration. He expected his training and conditioning staff to build up the hydration for the players so they're prepared for the climate.

The Carrier Dome, which was named after a company that makes air conditioners, does not have air. The Carrier Company has moved out of the city, and must have taken their units with them.

Iowa has dealt with hydration problems before in the sometimes humid Hawkeye State early in the season. Drew Tate "tapped out" as Ferentz likes to say in his first start back in 2004. The Iowa quarterback suffered leg cramping.

Good Sign: One of the favorite terms in the Ferentz lexicon since coming back to Iowa in 1999 is "tempo." He's also pretty fond of "cohesive."

Both of those words came up during Tuesday's presser. The coach said his team's tempo improved as the game went on. He also said the Hawks exhibited better cohesiveness once they settled in.

That should be viewed as positive signs for a team that starts two new starters on its offensive line. Center Rafael Eubanks (red shirt freshman) and left tackle Dace Richardson (true sophomore) played an overall solid game against Montana in the 41-7, -season-opening win.

Red Flag: Iowa likely spent a lot of time working on special teams this week. Ferentz explained that some players were ending up in the same spots in the kicking game instead of carrying out their assignments.

Iowa prides itself on special team's play, so keep an eye on that this weekend. If Syracuse makes a big play, it could be associated with growing pains.

At Home: Well, maybe the Hawkeyes don't feel quite that comfy in the Carrier Dome, but they seem pretty confident in their ability to play under a roof.

Ferentz said that playing in the Dome "was not a huge deal." Iowa plays in Minnesota's Metrodome every other year, and have won the last two games there.

Iowa hasn't dealt with distracting crowd noise in Minneapolis in large part because the place is filled with its fair share of Hawkeye fans. Some teams preparing to play in a dome have pumped in crowd noise at practice to simulate the environment. Ferentz said he wasn't planning on using that tactic.

Iowa should be pretty well represented in support at the Carrier Dome. A group of fans is flying out with me Thursday morning.

In addition, Syracuse is trying to lure fans into the dome by offering to give each one a ticket to see its nationally-ranked basketball team this season.

Admission: Well, it's not really anything new. Ferentz talks about seeing news items in print all of the time.

Tuesday, he said that he reads the papers quite often to see what's being said about his team. He has attempted to address news that could be distracting to his team.

"I like to see what's the audience is seeing," he said.

Ferentz said that most coaches who say they don't read media reports likely are lying. The coach revealed that he is not fluid on the Internet, but he has people watching that outlet.

Worthy Backup: Ferentz praised reserve offensive lineman Seth Olsen as being ready to start, saying he wouldn't blink if the Nebraska native was called into action. Olsen competed strongly for a starting position this summer before losing out late.

Had Olsen won a spot, he would have been inserted at guard. If something were to happen to Eubanks, Ferentz said Olsen would take the right guard spot of Mike Elgin, who would then slide over to center.

Sleeping Beauty: While talking about the differences between coaching in the pros and college, Ferentz started joking about players falling asleep in meetings. One of his NFL guys nodded off during the first meeting of camp and continued doing it despite being a free agent trying to make the team.

Ferentz said that he never looked forward to seeing players cut, but would have liked to have done it himself on this occasion. He also admitted that some of his college players fall asleep during meetings.

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