IU Pregame: Six Questions with HI Staff

With the Iowa-Indiana game a day away, Hawkeye Insider staffers Rob Howe and Brian Finley answer some burning questions related to the contest.

1. How do you think the running back carries will be split up this week (include Rogers if you believe he will play)?

Brian Finey - Wegher 20, O'Meara 9, Rogers 6.  I think Rogers will get some time in the third quarter after O'Meara fails to do much during his time in the second.

Rob Howe - I'll start off by saying I don't think Rogers will play. I think Iowa will work Fullback Brett Morse into the running game this week and also could see some short routes used to compensate for the loss of Adam Robinson. I'll say Wegher gets between 20-25, O'Meara checks in with 5-10 and Morse gets five.

2. Indiana has beaten Iowa in five of their last nine meetings, including two of the last three. How concerned are you that this could be an upset special?

BF- Not very.  Like I've said all year, this team doesn't get too high or too low, and that starts with Stanzi.  If this team was a roller-coaster, I'd be more worried, but nothing has happened thus far this year to suggest that's the case.  Could Indiana get out to a fast start? Yes.  But it's not going to be a meltdown a-la 2005 in Bloomington that would cost the game.  It would take 60 minutes of ineptitude, something I just don't see happening.

RH - I'm mildly concerned. Iowa has not run away from anyone this season except for Iowa State. When UNI and Arkansas State play you close at Kinnick, you better be ready for the Hooisers' best shot. It might not take late-game heroics by Iowa this week, but I also don't see the Hawkeyes running away and hiding.

3. Which Hoosier play maker must Iowa do a better job in stopping, Jammie Kirlew or Tandon Doss?

BF- Jammie Kirlew.  You can use a whole host of players to stop Tandon Doss on the outside, but the vast majority of the time, Kirlew is going to be one-on-one.  If the Hawks are going to have success in what looks to be a windy Kinnick Stadium, they'll need steady play on the offensive line to get a running game going.

RH - Kirlew. This guy has been menacing Iowa since he joined the program in Bloomington. Even last year, when Iowa won handily, Kirlew played well. I am hoping that Spievey ends up on Doss. This kid is as good as any receiver Iowa will face in the regular season. It‘s not that I don‘t have faith in Prater, I just feel like Spievey‘s size matches up better with Doss.

4. Does the fact that the ground game hadn't been particularly dominant thus far soften the blow of losing Adam Robinson, knowing that the pressure has been on other phases of the game already this season?

BF- Yes and no.  Obviously the defense and passing attack has been able to win games thus far, usually with the running game finding its groove late in the second half.  Hopefully, Wegher, Paki, et al can still provide enough physicality early on so that holds true through the rest of the season.

RH - I was really impressed with Robinson last week. His effort against a stingy Michigan State defense was encouraging. It's too bad we will not get to see him take the next step. But like Kirk Ferentz, I have faith in Wegher. He's not played in seven games, and although he's a true freshman, he's experienced and he's held onto the football. O'Meara suffered through a tough outing in the opener, but I think he can carry it 5-10 times and be productive. This is his ninth week of practice and I have to think he's taken a step forward. If he hasn't, I'm excited to get a look at Rogers.

5. Ray Fisher has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this year.  Are you concerned about Iowa's kick coverage?

BF- Yes, particularly with the windy conditions.  Low, line-drive kicks could give Indiana's kick team time to set up against the Hawks, and that could be scary.  I'm sure this will be an area of emphasis this week, because when there are adverse conditions, special teams become much, much more important.

RH - Fisher is a concern, no doubt. He's a playmaker. But I have to think that Iowa has prepped pretty well for him this week. Whether it's adjusting coverage or kicking away from him, I feel the Hawkeyes will be prepared.

6. Who is your pick to click?

BF - I haven't hit on a pick to click in a very, very long time.  I'll go with Broderick BinnsBen Chappell doesn't take sacks (he's been sacked only 9 times all year, tied for tops in the league) so I see Binns getting his hands on at least 1 or 2 tipped balls, as well as working hard to keep contain when the Hoosiers bring in Evans and their wildcat-esque package.

RH - Proving that I'm not one to give up easily, I'll throw something at the wall again this week, thus putting the hex on whomever I choose. Look out, Brandon Wegher. I know people are wondering if this kid has hit the wall because his yards per carry have gone down of late. Having watched those games, I don't think he's all to blame. The line has not blocked as well for him as it has for Robinson. I also think Wegher is the kind of back that needs to get in a rhythm. Being "the guy" will allow him to do that.

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