Sept. 12, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- After dropping its first game of the season last weekend, the University of Iowa football team has been working hard at practice this week focusing on improvement and preparing for UNI.
Iowa's offense has struggled to find the end zone the first two contests. Senior James Ferentz pointed out that, collectively, the offense needs to work together to be effective.
"It comes down to getting all 11 guys coming together," said Ferentz. "Offensive football takes 11 guys and if you don't have everyone on the same page you're not going to have success.
"It's frustrating, because as a competitor we want to score every time we have the ball. Obviously, that first possession you really want to get in the end zone and set the tempo for the game."
Iowa rushed for 139 yards in the season opening win, but QB James Vandenberg was sacked six times. Last week, the Hawkeyes rushed for 68 yards, but did not yield a sack. The Hawkeye center said there's been improvement, but the linemen need to do a better job executing.
"We're close," said the 6-foot-2, 284-pound senior. "We did see improvement last week, but at the same time, we didn't improve enough. We have a long way to go to get where we need to be. It's going to come down to breaking the rock. We need to keep taking swings at it and eventually it will break. It's not going to be one swing that does it, but multiple takes."
Iowa's next opponent is the UNI Panthers. After 2009's close call and UNI's narrow loss at Wisconsin two weeks ago, the Panthers have the Hawkeyes' full attention.
"When you watch them on tape, they are a very talented, tough, and physical football team that is fundamentally sound," said Ferentz. "We've had a couple good practices, and we need to have another one tomorrow if we are going to have a chance to come out on top. We're expecting another tough, 60-minute battle and we need to be ready to go."
Ferentz said the team has had solid practices Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for the Panthers.
"It's been a physical two days but that's what you have to do to prepare for a team like UNI."