Sept. 12, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa football defensive coordinator Phil Parker, now in his 15th year on the Hawkeye coaching staff, has been involved in rivalry games long enough to know, you have to expect the unexpected.
Parker is in his second year as coordinator of the Iowa defense, and is again working with the Hawkeye secondary. In addition to the Cy-Hawk series rivalry, Parker became very familiar with the rivalry in the state of Michigan as a player, and later as a coach, at Michigan State.
"The best thing you can do as an athlete, the thing the great athletes are able to do, is to keep your focus," said Parker. "You have to block out the noise and realize that all that matters is what happens on the field, between the white lines. You have to be able to go on to the next play and stay focused on the task at hand."
In the two most recent meetings between Iowa and Iowa State, the scoreboard has looked a lot different at the end of the game. The teams combined for 85 points in a triple overtime contest two years ago in Ames, while just one touchdown was scored in the contest last season that ended with just 15 points on the scoreboard.
"You have to be prepared for anything," said Parker. "We have a heck of a challenge on our hands with their offense. You just have to be prepared for a great game, in a great environment. You hope no one gets injured and go out there and play a good, tough, game."
Iowa's defense is allowing 22 points and 317.5 yards total offense through two games, but seven of the 44 points came on an interception return. A week ago the Hawkeyes held Missouri State to just 197 yards total offense. Parker knows the Iowa defense will be challenged Saturday.
"I think things went well for us this week," said Parker, as the Hawkeyes wrapped up their preparation on Thursday evening. "It will be a big challenge, playing on the road against a good team."
The Hawkeyes and Cyclones meet at 5:05 p.m. Saturday in Ames as part of the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. Fox Sports 1 will televise the contest.