Wilson preaches contain this week
Oct. 15, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Iowa football fans don't mind reflecting on the 2010 Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech; the Hawkeye defense flashed back to that game preparation last week as well.
No. 14 Iowa flew into Detroit around noon (CT) Friday and traveled to Michigan Stadium for a brief walk-about. The Hawkeyes then went through a light practice at nearby Romulus High School.
"It's a little bit different preparation (for Michigan)," UI linebackers coach Darrell Wilson said. "It's similar to our Georgia Tech Orange Bowl preparation where our main concern was to stop the run, contain their quarterback and their running back. This is a similar situation with (Wolverine quarterback) Denard Robinson and their style of play. If we have an opportunity to contain him and make him one-dimensional, it gives us a great opportunity."
It is Homecoming for No. 24 Michigan (5-1 overall, 1-1 Big Ten). The Wolverines rank third in the nation in total offense (533.7 yards per game), sixth in rushing offense (297.3) and 14th in scoring offense (37.3 points per game). Robinson is second in the country in rushing yards per game (165.2) and total offense (369 yards per game).
Wilson knows the defense is faced with a dual-threat in Robinson, but if given a choice, the Hawkeyes would like to make the Michigan quarterback one-dimensional by first slowing the run.
"I'm not slighting his arm, but he's so dynamic," Wilson said. "He's extremely talented, fast, quick; he's the total package. If we can contain him in the run game it will give us a good opportunity."
The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0) have been idle since a 24-3 victory against No. 20 Penn State on Oct. 2. The bye week came at an ideal time for Wilson's linebackers, who were nicked a bit against the Nittany Lions. Senior Troy Johnson is healed and listed No. 1 at middle, giving talented freshman James Morris an opportunity to continue his ease into Big Ten action.
"It gave those that were banged up a chance to heal and we gave them a lot of time off," Wilson said. "It was more mental reps for them than physical reps. Now they're all set and we're pretty much back and full strength and ready to go."
The Hawkeye defense will be far from overmatched against Michigan's potent offense. Iowa ranks first in the country in scoring defense (10.2 points per game), second in rushing defense (63.2 yards per game) and fourth in total defense (242.2).
In its only other road game of the season, Iowa rallied late at No. 18 Arizona before falling, 34-27. Now the Hawkeyes have an opportunity to silence approximately 113,000 Wolverine fans inside the largest college football stadium in the country.
"I'm sure our players are excited about it, hyped up and ready to go," Wilson said. "It's just another Big Ten football game, so let's get it done."
Kickoff is set for 2:36 p.m. (CT). Iowa sealed a 30-28 victory last season when free safety Brett Greenwood intercepted a Robinson pass with 46 seconds remaining.