Oct. 17, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ohio State is not a team that sneaks up on many people, so don't expect UI defensive coordinator Phil Parker to be surprised when he steps off a plane Friday and finds himself standing in Columbus, Ohio.
The Buckeyes are winners of 18 straight games. They average more than 46 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense each week. Naturally they have Parker's attention.
"Obviously they have a great leader in quarterback Braxton Miller," Parker said Thursday following football practice inside Kinnick Stadium. "They have a lot of skill guys and up front they're well-coached on the offensive line. They're very talented. They have a good scheme and they play within their scheme. They're a very explosive team."
Explosive often and early. Ohio State has outscored its opponents 126-28 in the first quarter this season. Iowa's defense hasn't allowed a first quarter score since the season opener - a span of five games. If the Hawkeyes are going to make it six, they'll need to slow Miller, a dual threat that enters the contest with more career rushing yards than any Ohio State quarterback in school history.
"I don't know if you can totally stop him," said Parker. "I think you have to try to contain him as much as you can, don't give up the big plays on the back end, and make sure you have good pursuit angels and leverage with everybody. It's going to take all 11 guys to make a tackle."
Parker is encouraged that this Iowa defense is the one capable performing the "all-in" task. He also echoed head coach Kirk Ferentz's comments that the defensive line is as improved from a year ago as any unit on the team - evidenced by the fact that the Hawkeyes are the only team in the country not to have allowed a rushing touchdown this year.
"No questioned we're a lot more experienced," said Parker. "Obviously Louis (Trinca-Pasat is more experienced), and Carl Davis is doing a good job with Alvis on the outside. Drew Ott is a sophomore, he's not a freshman anymore, and he's doing a great job.
"One thing about our team is we have great team unity. They're very close. They're committed to understanding the game of football and I think they really give a great effort in preparation."
Game time Saturday is 2:36 p.m. (CT) inside Ohio Stadium. The game will be televised by ABC, with a reverse mirror on ESPN2.