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Sunday Conversation with Kirk Ferentz
UI head football coach looks back at Northwestern, ahead to Indiana
True freshman Tevaun Smith had his first pass reception Saturday against Northwestern.
True freshman Tevaun Smith had his first pass reception Saturday against Northwestern.
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Oct. 28, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More youth sprinkled into the University of Iowa football lineup Saturday at Northwestern, a move head coach Kirk Ferentz says will help now, as well as down the road.

On offense, wide receivers Jacob Hillyer and Tevaun Smith hauled in the first passes of their careers; on defense, end Drew Ott pulled off the red shirt and saw his first action of the season.

Iowa at Indiana football graphic

"Drew Ott did a good job in August, and with each week he has been practicing well, and we have seen him improve and do a lot of good things," Ferentz said Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. "We made the decision with five games left to try to rotate some guys on the defensive line; we felt he could bolster our attack there a little bit, and it would be worth his investment in terms of playing time, giving up his redshirt year to help our team right now. It will also help his career long-term."

Ferentz credited his team for fighting a full 60 minutes during a 28-17 loss to Northwestern, an effort highlighted by the play of senior cornerback Micah Hyde and sophomore running back Damon Bullock. Bullock made his first appearance since suffering a concussion Sept. 15 against Northern Iowa.

Ferentz also stressed that when the Hawkeyes executed, good things were the result.

"When we execute, we do a lot of good things and there are some pictures of that -- some really good pictures -- in that game," Ferentz said. "The converse of that is we made it too easy for (Northwestern) at certain times on the punt block and a couple other instances."

Iowa returns to the road Saturday, Nov. 3, to play an Indiana Hoosier team that averages 34.2 points a game and snapped a five-game losing skid against Illinois, 31-17, on Saturday.

"We knew nine weeks ago that none of these games were going to be easy in the Big Ten," Ferentz said. "This one is the same way. Indiana has been playing well all season. In short time, they have made quite a turnaround. We're going down to a place now where we're playing a tough team coming off a good win, and it's going to be another great challenge for us."

To watch the entire Sunday interview with Ferentz, click HERE.

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