Hawkeyes to Honor Vets, Play Veteran Purdue
Nov. 6, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- During the summer, University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz looked at his Big Ten Conference counterparts and considered Purdue one of the most dangerous teams.
He thinks the same in week 11 of the season.
"Purdue has a good team, a team that could emerge," Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex.
So on a day when the UI is honoring military veterans, the Hawkeyes play host to one of the most veteran teams in the league.
"It is probably the most veteran team there is in the Big Ten right now," Ferentz said. "They've had some disappointment as well, but they played an excellent game in Columbus against Ohio State."
The Boilermakers (3-6 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) lost a 29-22 overtime decision at Ohio State on Oct. 20. Since then, they have lost at Minnesota (44-28) and at home against Penn State (34-9).
Iowa is 4-5, 2-3. A week ago at Indiana, the Hawkeyes struggled against Hoosier defensive linemen Adam Repogle and Larry Black. The challenge this Saturday is to slow Purdue's defensive tackles Kawann Short (315 pounds) and Bruce Gaston (303 pounds).
"We match up against a team right now that has two excellent inside guys," Ferentz said. "Both those guys have played very well for a long time. Purdue probably has one of the bigger fronts you're going to play against, including their outside linebacker. They have five big bodies up front."
Joining Short and Gaston are ends Ryan Russell (275) and Ryan Isaac (294) and linebacker Robert Maci (249).
In team personnel news, senior cornerback Micah Hyde has returned to being a captain for the first time in five weeks.
"It's an honor to be a captain of this team," Hyde said.
"It's kind of a no-brainer; Micah is a tremendous young guy, a tremendous football player," Ferentz said.
While the Boilermakers are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, Iowa is looking to snap a three-game skid. The Hawkeyes gained 209 total yards against Penn State, 336 against Northwestern, and 345 against Indiana.
"We've got to get in better sync; we have to execute better in critical situations," Ferentz said. "It's a team thing. We win as a team and lose as a team."
Ferentz was asked again about a decision to punt on fourth-and-1 from Iowa's 28 with less than five minutes to play at Indiana. He said the plan was to utilize the two offensive team captains by sneaking quarterback James Vandenberg behind a block from center James Ferentz. That attempt was botched when time was called to review the previous spot -- a seven-yard pass reception from Vandenberg to Keenan Davis.
"Based on what we saw (after the review), it would have probably been a dead play," Ferentz said of the sneak. "Like every decision you try to make is what you think is best for your team at that given moment. Based on the clock, timeouts, all those types of things, I think you can figure that out; connect the dots."
Ferentz referenced a fourth-and-1 decision he made at Michigan State, handing the ball to Weisman, who gained five yards to the Spartan 15 late in the third quarter.
"You could argue I made an irrational decision at Michigan State because we had gotten stuffed on some short yardage stuff," Ferentz said. "We went for it, converted, and ended up scoring. Every situation is different."
Saturday is the annual Blackout game, and fans are encouraged to be in their seats early to observe a pregame military salute, honoring veterans and current members of all branches of the military. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised by BTN with Josh Lewin, Chris Martin and J Leman calling the action.