Ferentz Credits Senior Leadership for Hawkeye Success
Nov. 10, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has said throughout the season that his team has worked hard since the end of the 2012 campaign. With a 6-4 record and becoming bowl eligible for a 12th time in 13 seasons, the Hawkeyes will be able to relax during their second "off week" before closing the season with a home contest against Michigan (Nov. 23, TBA) and a road game at Nebraska (Nov. 29, 11 a.m., ABC).
"It's significant, and not anything we take for granted," said Ferentz, when discussing Iowa's sixth win of the season in an exclusive Sunday interview with hawkeyesports.com. "Last year was a long winter break. This team has had a great attitude; I can't say enough about all the seniors, and I think you have to start with our linebackers, James (Morris), Chris (Kirksey) and Anthony (Hitchens). But on defense you have to include B.J. Lowery and Tanner Miller in the secondary, and Dominic Alvis was doing a nice job before being injured.
"On offense, Brett Van Sloten is our most experienced guy, but Conor Boffeli has done a great job as a first-year starter, Don Shumpert the last two weeks has had big plays in the passing game; Jordan Cotton on special teams, along with Casey Kreiter and Mike Meyer. All the veterans are doing a nice job of providing the leadership for our football team. That is where it all starts -- how to act, how to work hard, how to practice - that has been a key to our football team."
The Hawkeye offense received a boost from sophomore running back Jordan Canzeri in Saturday's 38-14 win at Purdue, rushing for a career-best 165 yards. On defense, Hitchens and Kirksey combined to cause and recover a Purdue fumble in the third quarter. Iowa controlled the action following that turnover and won its third road game of the season.
"It's a good thing anytime guys are making contributions," said Ferentz. "Jordan has been practicing well since last spring, but with Mark (Weisman) and Damon (Bullcok) playing well; it's been tough to get other guys in the game. Jordan gave us a spark last week (versus Wisconsin) and we felt he could do the same this week. He did a wonderful job; he saw the holes and did something with it."
Following the win at Purdue, the Hawkeyes are idle this weekend before their final two regular-season games.
"It's good for morale, it's always nice to go into a change in the schedule on a positive note," said Ferentz. "To come out with a Big Ten road win is significant. "I feel good about the way the guys finished the game, and fortunately, we came out pretty healthy. I think the rest will do everybody good. It gives us a chance to work a little more with the young guys, and get a big jump on our next opponent."
Iowa's final home contest against Michigan will include a pregame ceremony honoring all senior members of the Hawkeye football program. Tickets remain for that contest and can be purchased at hawkeyesports.com, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or in person at the athletics ticket office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.