The Quickest Slant: Shiitake!!!

Because you can't catch nuance in the transcript, here's the video

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Yes, the Hawkeyes lost 34-24 in Columbus. No, no one inside the Iowa program is particularly enjoying their second-place medal from Saturday.

But the Hawkeyes sure did make an impression on No. 4 Ohio State. Iowa came up more than a few times during OSU's media briefings on Monday.

Defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, an NFL veteran linebacker, kind of hated his group's effort against Iowa in the first half, when the Hawkeyes rushed for 101 yards and didn't have to punt. Iowa held a 17-10 halftime lead.

“Right. Call it what it was. Beat the (shiitake mushrooms) out of us,” Vrabel said. “I agree.”

Iowa's three scoring drives in the first half were 37 plays, 216 yards and 15:56 off the clock. Iowa unleashed a three-tight end formation that caused OSU problems.

Again, blunt answers from the OSU D-line.

“There’s not really any way around it, especially after watching film,” defensive tackle Michael Bennett said. “They beat the crap out of us.”

And more from Vrabel: "I think they had four [runs] that were uncontested, were around the edge, we had no edge. One was to the boundary. Two were to the field. Easy yardage. Then there was some yardage that was pushed and washed, contacted 2 yards and they pushed the line, throw the line over to pile, block the linebackers, just soft. And we don't do a good job of playing physical with our hands, getting off blocks, shedding off blocks, walking away from blocks. When you do this against a good offensive line, they're going to continue to push you and move the pile."

The three-TE thingie for Iowa threw Ohio State for a loop. And it should've. Iowa hadn't used three tight ends beyond some short-yardage goal line against Iowa State in week 3. Really, this is the most Iowa has engaged this formation in the passing game ever in Kirk Ferentz's 15 seasons. (I'm sure we'll get to the "will there be more" at some point today, so stay tuned for that.)

It worked for quick points before the Buckeyes could adjust. What was that adjustment in the second half? Ohio State was better on offense and the Hawkeyes lost all rhythm on offense. That TOP for Iowa in the second half has to have been among the lowest of the Ferentz era (sorry, I don't know without going back through a million box scores, and my excuse is that stuff is up in Cedar Rapids. You could ask why I don't have that digitized and I would say, great point, why don't I have that digitized? Working on it).

I think the adjustments need to be made quicker when they give us something we have not seen," Meyer said. "The first three drives were alarming. I don't think our defensive line played very well. I think what happened was you have some good emotion in that stadium and you go 13-play drive, and you let the air out of the stadium and the emotion."

Imagine what they'd be saying about Iowa if the Hawkeyes could've sustained that first half.


Northwestern was the most representative loss of last season. Everything fell apart, really. Finishing games (you know the numbers). Fair to call NW a finesse team when it's done damage to Iowa's offense the last few years? Iowa's O keeping a lead in the second half. Something defense.

Signs of improvement. How Iowa is health-wise (saw Dominic Alvis walk into the building, that's my update. He's out this week). Three TE sets. On Venric Mark and Kain Colter (Mark is out; Colter is called day-to-day, but is practicing). NW and its two-QB system. I think I went back at three TE sets. (I'll provide my own thoughts there for today's post.) Some stuff on Jake Duzey. More Duzey. Some LeShun Daniels (Weisman is completely healthy, FYI). On Jake Rudock taking Iowa out of bad plays and putting it in good. And then on No. 4 DE without Alvis this week (sophomore Riley McMinn might be in that mix).

The leverage lost in the running game against NW last season. NU is very good at takeaways. McMinn and RB Michael Malloy updates (not really much of an update on Malloy except that he remains in a holding pattern, whatever that means). Something on TEs. Something on Mike Meyer and needing five points to be No. 2 in Iowa scoring. I asked about the D bouncing back after one meaningful stop last week. Something about veteran players. I asked a little bit about Nate Meier, a true sophomore who's gone from eight-man football to one or two games of special teams last year to backup DE at both spots this weekend.

More on Meier. Big plays in the secondary (pretty good breakdown here, bad reads and false steps -- hey, that sounds like a country song). The ejection. Ferentz thought it was a good call. I asked about the review part of it. Northwestern once was everyone's homecoming opponent. NW and Michigan State have modeled themselves after Iowa, so that's pretty cool for Kirk, I'm sure (kidding).

Kirk Ferentz on the Big Ten teleconference:

Intro -- Tough game last week. Thought guys played hard. Disappointing. Back to work. Anxious to get on field get ready for Northwestern.

Q on two bye weeks -- The first bye came at a good time. Had some injury problems, so it worked out. Lot of firsts. I think it's like any bye week, make the most of it and have a plan that's flexible. Treat the second one differently. Alter the other, give the guys a little more time away. Try to do what's best for guys.

Personally, what do you do? -- Depends. Cleaned stuff up. Grand daughter's birthday party.

Q on Greg Davis credit he deserve -- Nature of being a coordinator. Interesting phenomena. Last decade coordinators have really become lightning rods. Bottom line, better than last year, but hardly out of the woods. More experienced, balanced. Thing that impressed me about Greg, great teacher, tremendous person. Thought he was an excellent coach a year ago. Showing up now. Installing a new system, it takes time.

Statement Q on first three drives at OSU --Staff had a great plan, guys executed it. Still room for improvement.

Series with Northwestern -- All Big Ten games are really important. You understand the meaning of every conference game. I've been involved in 20, conference football is conference football. Important game for both teams.

Duzey outrun DBs -- Not necessarily. He did a great job finishing that play. Field position wasn't great. Anytime you can finish a play, we haven't had an enormous amount of those.

Chunk play, how nice? -- Challenge on D, don't want to give them up. On O, something we'll continue to work on.

Rudock at OSU -- Another step for him, all are critical. Largest crowd, we ask our QBs a lot, getting us in the right plays. Plays well, right demeanor. Pushes through mistakes. Pleased with the way he's coming along.

On Carlos Hyde -- Sister could pick up he's a pretty good player. He's a tough runner, tough minded.

On Desmond King -- Been a good story, one we didn't see coming. Lomax injury opened the door. Desmond has done a good job from day 1. Doesn't play perfect, no one does. Like Rudock, doesn't get overwhelmed. Kind of like Antwan Allen, threw in as a redshirt frosh. He's responded well. Very proud of him.

Off to the weekly news conference. I'll have video and transcript here around 3.

Please, check back for updates.

B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY - Jan. 2, 1967 - Purdue 14, USC 13: Thanks to two touchdowns from fullback Perry Williams, Purdue carried a 14-7 lead into the fourth quarter against USC. The Trojans scored with 2:28 remaining in the game and elected to go for the two-point conversion. The attempt was intercepted by George Catavolos, securing the Boilermaker win in their first postseason game.

BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Penn State’s John Urschel: Urschel, who claimed the Big Ten Medal of Honor last May, was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2012, starting all 12 games at right tackle and helping the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense during the conference season. A candidate for the 2013 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award, he earned his bachelor’s degree in less than three years on campus. He earned his first master’s degree last May and is currently working on his second master’s. This semester, he is teaching Integral Vector Calculus and researching multigrid methods and computational mathematics.

Breaking Down the Legends Division:  Three teams carry winning records within the Legends Division, including two with perfect marks in conference play . . .

A Look at the Leaders Division Race:  Two programs carry three conference wins and are atop the Leaders Division standings . . .

Continuing the Streak:  Ohio State extended the nation’s longest active winning streak to 19 games last Saturday, the second-longest stretch in program history and equaling the 19 straight triumphs during the 2005-06 and 2002-03 seasons. The 19 victories rank as the eighth-longest stretch in Big Ten annals . . . The Buckeyes are now 7-0 on the season and one of just 10 teams around the country still boasting a perfect record and one of six who have won their first seven games.

Record-Setting Day in Ann Arbor:  Last Saturday’s Indiana-Michigan contest, a 63-47 Wolverine win, featured some of the best offensive performances in Big Ten history. Receiver Jeremy Gallon recorded the most productive day in conference annals, totaling 369 receiving yards to shatter the previous conference record of 301 yards set by Purdue’s Chris Daniels in 1999. Gallon’s yardage is the second-highest total in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history, averaging 26.4 yards per catch in the win. Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner set a program record with 503 passing yards, while his 584 yards of total offense is one yard shy of the Big Ten record. Gardner’s and Gallon’s efforts are single-game highs in the FBS this season. The 110 combined points mark the third-highest single-game total in Big Ten history, while the game’s 17 scoring drives averaged just 2:06.

Bowl Eligibility:  Michigan and Michigan State reached the six-win mark to join Ohio State as bowl-eligible teams, while three others could reach the standard with another victory . . .

That’s a First: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer made history in guiding the Buckeyes to victory last Saturday. Meyer won 20 straight games for the third time in his career, becoming the only coach in college football history to achieve the feat . . .

Mr. Automatic:  Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien set a new Big Ten record last weekend after converting both extra point attempts against Minnesota. The senior has now connected on each of his extra points in his career, converting 127 consecutive attempts to break the previous conference record of 126 set by Michigan’s J.D. Carlson from 1989-91 . . .

Here's a quick plug for a promo Bravo Sports Marketing is doing with Iowa tickets and ANF T-shirts:


IOWA CITY,  Iowa – is announcing special sale pricing on a Ticket/ANF T-Shirt Combo for this weekend’s Iowa vs. Northwestern game.  This game is the annual ANF Day at Kinnick Stadium.  This week only fans can order a reserved seat game ticket and ANF tee for just $70.

Tickets can be purchased online at .  They can also be purchased by calling 319-626-8286.  The game tickets are located in the North Bleachers section – the first five rows of the north endzone.

Ticket packages also remain available for Iowa’s home games against Wisconsin and Michigan.  Visit the website for details.


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