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Northern Iowa has a bit of a quarterback thingie going on.
Sawyer Kollmorgen is the No. 1. He didn’t learn this, however, until he was asked by a reporter on Monday when he was told he’s the starter. “I didn’t know that until you just told me right now,” Kollmorgen said.
So, there is a thingie. Mostly, starter know they’re starters before Monday of game week. Kollmorgen is the thrower, and Brion Carnes is the dual-threat. Kollmorgen passed for 1,824 yards, 14 TDs and five picks last season. Carnes, who transferred to UNI from Nebraska, served a change-of-pace role and saw action in all 12 games, including two starts after Kollmorgen missed a few games with an injury. Carnes rushed for 226 yards and threw for 438.
UNI coach Mark Farley named Kollmorgen the starter. When asked if Carnes could see the field in another role, Farley sort of gave it all away. He paused, smiled and said, “We’ll play everybody everywhere.”
So, expect to see Carnes in a playmaking role of some sort Saturday. Paired with running back David Johnson, who, despite his 6-3, 229 pounds, can move and has great feel for the passing game, UNI’s passing attack suddenly looks kind of interesting. The Panthers also will have 6-3 wide receiver Brett LeMaster returning from a knee injury that cost him the 2013 season.
Iowa’s coverage will counter with a new guy at one of the corner spots, a new guy at free safety and three new linebackers, senior Quinton Alston and whomever the other two are.
So, that’s interesting.
Today’s schedule ... Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz will be on the Big Ten teleconference at 11:45. You can read what he says here.
Then, Ferentz has his news conference at 12:45. If I can get tweets out of the concrete bunker that is the players auditorium in the complex, I will hashtag them #oniowa and you will be able to find them on our new Hawkeye site, which also will have #OnIowa in the title. I’m sensing a theme here.
After that, Ferentz transcript and video and player videos will be posted here probably around 3 p.m.
We kick things off with Big Ten notes from the league office. (Note: There are no Big Ten stats yet. No games, you know. That changes Thursday.)
One quick note on Iowa player interviews, CB Greg Mabin (the new guy at corner), OLB Bo Bower (the potential new guy at OLB) and G Sean Welsh (the definite new guy at left guard) will not be available for interviews. It probably just means the staff wants them thinking about what they need to do in the game rather than how they might sound in the media.
• The Big Ten is set to kick off its 119th season of competition when teams begin play Aug. 28-30.
• The 2014 season will mark the beginning of a new era in Big Ten football, with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers and new divisions.
• This season, the Big Ten will feature the largest and most diverse postseason lineup in conference history ...
• The 2014 Big Ten campaign will feature 21 All-Conference players from last season ...
• This weekend will feature four games at neutral sites ...
• Michigan State enters the season as one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision teams riding a winning streak of 10 or more games ...
• Nine different Big Ten teams received votes in the Associated Press (AP) or Amway Coaches’ preseason top 25 polls ...
• The Big Ten will feature the top two returning rushers in the nation this season in Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah (1,690 yards) and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (1,609 yards) ...
Ferentz on the Big Ten teleconference ... Remember, only eight minutes with coaches on the teleconference this year. Thanks, Maryland and Rutgers! (Kidding.)
Opener — We need to play right now. We’ve had a good camp. Time to get out on the field and see where we’re at.
Perception that bowl can carry into offseason — I think it’s more about the season overall than the year prior. More like what we’re trying to be. Played very talented LSU. Came up short. Some positives, but big thing is we’re not the same team now. This team is trying to shape an identity. Starts Saturday.
What does Jake Rudock need to do to become a dominant QB — Way he’s built helps. He’s critical of his performance and is improvement driven. He’s got the mindset you expect. Capable leader who’s proven.
Faith in selection committee and its rankings — Not an expert. The concept is good. Congratulate the powers that be who put the panel together. It’s probably like NCAA basketball. No one ever is 100 percent happy with how things turnout. Preseason doesn’t mean anything. November is the critical month. Three of the top five were unranked going into the season last year. That’s why we play seasons.
Bower and Myers scholarships, what have they done to progress? — It is a pleasure. Leap of faith for them, coming in as walk-ons. Wanted to assure them that we’d treat them fairly. They’ve worked extremely hard. Opportunities opened up. Credit to both. Hope they have great futures. (OLB Bo Bower and OL Boone Myers were put on scholarship last weekend. Check a tweet from above from a very proud father.)
Cooper out — Faith Ekakitie, Jaleel Johnson and Nathan Bazata have developed and are making progress. Louis (Trinca-Pasat) and Carl (Davis) will be gone. They need to continue. Losing (DT Darian) Cooper was a blow. That’s a tough thing. He’s worked hard.
Bazata development — He’s a tough, hard-nosed guy. He’s not tall, but we’ve won with guys who aren’t tall. Hard-nosed who takes a lot of pride in what he does. He doesn’t say an awful lot, but works hard.
Playoff question — My views aren’t global. I know that the more you win, the better things are. The better you run the race the better the chance you have of being one of the four teams selected.
OK, back at around 2 with today’s talking points and whatnot.
BTW, Cooper had knee surgery this week and is out for the season.
Quick updates . . . These are from Ferentz’s news conference:
— True freshman Tyler Wiegers is No. 3. KF wants to redshirt him, but playing to win. If he needs to play, they’ll play him.
— Four scholarships awarded in camp: Bo Bower, Boone Myers and fullbacks Adam Cox and Macon Plewa.
— Still considering CJB playing time.
— WR personnel has climbed since bottoming out in ‘12.
— All four RBs in play. Thought about redshirting sophomore LeShun Daniels, but too good in camp.
— Linebacker Ben Niemann, safety Miles Taylor and Aaron Mends won’t redshirt. Mends getting look at fullback, came in as a linebacker.
— Mends at FB because after Macon Plewa, they’re out of fullbacks.
— All LBs will play. Still not sure. Great experiment begins, KF said. WR Damond Powell is ahead of sked. Is in contact drills.
— Kicker and punter. Dillon Kidd and Marshall Koehn win jobs, the former is the punter.
— 5,500 tickets available for the game.
— KF starts press conference expressing condolences on passing of sportswriter Susan Denk of The Hawk Eye.
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