Iowa Football

Iowa football Tuesday Takeoff: Iowa could use the secondary dudes back this week

In other words, it's really hard to see Michigan winning this game on the ground

Iowa Hawkeyes players swarm the field before their game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes players swarm the field before their game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — As you guys know, injury talk in the Hawkeyes camp is strictly forbidden. Everyone saves it for head coach Kirk Ferentz to reveal.

That’s fine. Chain of command is important, extremely important in football and something this program values.

That doesn’t stop you from asking or looking for clues.

Cornerback Michael Ojemudia sounded hopeful and maybe smiled a little.

It’d be good for the Hawkeyes to get cornerback Matt Hankins and safety Kaevon Merriweather back for the No. 19 Wolverines. Yes, maybe the Hawkeyes could finally get to some 4-2-5 star personnel. Maybe they need that this week.

Why haven’t more Big Ten teams gone into the Purdue method for beating Iowa? Protect the best you can. Get the ball out in 2.5 seconds. And pick on the weak link in the secondary.

Iowa State did that. The Cyclones went at newbies in the secondary D.J. Johnson and Jack Koerner. They got two big-play TDs. It was almost enough.

If Michigan is going to hurt Iowa, it’s probably going to be through the air. The Wolverines average 3.4 yards per carry and are 10th in the league in rushing. Vs. Power 5 programs (Wisconsin and Rutgers), the numbers drop to 3.0 yards per and 90.5 yards per game.

I don’t see how this suddenly turns. Maybe Michigan tries attacking Iowa down the middle of the defense with misdirection and inside zone, but it’s probably not going to be sustainable. The next and totally fair question would be has Iowa faced any team that knows what it’s doing in the running game?

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Iowa State is solid at 4.7 a carry, but that’s only ninth in the Big 12. The fact is Iowa hasn’t faced a rushing team with any oomph.

The Wolverines have a corps of wide receivers who could give Iowa fits. Still, a few Hawkeyes were asked Tuesday what their opinions were on Michigan’s offensive identity. I like Djimon Colbert’s answer, which basically was that’s not what he’s looking for on film and so next question.

Now, it’s OK for me to say that. And from the looks of it, all of the bandwidth that went into preaching how Josh Gattis, the Wolverines’ new OC, was going to bring the RPO hocus pocus to Ann Arbor seems to be a waste of bandwidth. One of the big headlines out of Michigan this week was Gattis’ comfort level being on the field as opposed to calling plays from the booth.

They had to find that out? The hard way? After two games? It’s a small detail and I don’t want to indict based on that, but that seems like something that should’ve been answered during the interview.

— Nate Stanley’s goatee is gone. This is the last we’ll speak of it. I don’t want any more Desmond King cowboy hat Twitter accounts haunting my dreams. Trying to keep this all serious and such.

Iowa has a lot of players from Michigan. Always has. That’s news this week because ... Iowa ... is ... playing ... Michigan. We’re not a very creative animal, us sportswriters.

But seriously, it was cool listening to DT Cedrick Lattimore talk about all of the connections he already had with Michigan/Detroit Hawkeyes before they were even in Iowa City.

— Tune in for more this week. Iowa and going on the road. The health of the secondary. What time of possession does for a team.

Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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