UNI Panthers

Mark Farley: Iowa "bigger handful" than in years past

Northern Iowa football coach has nothing but glowing praise for Iowa

Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley during the Panthers' 27-16 loss at Iowa in 2012 at Kinnick Stadium. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley during the Panthers' 27-16 loss at Iowa in 2012 at Kinnick Stadium. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR FALLS — Mark Farley coached a Northern Iowa football team against Iowa in 2009. The Hawkeyes went 11-2 that season, won an Orange Bowl.

Farley says the 2018 Hawkeyes are as good and maybe better as any Iowa team he has prepared a UNI club to face, and Saturday will mark the fifth time he’s brought a team to Kinnick Stadium.

Here are some of the comments Farley made Monday at his weekly press conference at the McLeod Center:

“Man, when you watch Iowa, particularly this last weekend, they were much better (in a 13-3 win over Iowa State) than last weekend (a 33-7 victory over Northern Illinois), I thought.”

“Their defensive line is very good. They’ve always been very sound. Then as I watched their offense, their running backs are very good. They’re back to the their Iowa stable of running backs that are very strong, deliberate runners. ... Their run game, they’ve got the running backs to make plays, let’s put it that way. They’re making people miss and they wear on the teams that they play.”

“Then their D-line is always very consistent. They do a nice job against the run. Both of the games they’ve played, they’ve really taken the run game away from their opponents. That running back at Iowa State (David Montgomery) is really good and they kept him to 40 yards (44), something like that.”

“I don’t think they surprise anybody with what they do because they keep doing it the same way every day. It’s a very sound, very determined football team that stays to their plan. It doesn’t matter who they play, they play hard-nosed football and they wear on you. They continually will hit you at the line of scrimmage. That’s why you see a lot of these games in the fourth quarter, the other teams have let it get away from them. That’s because Iowa sticks to their plan. They know what they want to do and they stick to the plan. You’ve got to give them credit for it, man.”

Asked what it will take for UNI to compete and/or win Saturday night, Farley said this:

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“We just have to play our game like they have to play their game. We’re not going to fool them. They’re smart coaches, they’re smart players. It’s going to come down to lining up and battling at the line of scrimmage, it always does. You’re going to have to keep plays in front of you. They’re good enough to get behind you in a lot of their plays and good enough to cause a lot of distractions and create their intercepts, too.”

“You throw in all those things and go into Iowa and the playing them at night with all the things they’ve got going on right now — now they’re very confident, they’re very strong, a good-looking football team right now. About as good as I’ve seen in the years I’ve played Iowa, about as good of team balance, depth. Where Iowa needs to be great at, they’re great at. They’re probably a bigger handful this year than in many years past.”

“You look at what they do, they just do what they do and they do it very well. When they can line up and Michigan’s seeing the same thing (as it has seen from Iowa in years past), Ohio State’s seeing the same thing — those are some pretty good coaches and pretty good teams that have seen the same stuff over all the years ... and (the Hawkeyes) do a great job running the ball on those football teams.”

“No matter who they play, Northern Iowa or the Michigan States, they’re still good against those people. That’s why I know they’ll be a tremendous task on our part.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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