Kirk Ferentz has proven himself to be a coach who would rather win a football game by the final score of 9-7 than the final score of 38-35. He'd rather keep it close and let his defense and special teams make plays, while letting his offense do just enough to win the game. Essentially, play the percentages, ride the defense, and let the other team make the crucial mistake.
This philosophy has served him well. Two big ten championships, 1 BCS bowl win, and many, many, other victories. There are arguments to be made otherwise, but in totality, it has certainly worked.
That said, my biggest fear is that particular forumula is not going to work for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2011.
Aaron Kampman, Matt Roth, Jon Babineaux, Mitch King, Adrian Clayborn, etc are not walking out the tunnel for this team. I'm not sure this DL can be disruptive enough to let Iowa's defense play how Iowa's defense likes to play. Sound, risk-averse, opportunistic football. Undersized lineman, who lose containment, don't get a ton of sacks, and allow quite a few rushing yards, are not a formula for success under Ferentz.
In fact, I fear that Iowa's defense is not going to hold teams under 20 points many times this year. I'm sure improvement will be seen from week to week, but I'm not convinced the DL is going to mature quickly enough to allow Ferentz to follow his usual blueprint for success.
The way I see it, Iowa's offense is by far the best unit on this football team. The offense is certainly stronger than the defense and I suspect it will be stronger all year. Outside of FG kicking, special teams have looked average so far, so I'd give offense the nod in that match-up as well.
The question is whether or not Kirk Ferentz agrees and will adjust to allow his offense to be more aggressive and try to score more points. Or, even, try to win some shoot-outs, because that might be what it takes this year.
I doubt Ferentz can change his philosophy that dramatically this year, but I hope he does. If not, I fear we'll be in store for a lot more of what we saw against Iowa State.