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KIRK SPEAKS: PENN STATE

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NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk said very little of consequence this week. We have some good news about Boone Myers, some not great news about George Kittle, and an instance where I think we’re being lied to.

Ferentz also reminisced about Iowa’s track record of success when playing in State College, which was nice to think about.

Let’s get to it.


Yeah, we know George Kittle has been battling injury for some time now. Hopefully the bye week was enough time for him to recover because Iowa needs him back on the field. Boone Myers should be back though!

Q. George Kittle didn't really look like himself obviously against Wisconsin. What do you expect to get out of him this week? He'll be two weeks down the road from then. Hopefully, a lot better. He's been better in practice. He's not 100 percent, nobody is right now, at least the guys that have had injuries. He's a lot further down the road. I was really surprised he was able to play at all against Wisconsin. So that was a pleasant surprise. He tried to gut it up, but it's tough. As you might imagine, he did very little with us last week, a lot with the trainers.

So just have that window of opportunity to get some guys back on the road, that was a good thing.

Boone and all those guys, hopefully, they'll be ready to go. I don't know if they'll be 100 percent, but I think it will be tough to keep them out.

Yeah, not playing Penn State every year is the only downside of expansion.

Q. This is a series that for most of your career has been super competitive. It's not one of the quote, unquote rivalry games necessarily, but up until four years ago, you guys played almost every year in really tough, intense games, then it rotated off with Big Ten realignment. Is it almost kind of a shame that you don't get to see these teams on a regular basis anymore? It is, and that's the one downside of expansion. Maybe there are other ones too. I don't know. It's just hard to have a flow when you have 14 teams in your league, and we're not the only ones going through that.

So to that point, it really does seem strange playing Penn State again because it seems like forever. I mean, it was, what, four seasons, but it seems like 14. So that part is a little bit strange. We kind of went through that with Illinois. I remember driving over, I did an event, spoke somewhere in -- I guess it was across the river. I'm blanking out. I should know that. Yeah, Rock Island or Moline, somewhere around there. I went there a couple springs ago.

And it dawned on me, we haven't played those guys since '08, five years at that time, which is really strange when it's a border school. But that's expansion. You know, it's expansion. No offense to the people in Moline or Rock Island, holy smokes. I knew it was a quad city. Sorry about that. It was a very nice luncheon too, by the way. I'm glad I went.

I wonder what the I Club in Moline serves at its luncheons.


Please. Does Kirk really think he’s fooling us with wildcat crap? All this tells me is we will in fact see Wadley in the slot, which is promising.

Q. Akrum mentioned that in certain practices he has practiced a little bit in the slot. Is that an effort to jump start the passing game? It's really a wildcat, and we've got a triple option with a pass off of it. All kinds of razzle dazzle stuff. So we're just fooling around with different looks and what have you. Nothing major.

Oh, the key to fixing the offensive line is just to play better, good to know.

Q. The Penn State sack numbers are pretty high this year. Given some of the struggles in the pass protection for you guys this year, how do you prevent that this weekend? We've got to play better.

That's the biggest thing we're focused on. Like the entire passing game, it's not just the line. It's everything -- guys getting open, getting the ball out on time, that type of thing. Certainly, protection, whether it's the linemen, backs, tight ends involved. Everybody's got to roll.

It's going to be a team effort, and we know it's going to be a big challenge. Hopefully, we can rise to that. The only thing we can do hopefully is maybe help ourself with the situations, put ourselves in more manageable situations. Not that we've been perfect there, but our third down success has been pretty good when it's a manageable, three to six area, as opposed to those 10s and 12s. Those are hard for anybody to make. So we've got to do a good job of that.

And finally, someone had to bring up Kirk’s own homecoming. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy to be handing out tickets left and right. And hotel requests? Get out of here.

Q. Heading back to Pennsylvania, anything spark some nostalgia? The biggest issue is, when you go home, a lot more ticket requests, hotel requests. I'm not sure how many hotels are available in State College, not a whole lot. So those kinds of things kind of factor into it. But I grew up a long way from there. So I guess no, to answer your question. It's a big game for us, not because it's the state I grew up in.