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KIRK SPEAKS: OUR MOST HATED RIVAL

Ferentz took the podium to talk last week’s letdown, Purdue, and seniors

Iowa v Wisconsin
“I wonder if we can win putting up less than 100 yards on offense.”
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

These are much more fun to do after wins than losses, but here we are. Time to turn to Our Most Hated Rival/my alma mater so it’s easy for me to get excited for this game (don’t worry, I’ll be wearing the correct Black and Gold in Kinnick this weekend). A win for Purdue means a tie with Iowa in the standings and a chance at a .500 record/bowl trip. So they’ve got some motivation. The Iowa Hawkeyes have Senior Day and Kirk Ferentz had plenty to say about that. Here’s the transcript and the depth chart:

  • It’s unlikely Amani Hooker plays: “[He] has not practiced yet, so that thing hasn't moved as well as we had hoped, so we'll see.”
  • He had good things to say about Brandon Snyder, Ike Boettger, and Boone Myers, who are contributing in the ways they can. Specifically of Snyder, he said, “Nobody is coaching harder than [him] these past couple months, including our staff.” Is this a critique of the NCAA rules which limit hours a coach can be with players or a critique of the staff who isn’t coaching as hard as they could? /thinking face emoji
  • Punt returner is a recognized tire fire. He noted Matt VandeBerg was out a smidge last week and couldn’t acclimate to it. Max Cooper’s got a shot: “He definitely is in the equation.” My hot take is Iowa’s punting is so bad during the week, the returners aren’t used to a regular punt’s distance and trajectory.

Purdon’t think they’re the same team

Ferentz was very complimentary of the Purdue Boilermakers, as they’ve really flipped the switch from last year. Their PPG allowed numbers are about half of what they were in 2016 and currently sits in the top 20 of the nation.

To me the real story is their defensive improvement because they haven't been good enough on defense to win consistently and they're playing really at a high level right now, but most important [stat] is points given up, and they're not giving up a lot, so they're doing really well there. Their rush defense is much, much better, much improved. And I think the biggest thing is their whole team is multiple. You look at them offensively, defensively and special teams wise, you have to prepare for a lot of things. They're very diverse. You're not sure what you're going to get your week, but they're very, very diverse that way.

If that quote doesn’t scream Iowa’s going to come out and run what they always run to make Purdue defend it, I don’t know what to think.

Senioritis

This is always the time of year Kirk calls out the dirty work required of any football program and the players who do it.

Dan Gaffey, who really hasn't hit the field in a meaningful snap; Jake Hulett hasn't played an awful lot, but those guys have been in the program, worked every bit as hard as everybody else, and they do a great job day in and day out. The thing about a guy like Gaffey, who just works so hard on the scout team and just not only gives our offense a good look, but he also helps provide leadership with those guys.

He also threw it back to his favorite story of how he almost blew it on not offering Josey Jewell. Shouts to Reese Morgan:

But, I've listened and learned to listen to Reese, as subtle as he is. But if he says it -- and Brett Greenwood was the first guy, like he kind of just kept saying, Brett Greenwood -- so what I learned there is if he says it a couple times, there's something that he knows that I don't know. And my feeling about Josey was at the end of the day, if nothing else, he'd play fullback. He'd make our team -- kind of like Bob Sanders, he'd make our team tougher and make us better that way. And if nothing else, where is the catchall position? Fullback. Where do all linebackers go if they can't play linebacker? They end up at fullback.

Speaking of fullback, Iowa will celebrate Drake Kulick with the other seniors and Kirk had some colorful words about him: “Yeah, he's a little off center, which it helps if you're a fullback. There's no question that's a good thing.”

Weekly History Lesson

In talking about not having the horses who can withstand the plethora of mistakes Iowa made against Wisconsin, Kirk dialed it back to 1976 in Pittsburgh (where else?) and reminded everyone how good Tony Dorsett was.

But yeah, on offense especially, little things kill you, mistakes kill you. It's hard to -- unless you're good enough just to throw it up and somebody run down there and catch the ball, 70 yards down the field. Or a guy that can just hit a run, nobody blocks him, boom. I'm going back to whatever it was, 1976 sitting in Three Rivers Stadium, Dorsett hit one for about 80 yards or 90 yards on the first play of the second half against Penn State, and game was over. That was it. That's about all he got, but that's all he needed. But he's a Hall of Fame player, too.

This is the only Dorsett TD video I can find from that game (though he had another) and it was like a 40-yarder:

Ahhh, 70s football, where putting your best player at fullback was exotic.

I wonder if we’ll see that out of Iowa this week?