Kirk Ferentz met with the assembled press Tuesday. Here's what we learned. As always, transcript courtesy of Hawkeye Nation.
Linebacker Travis Perry will miss the rest of the regular season with a leg injury; speculation has been that Perry either suffered a high ankle sprain or minor fracture, hence the "regular season" part of the explanation. It's not great for Iowa to lose a linebacker, but Perry hadn't been starting for nearly two months. Furthermore, Iowa has plenty of linebackers to choose from; it's the quality of those linebackers that has been problematic.
Jordan Canzeri was dressed Saturday but didn't play (Ferentz later said that he didn't see the need to use him once the game had spiraled out of control). Ferentz said Tuesday that Canzeri hadn't looked good in practice last week, but also that he should be closer to 100 percent and return to the rotation this week.
Linebacker Reggie Spearman is back from suspension this week, but has been moved behind Josey Jewell on the depth chart at weakside linebacker.
We're Back to This
After Saturday's implosion in St. Paul, Kirk addressed the media in honest, frank terms. Three days later, someone asked him about Drew Ott's propensity to crash inside and leave the perimeter run undefended -- Minnesota ran a dozen successful jet/fly sweeps at Iowa, and every one of them were successful because Iowa's defensive ends crashed inside -- and got this response:
Q. The plays that Drew was in the C gap, which allowed the running back to get outside and clip up‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: Drew Ott?
Q. Yeah, coming down, heading outside and David Cobb would come up and take out Bo Bower, somebody like that. Was it more schematic in some of the approach or‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: Usually anytime a run's successful, it's a good scheme. You don't play it well enough. And hopefully with every defense we've got a chance to stop any play run pass. But you've got to play through blocks and make plays and usually it involves more than one guy.
So that whole "honest assessment of things" thing was fun while it lasted. There was a follow-up a few minutes later that was a bit more forthcoming.
Q. Talking about the sweeps and run defense, is that a little bit of losing three linebackers from a year ago, it's not to single out the guys playing right now, but is that one of the growing pains a little bit?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, we're not as good at linebacker as we were a year ago. We knew that in August. We knew it in January. And so that's part of the deal. But we're probably a little bit better up front. So that's college football. You're always having change and evolution, if you will. And we still have an opportunity to play good team defense and that's what we have to do.
We have played good defense at times. So it's just a matter of being more consistent like all the other things that we're doing too offensively or special teams.
Iowa's disappointing seasons under Ferentz -- 2005, 2007, 2012, now 2014 -- have many things in common, but a slate of new linebackers is primary among them. Watching Quinton Alston is like having a Mike Klinkenborg flashback. That's not a good thing.
Illinois: Now with Less Zook
Iowa hasn't played Illinois in six years -- just as a frame of reference, the last time Iowa faced Illinois, it was the week before Daniel Murray entered the pantheon -- which has to be one of the dumbest scheduling quirks in the current Big Ten. The Illini are now in Iowa's division, so the long stretches without seeing them on the schedule should be over, and Kirk is happy about it.
Q. Pretty good rivalry, now you haven't played them in for six years. To get them back on the schedule and‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: I've said it before. It's kind of weird. I did an awards luncheon over in Quad Cities across the river in April. It was during April. And that was the first time it really struck me driving over, I don't know why I was thinking of it, but started thinking about playing in Champaign and it struck me odd that we haven't been there since '08. I think we all, not that I'm an expert in geography. But it's the next state over. So it's kind of weird that way, especially if you're in the same conference. But that's probably a reflection of this expansion era that we're living in and college sports have changed in a lot of different ways and this is just one more illustration of it.
So I think it's good. I think it's one of the nice things about the East/West Division in the conference. I think it's really going to be, just feels a bit more natural. And so if we don't play Rutgers for six years, I don't know when we play them, but that's not as big a deal as when you don't play one of your border states.
Nice work getting a shot in at Rutgers, coach. We don't give a damn about them, either.
Remember that Quarterback Thing?
Q. Quarterback, are you done with the thought of trying to get C.J. in certain series, is it more traditional now with Jake for the most part?
COACH FERENTZ: We really haven't had a lot of discussion. So we'll just keep playing here see where it all goes.
Total stats for C.J. Beathard in the four games since Rudock returned and Iowa shifted to its vaunted two-quarterback system: 10/18 passing, 64 yards, nine rushing attempts, 40 rushing yards. That seems like an effective two-quarterback system right there.
Ferentz was later asked about Reggie Spearman, and described why it is that Josey Jewell has passed Spearman on the depth chart:
Q. How do you classify Reggie's experience, seems like he's been in a series of tough lessons, if you will?
COACH FERENTZ: Outside of the last two weeks, what else? Help me out if I'm missing something here.
Q. Learning to be a starter.
COACH FERENTZ: Josey is going through the same thing. I'll go back to camp. Both those guys are competing for that spot. Josey got injured, busted his hand, so Reggie got it by default. Now it's going the other way by default.
So a player can lose his place as a starter because of injury or suspension and not get it back when he is healthy and back in good standing. Unless that guy is a quarterback, because the quarterback decision was made in 2013 and will not be reexamined.
Yes, I'm just trolling Beath Heads at this point.
Q. When you go to recruiting, do you look at a punter or do you think one of these guys will emerge?
COACH FERENTZ: We'll see. We've got three weeks left. We'll let the guys continue to compete.
If this team brings in a third scholarship punter, I'm calling for a boycott. That's roster malpractice. Seriously, this site will just post corgi pictures and stories about food.