And IIIIIIII-eyeeee Want to Thank You...for Giving Me the Best Shield Punt of My Liiiiiiife. After Iowa's 31-14 win over Illinois State Saturday, a game that included such unprecedented things as a fake field goal and a shield punt formation, the football program did something else unprecedented: They thanked fans for coming to the game.
For a crowd that fell quite a bit short of full capacity, Kinnick Stadium looked well-attended and raucous Saturday. It always helps when the team can give you something to scream about (well, something POSITIVE to scream about), and Iowa did not disappoint on that front.
An Easy Crowd. Ferentz's press conference after Saturday's game devolved into a lot of "Here's something good that happened, your thoughts?" questions, one of the least contentious press conferences he's had in years. Needless to say, there's not much there, but there is a discussion of Iowa's new thinking.
Q. The fourth-and-2 at I believe their 14, the thinking there?
KIRK FERENTZ: You know, we kind of shifted our thinking a little bit last year about four-down situations. We talk weekly, and then certainly before the game just about what our parameters are going to be and what our thought process would be but based on down and distance. Also the score of the game.
You know, it's just something that we've kind of developed a comfort level with, and just pleased with the way our guys responded.
Q. A play that didn't work was extremely popular with the crowd when you went for the (fake field goal).
KIRK FERENTZ: I've heard that. Probably won't be as popular next time it doesn't work. I'm just going to go out on a ledge and take a shot at that one.
But just as part of our thinking, back in January and then -- January was more personnel related, but after recruiting finished, we tried to go through everything as thoroughly as we possibly could, and I think that's probably the creation out of that think tank a little bit.
Nobody asked about the punt -- NOBODY ASKED ABOUT THE PUNT -- but the "special teams changed back in January" line coincides with Ferentz's repeated statements throughout the season about how Iowa had to improve its special teams. If you wanted to run more fakes in special teams, after all, you'd likely go to a shield punt. It's simply extremely difficult to defend. Does anyone know if Dillon Kidd can run?
Odd man from an odd man. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads held his weekly press conference Monday. The big takeaway: Iowa State is going to run primarily 4-3 defense against Iowa.
Iowa State is expected to use a four-man front for much of Saturday's 3:45 p.m. showdown with Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium.
"You're not going to survive in a three-man front against that type of offense," Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads said. "You'll see both varieties on Saturday, and three-man stuff you'll see meshed up as we deem necessary."
There was a time not long ago that a three-man front gave Iowa's run game fits; Iowa's interior line struggled to adapt to the adjusted responsibilities, and the outside linebackers effectively made a 3-4 defense into a 5-2 in running situations, extending the defensive line and making it more difficult for Iowa's tackles and tight ends to seal the edge. But the proliferation of 3-4 defenses has made it less of an oddity and allowed Iowa to adjust. Now it simply means that Iowa's offensive line gets to block more linebackers, and blocking linebackers is the best thing.
With that said, Iowa State will have to supplement three-star JUCO recruit Demond Tucker with another defensive tackle. The depth chart suggests Pierre Aka, who has barely played in three seasons with ISU. Rhoads said the Clones switch to a four-man front all the time, but the personnel might indicate otherwise.
James Conner, the Pitt running back who ran for 155 yards against Iowa and won ACC Player of the Year last season, will miss the rest of the 2015 season after injuring his MCL in the Panthers' opener against Youngstown State. Don't start planning on 3-0 just yet: Pitt still got 207 rushing yards on 12.9 yards per carry out of his backup, freshman Qadree Ollison.
Our own Hawkeye Elvis (commenter Cornshoe Hammaker for the uninitiated) went to see a friend in jail this weekend.
Floyd looks thin. Those bastards must not be feeding him.
Speaking of thin, Fran McCaffery offered a scholarship to the world's longest pair of cargo shorts this weekend.
Very thankful to receive an offer from coach McCaffery and Iowa Hawkeye basketball pic.twitter.com/0vlGpFBKIo— Adam Trapp (@trapp_adam) September 5, 2015
Adam Trapp is a 7'2 center out of Duluth. His only other listed offer at the moment is from DePaul, though Minnesota and [REDACTED] have been taking a look. He is also only 200 pounds, which means he would probably redshirt anywhere he landed.
If you had any doubt that P.J. Fleck is a terrible choice for Iowa coach in whatever year Iowa hires a new coach, this should take care of that:
Triumph & I sharing a moment. Discussing the season & our expectations of each other! Elite working relationship! RTB pic.twitter.com/PqWjaim0IW— P.J. Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) September 2, 2015
I haven't seen a grown man talk to a horse since Jacobi was walking the tailgates at last year's Ball State game.