The Ottumwa Courier


October 4, 2007

GROB: Ferentz faces big challenge


Talented senior running backs Albert Young and Damian Sims get their legs churning at times, but then they seem to quickly disappear from the offense. Iowa hasn’t established a consistent ground game at all this season.

The defense was supposed to be Iowa’s saving grace, but this past Saturday, the Hawkeyes made Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis look like a cross between Johnny Unitas and Barry Sanders as the Hoosiers took their biggest win over Iowa since 1945. Lewis finished 19 of 26 for a career-best 322 yards, and even threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to himself.

Lewis is a good quarterback, no doubt. But he isn’t that good.

The only complaint Indiana fans had about their team Saturday was the fact that they celebrated too much.

That’s right. Indiana’s football team came into Kinnick Stadium on Iowa’s homecoming and found good reason to celebrate too much.

That’s bad news for the Iowa defense.

Iowa’s kicking game, meanwhile, is a wacky slapstick comedy sketch just waiting to happen every time it takes the field. Think Three Stooges in helmets and cleats.

Worst of all, the 2007 Iowa Hawkeyes seem to have no identity. The only thing they’ve been able to do consistently this season is score a touchdown on a freak play right before halftime. Other than that, they’ve got nothing.

The Iowa football program has been down before. When Hayden Fry took over in 1979, Iowa hadn’t had a winning season since JFK was in the White House. When Ferentz took the reins from Fry in 1999, he was essentially building from scratch. Sure, Fry had left a solid infrastructure, but the cupboard was bare.

So this isn’t anywhere close to the low point for Hawkeye football. There is hope for the future, and yes, even hope for the rest of this season. This week, Iowa’s coaching staff is trying to fix the blunders from the Indiana disaster and keep the players’ minds off the losing streak — and on the Nittany Lions. And Ferentz’s teams, good and bad, have always played pretty well against Penn State.

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