Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Iowa at Michigan — Initial Game Preview
Kirk Ferentz has built his program on simplicity and consistency. This includes a decade of bowl appearances, several New Year’s appearances, and a long reign of being in the top division of the Big Ten. Coach Ferentz is known as a developer of offensive linemen.
This year has not quite been so special for the Hawkeyes. There has been some trouble in River City. The Hawkeyes are sitting at 4-6 heading into Michigan Stadium. Last year’s Hawkeye team ended up 7-6, and Iowa will need to beat Michigan, Nebraska, and a bowl opponent to match that record this year. So, the troops have been rallied and the backs are to the wall. The margin of error is none.
Michigan won on last second heroics and Iowa lost to Purdue on a late game field goal. Iowa is 2-4 in the Big Ten with a key win over Michigan State looming as the current highlight. The offense has not quite been good enough and that has translated to the defense not quite being good enough. Iowa has always balanced strong defense with simple ball control offense.
The last few years have been rough on running backs in Iowa City. This year two players, Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock, have ran for over 1100 yards and a good per carry average. They are the only two runners to score a rushing touchdown this year.
Quarterback James Vandenburg is a typical Iowa quarterback. He has good size, throws the Iowa basic patterns with good velocity, and manages the game. This season Vandenburg is completing about 58 percent of his passes and his rating is above 100.
Iowa no longer has receiver Marvin McNutt, one of last year’s best league players. Six Iowa receivers have over 10 receptions led by Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley with 46 and 47 catches respectively. All of that offense has yielded only five passing touchdowns.The tight Iowa defense is good but not as dominating as in past years. In the wins Iowa is giving up less than 20 points most of the time. In the six loses Iowa is giving up around 25 points per game.
Iowa runs lots of flat patterns, loves using tight ends, and is proficient at running play action sprint out and bootleg waggles.
Iowa most likely will try and control the ball with a mix of run and pass. This will allow Iowa to make the game close. This team is still physical and has enough going that any opposing team needs to be on guard and not asleep.
Michigan will try and get the Iowa offense off the field and mix it up on offense. If the running game gets stuffed Gardner or Robinson will take off. Iowa may assign a spy but that can help the Michigan passing game unless the pass rush destroys the timing.
The defense that plays best will give its team a leg up on victory.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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