Kirk Ferentz pleased with flexibility of Hawkeyes, improved discipline during back-to-back wins
Iowa has quickly turned its season around, running off back-to-back wins in blowout fashion.
After the tight loss to Northwestern in Week 2, many feared the worst for the Hawkeyes. That game saw Kirk Ferentz’s squad blow a big early lead and get shutout with numerous errors in the second half.
Fortunately, the Hawkeyes have rallied in a big way. It started with the win over Michigan State and continued in the huge rivalry win over Minnesota.
One characteristic of both wins was preparation on a short schedule. It’s something Ferentz says teams have to roll within the craziness of 2020, but he is proud of how Iowa is dealing with the adjustments.
“We’re right in the middle of a four-week block where three of the weeks are abnormal which makes the remaining normal week seem abnormal,” Ferentz said. “Our guys have been flexible with their thinking, they’ve adapted.
“Our team has shown good focus, and it has improved, and that’s what you hope to do during the course of the season. We’re making strides and we have certainly played better on the field the last two weeks, but that’s a result of the guys preparing well and going out on the practice field doing a good job.”
In relation to the play on the field, the big difference for the Hawkeyes has been a much more disciplined performance. Cutting down on penalties and improving the turnover margin is what has helped Iowa build huge leads in back-to-back weeks.
“In the turnover: take-away margin, we got off to a bad start with three in the first game and two in the next,” Ferentz said. “We have been able to clean that up a little bit and that’s one statistic that almost every year pays dividends or it hurts you.
“We had too many penalties early in the season. We typically are in the top third of the conference with penalty yardage, so it’s not like we have a drill for any of this stuff. It’s a matter of our guys being more detailed in their thinking and their technique and just being aware. Those are positive indicators, hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
Now Iowa will turn the corner and move into a Week 5 showdown against a winless Penn State squad. However, Ferentz and the Hawkeyes will not expect anything to come easy. The Nittany Lions are still a talented team and will likely be fighting to avoid further losses in 2020.
Be sure to check out all of Ferentz’s comments from his Sunday Conversation:
“We’re making strides and we have certainly played better on the field the last two weeks, but that’s a result of the guys preparing well and going out on the practice field doing a good job.”
Sunday Conversation with Coach Ferentz ⤵️
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) November 16, 2020