Kirk Ferentz praises work of Lovie Smith, Illinois in turnaround this season
Iowa secured its signature upset of the season over the weekend, but the Hawkeyes must turnaround quickly against a much-improved opponent.
On Saturday, the Hawkeyes showed up prepared and ready to take on undefeated Minnesota. A quick start gave Iowa a nice halftime lead, and the defense stepped up late to secure the win.
During his Sunday Conversation, head coach Kirk Ferentz admitted that the team felt a bit better on Sunday after the win as opposed to the late defeat to Wisconsin. However, he admitted Iowa will have to turn the page 100% on Monday morning:
“As bad as we felt last Sunday, everybody is feeling better (this Sunday), but the trick is when Monday morning starts, we have to get our focus 100 percent on our next opponent — and improving,” Ferentz said. “Our team did a good job of that last week. They not only game-planned and got the picture on Minnesota, but they also worked on things we didn’t do as well last week or the last 10 weeks.”
Ferentz went on to say that Illinois truly has been one of the most improved teams in the entire country this season. That is not hard to see after a rough 2018 and slow start to 2019:
“They have to be one of the most improved teams in the country, not just in our conference. You could see that coming; they have a quality coaching staff with coach (Lovie) Smith there. He was committed several years ago to playing young players and now those young players are grown up.
“This past month they have played good, winning football. They are playing with great momentum — it will be a big challenge for us.”
Illinois is currently riding a four-game winning streak and is bowl eligible at 6-4. Saturday’s kickoff is set for 12 pm EST on BTN.