IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While the first unit caught its breath during a bye week, University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said the second and third team Hawkeyes gained ground. Ferentz expects that improvement to bolster special team play that was stellar during a 31-13 win against Minnesota on Sept. 29.
"We still have a lot of young players, but the exciting news is that they improve every week and every practice if they are doing things right," Ferentz said Sunday during an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com "Hopefully we'll see the growth on special teams more than any place else. Our last game out, we looked more Big Ten-ready, but we're hardly a finished product there, either. That's one area we're really focused on now."
Iowa (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) travels to East Lansing, Mich., for its first conference road test of the season Oct. 13 against #24 in CIDSports Top 25, Michigan State (4-2, 1-1). From 2007-09, one game between the Hawkeyes and Spartans was decided in double overtime and the other two were decided by a combined five points.
"History would say that it has been an interesting series," Ferentz said. "Most of these games have been closely contested and go down to the last couple minutes. If we're playing well this week, I would predict that being the case, but if we aren't playing well, it could get away from us quick. We have to be at our best when we go up to East Lansing."
The offensive backfield will include the following healthy Hawkeyes: Damon Bullock, Greg Garmon, Jonathan Gimm, Brad Rogers, and Mark Weisman, with Jordan Canzeri "making progress."
"It has gone from a position of being a concern to looking like we're developing some depth now," Ferentz said.