Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is handing the offense back to Ricky Stanzi. The sophomore has been named the starting quarterback for the Hawks Big Ten opener at home against Northwestern. Stanzi was 7-of-10 for 79 yards in the opening half at Pittsburgh but did not play in the second half of a 21-20 loss.
Ferentz says they had a chance to look at the tape and it was their conclusion that Stanzi gives them the best chance to win this week. Stanzi and Jake Christiansen have each started two games but neither one has been able to hold on to the spot.
Ferentz says he isn’t pulling for either guy, and as some point the picture will become clearer. During his weekly news conference Ferentz declined to talk about what gives Stanzi an advantage over Christiansen. He says he’s not comfortable talking about it, as he says he took a little bit of a lashing for saying he stuck with Christensen against Pitt because of his “gut feeling.”
Ferentz says freshman Trent Mossbrucker has won the place kicking job over sophomore Daniel Murray. He says they make observations and make decisions, and some work out and some don’t. Ferentz says noone is down on either one of the kickers as they are counting on them to help the team win.
Ferentz says no matter who the quarterback is the Hawkeyes need to improve their passing game. He says the good news is the running game has improved over last year, and says he’s not sure statistically how the passing game compares to last year, but he says they have to get better to evolve into a good offensive team.
Ferentz says there were a number of factors in the loss, and while he says the focus has been on the quarterback, he says the blocked punt didn’t help, as he says that’s like walking a guy in baseball. Ferentz says they also failed to down a punt that could had made a difference.
Northwestern is off to a 4-0 start and Ferentz says the Wildcat defense is vastly improved. He says they don’t give up big plays and make the other team work for everything.