Despite some ley losses from last season Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker has high hopes for next season’s defense. Standout tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul are gone from last year’s team that finished 9-4 but a number of starters return from a unit that gave up only 13 points per game.
Parker admits he is partial to his defense, "You know, I think my daughter’s prettier than the other guy’s daughter. But I think…we can be as good as last year, we can be as good as last year, might be better."
Parker says the Hawkeyes will rely on a system that while not fancy has been highly successful. He says if they are going to be any good as a defense, they have to be smart and keep the ball in front of them and get off tackles. Parker says they are not a "Florida State run up the field, bing, bam, boom group of guys, we never have been and probably never will be."
Parker says a key to the success of last year’s defense was experience and intelligence. He says the only team in the country that gave up fewer touchdowns in the country was Southern Cal. Parker says they don’t look like U.S.C. personnel wise, but they got the most out of what they have.
Offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe says they have made it a challenging spring for the offense. He says there has been a lot of competition on both sides of the ball as they’ve matched up the first offense against the first defense. Former quarterback Marvin McNutt is moving up the depth chart at wide out and is now listed ahead of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.
He says McNutt is a big guy with "outstanding ball skills" and is running better than he has in the past. McNutt moved to receiver last season and caught one pass during the 2008 season. O’Keefe says McNutt is a sharp guy who really works hard. Iowa closes out spring drills with a final practice on Saturday.