The Iowa Hawkeyes bid for their first January Bowl victory since 1959 when they play Florida in the Outback Bowl in Tampa. The Hawkeyes rode a stingy defense and outstanding special teams to a 9-3 regular season record and the defense will be tested by a Gator offense led by true freshman quarterback Chris Leak. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says his biggest attribute is his passing, but “he can certainly pull it down and run with it. He’s certainly not a stiff,” according to Ferentz. Like any game against a team from a warmer climate, the Hawks need to offset Florida’s speed advantage. Ferentz says if Iowa can grind out a ground game on offense, that would help keep the ball out of Leak’s hands, but he says that’s easier said than done. Defensive lineman Howard Hodges feels the Hawks have enough speed to keep up. “We’ve got Florida guys on this defense, guys from Texas, and Iowa guys, I mean, aren’t that slow,” Hodges says “we’ve got speed..and we should be fine as long as we execute the game plan.” Safety Bob Sanders says the Hawks have been successful with a punishing style of play and that is how they must approach the matchup with the Gators. Sanders says they want to intimidate the receivers from the start and “be physical and put some hits on ’em.” Iowa is concerned about Florida’s speed, the Gators are concerned about the matchup in the trenches. Florida center Mike DeGory says Iowa’s a classic Big Ten team, real physical up front and “have just as much speed as we do…We’re lookin’ forward to the fight.” Florida guard Lance Butler says this will be a different style than the Gators face during the regular season. Butler expects some “smash-mouth” football from Iowa, and he says it’ll be fun to play against a different type of team compared to conference foes like Florida State and Miami. This will be the final game for a number of seniors including quarterback Nathan Chandler, who looks to end his only season as the starter with a victory. “Every young kid dreams of growing up and getting to play on a team like this,” Chandler says. “I’m excited about this opportunity and thankful for what I’ve been able to do so far.” Kickoff tomorrow in James Raymond Stadium is ten o’clock, Iowa time.
You are here: / / Iowa defense plans to be "physical" — Florida players expect "smash-mouth" ball