Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the Hawkeyes need better play on special teams this weekend when the Hawkeyes visit Indiana. Ferentz says while those units are not hurting the Hawkeyes they have not been a factor in Iowa’s 5-1 start to the season.
That is of special concern this week against Indiana. Hoosier sophomore Marcus Thigpen returned four kickoffs for 197 yards, including a 98 yard return for a touchdown, in a 34-32 win at Illinois. Ferentz says Thigpen has 40-plus yards per touch this year as a kick returner. He says the fact that Thigpen is an excellent returner and Iowa has not been stellar in covering kicks, “is a real concern.”
This will be another example of the Hawkeyes taking on a team that is looking for a big victory. Ferentz says that’s what they saw at Syracruse and he says they’ve walked into a few of these contests. Ferentz says he hopes his team realizes there’s not much easy in conference play.
Ferentz refused to give his team a mid-season grade but says he likes their chances in the second half. He says they’re 5-1 and are improving, which he says is the most important thing, and he says the biggest concern is what they do the next six weeks.
Iowa’s offense got off to a better start in Saturday’s victory over Purdue but the Hawks have yet to score on an opening drive this season. Ferentz says Saturday was the first time they looked good and were moving the ball early before turning it over. Ferentz says that hopefully is a sign that things are improving.