Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says he is not into giving out mid-season grades. The Hawkeye’s are 2-4 after a loss at Penn State and take an eight game Big Ten losing streak into Saturday’s matchup at home against Illinois. Ferentz says they’re looking forward to this week and are trying to do their best to play well and win a football game.
Ferentz says they want to be able to walk into the lockerroom and see everyone smiling and happy after winning a game. He says it won’t come easy, but it’s not impossible. Iowa’s offense continues to struggle and Ferentz says the first step to becoming more productive is to eliminate the negative plays. He says they can’t get penalties and sacks and endure.
The offense has been hit by a number of injuries but Ferentz says he cannot blame that on their struggles. He says things haven’t come together the way they’d hope, and he says based on his experiences, you "just keep working."
Ferentz says despite their struggles he does not believe this has become a "rebuilding" season. He says he’s not big on that term at any time of the year. Ferentz says you deal with what’s in front of you and try to get ready to win.
Ferentz says the Illinois spread offense is tough to stop because they run the option so well. He says they have posed problems for everyone as they run the ball well, and stop the run well on defense.
Illinois is off to a 3-0 start in the Big Ten race and coming off home wins over Penn State and Wisconsin. Coach Ron Zook says the Illini expect a tough game. Zook says his staff hasn’t beaten Iowa, and says the Hawkeyes could just as easily have been 4-2. He says if his team doesn’t come in prepared, then everything they’ve done thus far is for nothing. Zook says they do not expect to face the same Iowa team that has struggled to a 2-4 start.