Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa receiver Derrick Willies is leaving the program. The redshirt freshman from Rock Island showed big play ability but had trouble getting on the field for an offense that lacks playmakers. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says Willies expressed a desire to be near his ailing father in Arizona. “I think he is fine, he’s just got some issues that have been concerning and I understand the prognosis is good. It’s just something that’s important to Derrick at this point,” Ferentz says.

Willies appeared in five games and four receptions. Ferentz left the door open for his return if he has “a change of heart in the near future.” But he says he is not counting on that.

Ferentz says sophomore running back LeShun Daniels will be out the remainder of the regular season due to injury and sophomore linebacker Reggie Spearman has been suspended two games after being arrested on his moped for drunk driving. Decorah native Josey Jewell becomes the starter at linebacker. He says Jewell was in line to be a starter until breaking his hand and missed the first two ballgames.

Iowa is 5-2 and hosts Northwestern on Saturday. Ferentz refuses to put any added importance on the outcome but with games coming up against Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska this is a game the Hawkeyes need in the win column. “The bottom line is it’s a conference game and they are all real important,”Ferentz says.

The Hawkeyes played poorly in their last outing, a loss at Maryland and Ferentz says if they don’t tackle well and move the football, it’s going to be tough to win. The Hawkeyes will be in trouble the remainder of the season if they don’t stop eliminating big plays by the opponents. “The bottom line is we have to play better fundamentally,” Ferentz says.

Northwestern has won six of the last nine games in a series that at one time was lopsided in favor of the Hawkeyes. Ferentz says a lot of people make the mistake of living in the past and they have a proud tradition.

In fact the Wildcats have won three of the last five meetings with the Hawkeyes in Kinnick Stadium.

The Wildcats are 3-4 overall.