Iowa football aims to reverse six-game losing streak

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2013 - 12:36 AM

The Hawkeyes’ win total has dropped the past three seasons. Team leaders are fed up with losing so much.

hide

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz

Photo: Nati Harnik, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– The Iowa Hawkeyes went 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl when James Morris was a senior at Solon (Iowa) High School. As a three-time all-state linebacker, Morris couldn’t wait to taste that same success under Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz.

But in Morris’ three years at Iowa, the Hawkeyes have gone 8-5, 7-6 and 4-8.

“You’re judged by your wins and losses,” Morris said Thursday at Big Ten media days. “You’re not judged by how many hours you put in during the offseason. So to do all those things and not have the results you want puts a bad taste in your mouth.”

Morris said Iowa’s senior class is determined to reverse the downward trend and leave a better legacy. The Hawkeyes loom as a key early test for Minnesota again this year. They will meet in the Big Ten opener for both teams, on Sept. 28 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Last year, the Gophers defeated Syracuse to finish 4-0 in nonconference play, and many expected the winning streak to continue against an Iowa team that had just lost to Central Michigan. But Iowa’s offensive line dominated the Gophers, as the Hawkeyes cruised to a 31-13 victory.

The Hawkeyes defeated Michigan State in overtime the next week, quieting some of the criticism for Ferentz, who has a 10-year, $41 million contract. Then the Hawkeyes lost two offensive linemen to injury and finished with six consecutive losses.

“You say to yourself, ‘Am I a 4-8 person?’ ” Morris said. “No, I don’t feel like I’m a below-average person. I don’t feel like I put forth a below-average effort. We want to have a record we feel matches the work we put in.”

Ferentz left himself open for second-guessing when he let senior quarterback James Vandenberg take every single snap, despite throwing only seven touchdown passes. That left Iowa with no returning experience at quarterback.

Ferentz is quick to note that Brad Banks (in 2002) and Drew Tate (2004) had little to no experience when they took over, and those two teams combined to go 23-4.

Still, the recent fallout hasn’t been pretty. Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel listed Ferentz as one of the five worst coaches in college football. Ferentz showed his usual poise this week, noting how smart everyone seemed to think he was after the Orange Bowl.

For years, Ferentz was surrounded by stability on his coaching staff, but after replacing three assistants following the 2011 season, he replaced three more this past offseason.

Hawkeyes fans seeking hope can start with the offensive line, where tackle Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal have returned from leg injuries. Maybe last season would have been different if they had remained healthy.

“Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” senior tackle Brett Van Sloten said. “No excuses. Injuries are part of the game, unfortunately. We need to be more consistent. We can’t come out one game and play well and not the next.”

Ferentz said the quarterback battle is a wide-open race between sophomore Jake Rudock, junior Cody Sokol and freshman C.J. Beathard. Wide receiver is another big question mark, but leading rushers Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock return.

“One good thing is whoever’s playing quarterback has a chance to be better supported than [Vandenberg] was last year,” Ferentz said. “James had a tough road.”

Defensively, the Hawkeyes are led by their linebackers, as Morris, Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens — all seniors — have combined for 65 career starts. Teamwide, Morris said, he’s been pleased with how everyone has approached the offseason.

“We haven’t had any guys get in trouble with the law or anything like that,” he said. “Academically, we’ve been good. We’re a character program. We do things right, but we’ve got to translate that to wins.”

  • related content

  • Kirk Ferentz, on SI’s list of the five worst college football coaches, said he was pretty smart when Iowa won the 2010 Orange Bowl.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close