Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Final Thoughts and Observations From Northwestern

First, what a fantastic mid-October night for some football.

Iowa's second play was an interesting bunch formation. Both Derby and Herman with Keenan Davis the outside wide receiver. McNutt was wide on the opposite side.

Coker's first carry was a little trap off the backside. Northwestern was in a 4-3 over and Iowa attacked the backside. It was a nice run by Coker and an nicer block by Herman.

Looks like Iowa is using Woody Orne at the tight end position in their big set. He also had a new number (95).

Kind of a strange call on 3rd and 8 to run Coker to the outside. Iowa was on the 14 yard line and settled for a field goal. Northwestern sent all the linebackers on a blitz and maybe KOK thought running to the opposite side would work? NW's LB's were shifted to the slot WR and sent one LB from the middle and two from the slot WR side.

Iowa's kick coverage is improved from week one. Those frosh, particularly Nico Law, are getting better.

I like that Iowa's DL set the tone on the opening drive. Persa was going to have success moving around but the DL did a good job of getting pressure on the opening drive.

Finally, a swing pass to the slot WR. I think these plays have been missing from Iowa's offense. They don't get a ton of yards but work about as well as a running play. The upside is that you force the defense (especially the linebackers) to run to the sideline. Iowa ran it two plays back-to-back, the second went incomplete. Still, I like this in the offense. Linebackers running back-to-back twenty yard sprints wears down a defense.

A Broderick Binns sighting, by far his best game of the year.

Tom Donatell got smoked on a go route by the back-up quarterback. It was a pretty fine catch though.

Persa isn't even close to being the same runner he was before his injury a year ago.

It was good to see Lowery and Iowa go to nickel. Lowery looked a little rusty and it may still be a work in progress.

Tom Donatell made a nice tackle on a swing pass to NW's RB.

Tanner Miller got a couple of nice blocks from the DL to open up that pick six. He's a player that's really progressed over the last month. Iowa will have to replace Bernstine next year but I think Miller is the FS for the next two years.

Kick coverage, Nico Law again. I hope that's a sign of his future. Three years as Iowa's starting strong safety?

Carl Davis sighting! I think this was the best Davis has shown in his career, for those couple of plays.

On Coker's 25 yard run he dragged that NW defensive back six yards.

Brad Rogers showed some nice hands. He's a huge boost to Iowa's O. When he gets his legs back the Iowa running game will be much better.

Coker had a big hole to his left on second and short and elected to run right into the NW DL. I like that he loves contact but he still needs to improve his vision.

Jonathan Gimm still struggles. Whiffed big time on a block and then was called for a hold.

I thought Scherff played well at left guard when he rotated in with Tobin.

NW started a new corner, Dugaard. I think Keenan Davis only beat him by nine yards on his TD catch. To his defense, the NW safety decided to double team the Iowa TE that hadn't had a target all game. Keenan snuck behind the safety and burned the corner for an easy six.

They didn't show it on TV but after NW's TD coach K met Mike Daniels about halfway on the field and was in his ear all the way to the bench.

Kick coverage not so good on NW's third return. The return came on the left side this time.

It was great seeing Gettis finishing off blocks, it might have been his best game to date.

NW's Dugaard redeemed himself with a pick. Vandy didn't see the zone coverage on the backside.

The coaches wanted a hold on Dunsmore blocking Donatell after a NW first down off the option. It wasn't a hold, it was an own.

If Dominic Alvis was a shade quicker he'd have a chance at All-Big Ten next year.

They finally called a hold against Northwestern. That has to be the first time in five years.

I'm not sure what happened with NW's wide receiver being uncovered. I thought maybe it was a CB blitz but after watching it, it kinda looked like Prater didn't know the WR was even there.

Kevonte Martin-Manley was doing freshman things.

Another thing you didn't see on TV. Ferentz really lit into the Oline on the bench. I'm not saying that's what was the catalyst for the late second half dominance but he chewed some ass. There was a lot of room and space for Coker after that.

Coker ran right behind Orne for that TD. Fiedorowicz also drove his man into the endzone. That capped off a vintage Hawkeye drive.

Still kicking the ball out-of-bounds. C'mon Meyer!

Quinton Alston sighting! I thought the kid played well, still a lot to learn obviously. On an option run he got sucked inside a little and ran into a tough block on the edge. He'll learn to read that better. A play I liked was against the pass. He dropped to the curl zone and as the back crossed his face he called out to Nielsen the back's route. Nielsen was also sitting in the flat zone and came up to make a big hit. Sure the ball was caught and Nielsen made the play but it showed Alston making a nice play recognition and using good communication.

Micah Hyde is just a playmaker. He really stepped up in the fourth quarter.

I just saw Reilly Reiff toss Matt Tobin and Tobin's man to the ground and then take the DE and push him back five yards. He literally blocked three people.

Finally! A flag on Fitzgerald. We've been waiting for that for ever.

And then we see what success running the ball can do. McNutt was open by ten yards on that play action pass. NW stacked the box and the DB got caught looking into the backfield.

Binns forces the fumble and Hawkeye recruit Ryan Ward's brother Patrick just starred at it.

Iowa again went to that bunch formation but tried a WR screen to the backside. The pass was knocked down, the second on the day.

Fiedorowicz got a lot of reps late in the game. Remember he's only a sophomore. Hopefully that light is going on.

I thought McNutt was going to return the first onside kick. He almost broke it.

I'm really not sure why Iowa was in such a hurry to score a touchdown. I thought when Vandy was ruled down at the one that Iowa had four downs to milk some clock if they wanted to. At that point it was a two score game, just at four minutes left. At the very least run the play clock down on first down. Instead they hurried up and ran the play making it a three score game but gave NW four minutes. I'm not saying you lie down but NW was out of timeouts.

Prater got beat, that was right in front of us. It was NW's second teamers too.

Like I said, it was a great night for football. The game was entertaining and the right team won. Now, on to Indiana.

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