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Notebook: Ferentz ready for squad to learn how to win

BY MATT CABEL | SEPTEMBER 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa’s next step: learning how to win

After the Iowa football team threw away its chance of victory with a late-game interception Aug. 31, fans and media were quick to criticize head coach Kirk Ferentz’s program.

The team entered the season on the heels of a 4-8 season that became a seven-game losing streak when the Northern Illinois Huskies scored the game-winning field goal with four seconds left.

After numerous close losses — five by 4 points or fewer — Ferentz is ready for his team to take the next step.

“The next step is, you have to learn how to win,” Ferentz said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “That’s one thing, just looking backwards, there are a couple opportunities Saturday where I thought, felt like we were real close, I felt like we were close to maybe turning the game, but we just couldn’t quite get it done.”

Iowa’s head coach of 15 years noted turnovers, false-start penalties, and missing on long passes as some of the things that his team could improve on.

“Now, the challenge is what can we do this week — can we push forward and do the same thing,” Ferentz said.  “If we do that, we should see improvement.”

Rudock compares game environment to a normal practice

Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock compared his first game as Iowa’s starting quarterback with something he’s quite familiar with: a normal practice run by offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

“The way we practice is really intense,” he said. “… [Davis] makes it so much like a game that you’re just playing someone different. You’re playing a different defense.”

Despite his strong play and comfort in the pocket, the redshirt sophomore’s début wasn’t without mistakes. Rudock said that his late-game interception against Northern Illinois stuck in the back of his mind for some time after Iowa’s 30-27 loss.

“It made me upset,” Rudock said. “You don’t want to do that to your team, especially with all the effort and hard work that you put in. When it finally sunk in, you just have to say, ‘All right, it’s over, keep your head up, shoulders back, be ready to go, because the next week is already here.’ ”

Iowa not overlooking Missouri State

Missouri State, Iowa’s opponent on Saturday, doesn’t turn many heads on a normal day. It plays in the Football Championship Subdivision — often known as teams looking for money to lose games.
Not anymore.

Last weekend, eight championship-subdivision programs — including Northern Iowa over Iowa State — beat Football Bowl Subdivision teams that “should have” beaten them. It’s causing a commotion around the college football world.

“It’s pretty awakening for everybody,” Ferentz said. “If you’re not paying attention, that’s a good thing to be mindful of. We have played FCS teams before, and there’s nothing easy about winning at any level. I think, you know, eight teams found that out last week.”

It makes no difference that the Hawkeyes have never lost to an championship-subdivision opponent. The Hawkeyes are treating the Bears as if they would any other. Defensive back Jordan Lomax seemed focused on the game plan against the Bears, praising their wide receiving corps and emphasizing that “on paper” matchups don’t matter.”

“If you just look at the paper, you never know,” Lomax said. “You have to prepare for them as if you would any other team. We don’t really listen to the noise … You never want to get a big head. Just because you can beat a team on paper doesn’t mean you can beat them on the field — that gets reinforced a lot. We can’t slack or anything just because we’re playing Missouri State. You have to approach it as if you would any other opponent.”


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