Notebook: Iowa football prepared to face Michigan


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Devin Gardner may not be having the season he — or Michigan fans — thought he would have. But that doesn’t that Iowa’s defense is underestimating No. 98.

The junior has thrown 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushed for 10 TDs. And the Hawkeyes are ready to face yet another quarterback who can pass from inside the pocket and make plays on his feet.

“He’s a mobile quarterback, but he’s a different kind of mobile than some of the other quarterbacks we play,” linebacker James Morris said. “More of his success is when he does things on his own as opposed to designed runs, a lot of what we’ve seen with Jordan Lynch, Braxton [Miller], Kain Colter. He’s probably more organic in that sense. That’s a different challenge for us.”

Safety Tanner Miller notes that the Hawkeyes saw Gardner last season after he replaced Denard Robinson when the latter went down with an injury. Gardner later took over the starting job for good when Robinson switched to a wide receiver and running back role.

“He’s another guy that we’ve seen a lot of — guys that can extend plays with their feet,” Miller said. “He’s one of the better pocket passers we’ll see as well. We have to be ready for both aspects of that. It kind of helps that we got our first glimpse of him last year. Hopefully, we can look back on that, and know what to expect, and hopefully put a good game plan together.”

Alvis works towards playing time

Iowa’s lone defensive linemen Dominic Alvis hasn’t played a snap of college football since the Hawkeyes hosted Michigan State on Oct. 5, when he played a single series before leaving with an injury.

The senior has been sidelined ever since with a back injury, replaced by Mike Hardy, who has found success at the end of the defensive line. But head coach Kirk Ferentz said that Alvis is “working a little bit” towards getting back on the football field.

“It’s just a matter of how long he can go or how effectively he can play,” Ferentz said. “We got a little bit of a look at him. We’ll see what this week brings, but it’s kind of day-to-day, actually.”

Morris family to have special moment on Senior Day

Saturday’s matchup against the Wolverines will be a special moment for Morris and his family.

Not only will the linebacker take to the center of the field to be recognized as one of the team’s 15 seniors, but he’ll be joined by father Greg Morris, the team’s equipment manager who has been able to reap the benefits of doing his job and spending time with his son for the last four years.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz, who has seen two of his owns sons go through the same process, was asked during his media availability what he would tell Greg Morris in preparation for the moment, and answered simply, “Good luck.”

“You should get used to it, but you don’t,” Ferentz said. “It’s always a little bit bittersweet that way.”

The 15-year head coach believes that the situation has been beneficial for both Morrises, saying that the elder Morris is “stealing time as a dad” by being a member of the program.

“Greg will probably tell you that because James could have gone to a lot of schools,” Ferentz said. “If [James is] somewhere else, those are moments you don’t get. Anytime you can steal time with your kids, it’s no different for any parent, whether it’s taking your kid to breakfast or whatever, just riding in the car with them, those are good things. Anytime you get with them, that’s bonus time, and I imagine that’s pretty good for both those guys.”

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