Hawkeyes have seen their flaws, now it's about correcting them
IOWA CITY — Tyler Linderbaum really didn’t want to see the game film from Iowa’s 10-3 football loss at Michigan.
The Hawkeyes’ center knew he and the rest of the offensive line played a big role in the eight sacks surrendered to the Wolverines on Saturday, and that was a horror show he didn’t want to relive.
But there was enough of the dissection of video to realize that what the Hawkeyes need to clean up better happen soon.
Penn State is up next for the Hawkeyes in this Saturday’s 6:44 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium. The Nittany Lions, of course, lead Football Bowl Subdivision play in sacks, and had 10 sackes in last week’s 35-7 win over Purdue.
“I mean, after looking over film, we know that it’s little detail things,” Linderbaum said on Tuesday.
Those missed details have built a blueprint for future opponents, and don’t think the Nittany Lions haven’t already picked at those flaws.
“Yeah, if you put something on tape that you didn’t pick up, you have to expect another team to bring that at you,” Linderbaum said.
The Hawkeyes said they have moved on, not that they have much choice. There is no break, especially with the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions next.
Penn State has given up an average of 7.4 points per game to lead the nation — the Hawkeyes, at 8.5 per game, are third — and lead the nation in tackles for loss as well.
It seemed strange to hear, but Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, who absorbed all of those sacks from the Wolverines, believes it is good a new challenge comes so soon.
“I think that’s honestly the best thing that can happen for us,” Stanley said. “We know these guys are a great defense, tops in the nation in a lot of statistical categories. We know that there’s no time to feel sorry for us, that we have to get back on the horse and prepare and get ready to play.”
“Their defense is very good,” Iowa running back Toren Young said. “Their defensive line sticks out. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re physical. They bring different blitzes and pressure. So we’ll have to be locked in on those things when it comes to pressure.”
“There's no one magic answer,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We didn't play consistently enough. There are some good plays in there, certainly, and (we) didn't play consistently enough. The negative-yardage plays are always going to affect you and part of that was our lack of execution — maybe part of that's Michigan, being a really athletic, aggressive defensive team — but that being said, we are looking at the same kind of opponent this week.
“Penn State has got great athletes and they play hard and can be very disruptive, too. We are going to have to hopefully have a little tighter plan maybe and be a little bit tighter with our technique and a little better, more cohesive in our play.”
Stanley didn’t seem to lack confidence when speaking during the players’ media availability in the morning. Ferentz isn’t worried about his senior quarterback.
“First point is, it was a team loss,” Ferentz said. “We didn't do enough to help him and I'm sure there are plays he could have done better on, too. It was a team loss. We all have a hand in that.
“It's going to be a team effort to get back up on our feet, and the challenge for him is the same challenge we have as a football team right now — we got knocked down.”
Iowa had just one rushing yard, a total altered by the 65 yards of loss because of the sacks. The Hawkeyes also had eight penalties.
“Nobody feels good about what happened, certainly and really nobody feels worse than the people right there on the front,” Ferentz said. “The secret is what can you do to move forward. How do you avoid from having days like that again, that type of deal.
“But it's a team effort. Everybody has to do a little bit better, starting right at the top.”
“You just forget about it,” wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette said. “You know you took a loss. But ultimately, it’s the next week. New game, new team. You can’t let it linger. I would say, just let it go. All you should be preparing for is Penn State, not looking at Michigan, or whatever happened last week.”
“You can’t sulk about this,” wide receiver Nico Ragaini said. “And that’s how we’ve responded. The game’s behind us, our goals are still there, and we’re ready to go.”