IOWA CITY, Ia. – They’re really not different. Not all that much anyway.
Phil Parker is Norm Parker – only with another first name — and that’s not a bad thing for the Iowa football team.
Their defensive philosophies are the same – so far anyway — as the Hawkeyes prepare for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Michigan State.
Phil, the new coordinator, likes to blitz just a little, same as the Parker who retired after last season. Phil prefers similar coverage with the defensive backs, too.
The results have been seamless –the Hawkeyes had solid defenses for 13 seasons under Norm, and entered the weekend No. 21 in the national statistics this season under Phil.
“It helps that (Phil Parker) has been in the program for as long as he has,” cornerback Micah Hyde said during a recent Tuesday chat with reporters. “There’s really not been any transition. We’re doing a lot of the same things.”
They’re averaging 1.4 a game this season, compared to 1.7 in 2011.
“It all depends on the timing of it, the situation of the game, and how you feel,” Parker said when meeting with reporters Tuesday. “The more you use it, they’re going to start picking it up and seeing it. If you do it once in a while, holy cow, it’s a surprise to them a little bit.
“But we’ve never been a big blitzing team. I think we’re maybe about 17, 18 percent over the last couple of years. That’s probably right where we’re at right about now, too.”
Phil talked in the spring about defensive backs putting more pressure on receivers at the line of scrimmage. So far, it hasn’t happened much.
“We’ve done some early in the games, and probably to a fault,” Parker said. “Sometimes quarterbacks just drop back and throw the ball up.
“You’ve got press coverage, they’re going to throw a fade, and usually you’re going to get pass interference or the guy is going to catch the ball. That’s the way I look at it.
“Sometimes we’re going to have to mix it up, and sometimes I don’t always want them pressed
just to give them the fade. If they’re going to go up and press, press it late.”
Caliber of opponents aside. . . .
Iowa had the top overall defense of the five Big Ten Conference teams with new coordinators before Saturday’s games.
New Defensive coordinator, School Total defensive average
Phil Parker, Iowa 315.0 yards per game
Tim Banks, Illinois 340.2 yards per game
John Papuchis, Nebraska 340.8 yards per game
Tim Tibesar, Purdue 354.5 yards per game
Ted Roof, Penn State 376.4 yards per game
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football