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Iowa football: 5 questions about the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] October 17, 2012 |

What will Iowa miss most of Mark Weisman doesn’t play?

If true freshman Greg Garmon starts Saturday, then quarterback James Vandenberg better be prepared to be mobile. It’s tough enough to veteran backs to figure out which defender to block on blitzing situations, let alone a collegiate rookie.

Luckily for Vanenberg and Iowa, Penn State at least isn’t the No. 1 team in the Big Ten when it comes to sacks. That’s Nebraska, with 21 in six games. The Nittany Lions aren’t bad, though, checking in at No. 4 with 15.

Greg Garmon finds yardage during this season’s victory against Northern Iowa. (David Purdy / Register photo)

If Garmon can’t handle Penn State’s heat, then look for the Hawkeyes to have fullback Brad Rogers as Vandenberg’s backfield protector, and then use Garmon as a receiver in the slot.

Rank you keys to winning the Penn State game

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With momentum and enthusiasm peaking again, can Iowa actually sneak up and win the Big Ten Legends Division?

Absolutely, especially this season when there’s no clear favorite. It’s an easy formula: win the rest of the games, and prepare to meet the Leaders Division representative in the Big Ten championship game.

Michigan, the other Legends unbeaten, has road games against Nebraska and Ohio State still on its schedule. The Wolverines also must host Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa. Nebraska has road games at Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa, and faces Michigan and Penn State at home. So as the cliché goes, the Hawkeyes control their destiny.

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How will Iowa’s offense be different without Weisman?

Let’s put it this way: Mark Weisman weighs 235 pounds and teammates claim he’s one of the five strongest players on the team. Need more? Greg Garmon is listed at 200, and they call Jordan Canzeri 180. Weisman is power. Garmon and Canzeri are slash-and-dashers. Garmon compared to Weisman?

“He’s about 60 pounds smaller,” Ferentz said. “Weisman you can see a lot easier, and if Weisman is coming at you, he might try to run you over. That’s the biggest thing. Every back is different. Jordan showed us a lot last December, and I think he’s capable. He’s certainly capable. Garmon’s going to be fine.”

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Did anyone really expect Iowa and Penn State to be leading their divisions right now?

Certainly not the media; both the Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions were predicted to be also-rans in their respective divisions. Here’s what Ferentz said when asked about that Tuesday:

“To me, it’s not surprising,” he said. “I mean, Penn State has had great players, and they have still got great players. They’ve had great success, and they are having great success now, so that part doesn’t shock me. I was hoping to be undefeated totally, but we are not. I’m an optimist every year.”

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Jordan Cotton has had some big plays. What’s his story?

Patiently, Jordan Cotton has waited for his time to be a significant receiver and kick returner. The only thing keeping him from a 75-yard touchdown kickoff return for a touchdown last Saturday was an illegal blocking penalty. He’s got talent, he just hasn’t had an opportunity to show it.

“He was kind of a ghost man a year ago,” Ferentz said. “He really wasn’t doing much on Saturdays for us. He’s worked hard. I know James Vandenberg spent a lot of time with him this summer, and continues to do that. And again, it’s an example of the seniors really reaching out and trying to bring guys along. Jordan is a guy who has made those third-down catches. All of a sudden, he’s finding out it’s fun. It’s neat when you see a player really start to enjoy it.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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