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Iowa football: 5 questions and answers about the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] October 31, 2012 |

Below: Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register answers five questions from Hawkeye football fans. Above: Peterson talked to Iowa running back Damon Bullock on Tuesday in Iowa City.

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How many yards will Damon Bullock rush for Saturday?

That’s an interesting question. After missing four games in a row while recovering from a concussion, the tailback is running healthy again and more important, on fresh legs. While most football players have played eight games, this will be Bullock’s fifth.

Indiana isn’t good defending the rush. Matter of fact, conference teams average 265.8 rushing yards a game against the Hoosiers’ defense. Seven players have 100-yard rushing games against them. Bullock responded to his first game in more than a month with 107 yards on 22 carries against Northwestern. His rust is gone. If healthy again, he could get 150 on Saturday.

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How is Indiana’s offense different without quarterback Tre Roberson?

Roberson is out for the season after breaking a leg in the second game against Massachusetts. He was a double-threat quarterback who passed for 937 yards and rushed for 426 last season, but that threat now is gone.

Replacements Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld are such pass-first quarterbacks that Indiana leads the Big Ten in passing yards. There’s a question, however, which one is better. Coffman was yanked after throwing a first-quarter interception last Saturday against Illinois. Sudfeld entered, and led the Hoosiers to their first league win.

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Why did Iowa remove freshman Drew Ott’s redshirt last Saturday?

Necessity. The defensive end from Nebraska was ready, but the plan certainly was to redshirt him until some of the defensive linemen started going down.

Here’s what coach Kirk Ferentz said about that Tuesday: “With Riley McMinn out, we just felt like we need to be playing six, seven, eight guys up there. Riley couldn’t go last week, and I don’t know if he’ll be able to go for a couple of weeks. (Ott) has been practicing really well. He’s picked things up pretty quickly. He doesn’t have the strength or girth you would hope at this point, but that’s what happens with first-year guys. It’s going to help him as we look forward. I think it’s a winwin situation.”

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Let’s say Iowa wins six games. What bowl awaits?

That’s a big if, considering the 4-4 Hawkeyes must win at least two more games to be under bowl consideration. But to you question, think Houston or Dallas if Iowa wins six games.

With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible and with the Big Ten as bad as it has been in a while, only the league champion is headed to the BCS. Still, the conference might have trouble filling its seven non-BCS bowl agreements, and that’s why the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston and the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas are in play.

Here’s the pecking order once the league champ goes to the Rose Bowl and assuming no other Big Ten team goes to the BCS: Capital One, Outback, Gator, Buffalo Wild Wings, Meineke Car Care, TicketCity, and Little Caesars Bowl.

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Pertaining to the old “not enough good high school players in Iowa” recruiting excuse, does lower population Nebraska use that excuse? Kansas State? And so on? They get good players from out of state and develop them. Why can’t Iowa do that?

Iowa needs an expanded recruiting base to be successful. Nebraska, for example, has four starters in Saturday’s Michigan State depth chart from California, three from Texas, and two from Florida — all high school football hotbeds. Among Saturday starters, Iowa has Bullock from Texas, and none from California or Florida. Ten are from the state of Iowa, and five are from Ohio (another solid spot to get HS recruits).

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Below is the transcript of Randy Peterson’s live chat held on Wednesday.

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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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