Before taking a bit of a bye week break, the Hawkeye 10 @ 10 includes LeShun Daniels, Jake Rudock and a day on the golf course are all part your 10 a.m. Iowa update.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. When junior Mark Weisman went down with an injury, Iowa put the ball in the hands of Damon Bullock more frequently rather than turn to a true freshman in LeShun Daniels whose physical style is similar to that of Weisman.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said the lack of possessions in the game – Iowa had just 41 snaps prior to an 18-play drive late in the fourth quarter – and the performance of Bullock led to the decision not to go deeper into the bench.
“A lot of it was just the way the game was going,’’ Ferentz said, referencing the nine three-and-out situations Iowa’s offense found itself in. “Probably not the best time in the world to get him in. Damon stepped in and did a great job. He’s been playing well.’’
2. Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis has been pleased with the production he has seen from starting quarterback Jake Rudock.
He points to the Hawkeyes’ first scoring drive in Saturday’s game against Michigan State as an example.
“I think three out of the four completions, they came after Jake,’’ Davis said. “He had hot balls to Damon Bullock that he got out his hands, saw their blitz.’’
Davis said coaches are also pleased with the plays Rudock has made with his feet.
“When you look at our third-down conversions, we’re much better than we were last year at this time and part of the reason has been Jake’s ability to make plays with his feet,’’ Davis said.
3. Some of Iowa’s most veteran players were among the injured in Saturday’s game against Michigan State.
Kevonte Martin-Manley, Mark Weisman, Christian Kirksey, Dominic Alvis, James Morris and Brandon Scherff were among players who missed at least a few snaps during the loss to the Spartans and coach Kirk Ferentz said all are being given time to heal this week.
“If we were playing Saturday, we’d probably be in trouble but hopefully by the end of this week, the start of next week we should be good,’’ Ferentz said.
4. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz insists that he wasn’t jesting Saturday when he suggested that he may scrap notions of attempting to return punts after watching the Hawkeyes get burned on a fake punt for the second time this season.
“We may just try to catch it and keep it off the ground,’’ he said.
5. Iowa will practice through Thursday this week before coach Kirk Ferentz gives his team a bit of a break.
Coaches will recruit on Friday – although Ferentz said a more extensive recruiting effort is likely during the Hawkeyes’ second bye week in November – and players will be given Friday and Saturday off before beginning Ohio State preparations.
“With a little bit of luck, maybe some of them can get a home-cooked meal over the weekend since they don’t get that opportunity on Thanksgiving anymore,’’ Ferentz said.
6. Iowa’s next opponent, Ohio State, is also in the midst of a bye week this week.
Coach Urban Meyer said his team’s focus is centered around making gains in the passing game on both sides of the ball.
“We put such a concentration on defending the run that I feel like our pass defense isn’t where it should be and we’re going to work on that this week,’’ Meyer said. “It’s not just coverage. It’s the pass rush, everything.’’
And on offense, Meyer said the Buckeyes’ passing attack “has room to grow.’’
“We need to get more consistent there and we have some time now to work on it,’’ he said.
7. Hawkeye cornerback Jordan Lomax, who returned on special teams last week after missing four games with a hamstring injury, is being eased back into his role on defense.
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“I think he’s still not moving the way he was, he’s a little bit rusty,’’ defensive coordinator Phil Parker said. “We’re trying to gradually get him back. This week will be a good week to try to give him some actual work and see where he’s at.’’
8. Individually, only one Hawkeye leads the Big Ten in any statistical category.
The Hawkeyes’ Kevonte Martin-Manley leads the conference in punt returns with an average of 25.8 yards.
Iowa also leads the league as a team in that category.
9. After a hard-fought win at Northwestern on Saturday, the coach of Iowa’s next opponent took a breather Sunday.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spent the first day of the Buckeyes’ bye week watching Presidents Club singles matches at the Murfield Village Golf Club in Columbus.
According to the Associated Press, he stood behind the first tee, greeting players and posing for pictures with an earlier Ohio State legend, Jack Nicklaus, in addition to chatting with friends.
Meyer didn’t have to travel far to watch the action. His home sits off the course’s seventh fairway.
10. Iowa returned to the practice field Tuesday to begin bye-week work.
The focus will be on fundamentals and development, while coaches will spend one eye on the future.
Iowa has not played two of its next three opponents, Ohio State and Wisconsin since 2010, and coaches will spend additional time on getting to know those two opponents and less time than usual during a bye week on recruiting.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said the Hawkeyes’ second bye week in mid-November will include additional time for coaches spent on recruiting.
“That was kind of our plan from day one anyway,’’ Ferentz said. “The next series of games involve new preparations for us for the most part. This gives us a chance to focus on our team and, then secondly focus on the teams we have coming up and emphasize recruiting a little bit more during the second (bye week).’’