How two young backs figure into Michigan’s plans, just how effective Jordan Canzeri has been with the ball in his hands and the death of a former Hawkeye coach. All are part of today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.
Appearing daily at 10 a.m. at hawkmania.com, here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:
1. True freshmen running backs Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith gave Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges a peak into the future last weekend.
Assisted by improved offensive line play, the pair combined for 120 yards on the ground against Northwestern and mostly the pair impressed Borges with the physical nature of their game.
“They’re big backs that will dip their pads and finish runs because that’s the way they run,’’ Borges said. “Not all runners are like that.’’
Mostly, Borges likes the potential he sees in two backs that fit well with the style of play that coach Brady Hoke wants to play.
“If you can get a rhythm running the ball, just like a rhythm passing the ball, you can pound the other team into submission,’’ Borges said. “It didn’t reach that point last week, but I’ve seen it happen, had it happen. Big backs are the best at doing that because after a while people get tired of tackling them.’’
2. The coach of Iowa’s last winless football team died Wednesday at the age of 88.
Frank Lauterbur coached the Hawkeyes to a 4-28-1 record from 1971-73 and was ousted following an 0-11 season in what would be his final year as a college head coach.
The first of three Hawkeye coaches hired by Bump Elliott, Lauterbur arrived at Iowa after coaching Toledo to a 48-32-2 record from 1963-70. He left the Mid-American Conference program after leading Toledo to a 23-game winning streak.
Lauterbur worked as both the athletic director and coach at Toledo before taking over an Iowa program that was in the midst of a string of 19 straight seasons where it failed to finish above .500.
3. Iowa’s defense continues to be salty against the run.
The Hawkeyes have held nine of the 10 opponents they have faced below their season rushing average and has allowed four rushing touchdown, tied for the second-lowest total in the nation.
In the red zone, Iowa has given up nine touchdowns on the year, which is the second-lowest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
4. The way Michigan’s field goal unit responded in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime at Northwestern on Saturday, sprinting onto the field and executing, continues to attract attention.
Coach Brady Hoke said it was no accident that the Wolverines converted.
“We spend time on that during fall camp and its part of a script that we have, moving the field, and every Friday we go through it,’’ Hoke said. “I don’t think you can get enough preparation for something like that and it was pleasing to see how the kids and coaches put everything together when it was needed.’’
5. Bittersweet is the word coach Kirk Ferentz uses to describe the emotions of Senior Day and how it impacts a football team and the parents of players involved.
“It’s an emotional day and there is no getting around that,’’ said Ferentz, who participates in his 15th senior day as Iowa’s head coach Saturday and has taken part in two as the father of Hawkeye players.
“It’s a tricky equation, probably a little different for every player.’’
6. After sitting last week against Northwestern, Michigan’s leading running back will play against Iowa.
Fitzgerald Toussaint has returned to practice after suffering a slight concussion a week ago and actually practiced late last week but sat out because of missed practice time.
“He’ll be fine,’’ coach Brady Hoke said. “He could have played Saturday. He’s healthy.’’
Toussaint suffered a season-ending leg injury in last year’s 42-17 win over Iowa.
7. Kevonte Martin-Manley continues to rank among national leaders in punt return average.
Although he has returned just punts since the start of Big Ten play, the junior ranks third nationally with an average of 18.8 yards per return. He has averaged 6.4 yards against conference opponents.
8. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said the Wolverines will arrive in Iowa City on Saturday coming off of their best overall defensive game of the season.
“From start to finish, it was as well as we’ve played,’’ he said, referring to the team’s effort in a triple-overtime game against Northwestern. “We saw guys playing as hard as they can. You’re not going to stop everybody on every play in the way the game is played today, but I thought our guys did a good job.’’
The Wolverines gave up 322 yards in the win.
9. Michigan coach Brady Hoke has a history of sticking to short sleeves on the sidelines, something that might be tested by Saturday’s weather in Iowa City.
With a high temperature of 25 and winds of 20-to-30 miles per hour expected, Hoke is contemplating slipping into a jacket.
“If I was a smart guy I would,’’ he said. “We’ll see how it goes.’’
10. How effective has Jordan Canzeri been while leading Iowa in rushing in its last two games?
The junior has averaged 8.9 yards per carry, totaling 223 yards on 25 rushes.
For the season, Canzeri has averaged 6.9 yards on 49 carries, a number that ranks third in the Big Ten.
His 20 carries against Purdue were two shy of his previous career high. Canzeri carried the ball 22 times for 58 yards in Iowa’s 2011 Insight Bowl loss to Oklahoma.