Mark Dantonio talks about the crowded quarters at Kinnick Stadium and what the return of a healthy Jordan Lomax means to Iowa’s cornerback depth chart are part of today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10.
Here is your daily dose of Hawkeye news and notes, something you can count on each weekday at 10 a.m. at hawkmania.com:
1. Iowa center Austin Blythe believes the Iowa’s ability to run the ball successfully is a byproduct of offseason work.
“It goes back to November and then the time we spent with coach (Chris) Doyle and his staff in the weight room during the offseason,’’ Blythe said. “I know I made strides and I feel like we all did with the core conditioning work we put in and we’re seeing that pay off now. It was all about getting fundamentally better.’’
2. The crowded quarters on the sidelines at Kinnick Stadium were among the topics that Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was asked about at his weekly news conference.
“I used to think that at Michigan State (the fans) were right on top of you and I still feel like that. They are right there, but in Iowa City, they’re nice and tight there,’’ Dantonio said. “I’m sure we’ll show them a couple of plays from the sideline. They can probably read them right off the board.’’
3. Quarterback Jake Rudock likes more than the speed Damond Powell brings to the field for Iowa.
“He’s a fiery guy,’’ Rudock said. “He’s excitable. You’ll look over at the sideline and he’ll be over there yelling and getting everybody going. He’s just a guy who loves to play football and you can see that in the way he plays the game.’’
4. A healthy Jordan Lomax is back on the practice field this week for Iowa, creating additional competition for the true freshman who replaced him in the starting line up at cornerback four games ago, Desmond King.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said coaches will simply play this week as it goes and then re-evaluate the situation next week during the Hawkeyes’ bye week.
“Jordan really has only played part of one game and King is really the veteran there right now, which seems funny to talk about a guy who was in high school six months ago like that, but he’s been able to practice and play,’’ Ferentz said. “That’s where we’re at right now.’’
The return of a healthy Maurice Fleming and the work of Sean Draper has added additional competition in the secondary as well.
“Hopefully, we will have a healthy combination when all is said and done,’’ Ferentz said.
5. Defensive tackle Carl Davis is preparing for two tough challenges this week.
It begins with the challenge presented by Michigan State’s offense, and continues with the challenge of hearing from family and friends from his home state of Michigan.
“It’s another game and everything, but you do always hear from a few more people this week. It’s mostly family and friends, wishing you well or letting you know they’ll be watching,’’ Davis said. “When we go up there, it’s more about tickets and stuff. It’s something you deal with when you play a team from the home state.’’
6. Michigan State’s defense has scored four touchdowns this season, tied for the most among teams at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Shilique Calhoun has collected three of those scores, including a pair on fumble recoveries and one on an interception return. Kurtis Drummond has the other on a 21-yard interception return against Western Michigan in the Spartans’ 26-13 season-opening win over a team Iowa defeated 59-3 on Sept. 21.
7. Iowa received one vote this week in the USA Today coaches poll.
It’s the first vote the Hawkeyes have received in either of the major polls since the week of Nov. 7, 2011.
Iowa is among seven Big Ten teams which received votes in polls this week.
8. The Hawkeyes’ running attack took a turn to the left last week, running 22 plays to the left side among its 39 designed run plays, but to converted center Conor Boffeli it doesn’t really matter which direction Iowa goes.
“Spending my first three years here, I went right or left all the time so I’m used to moving in either direction and it’s no big deal to me,’’ Boffeli said. “As long as it works, I don’t have a preference.’’
9. Iowa has an estimated 2,000 tickets remaining for Saturday’s game and has tickets left for the Hawkeyes’ three other Big Ten home games as well.
Fewer than 2,000 tickets remain for a Nov. 2 home game against Wisconsin, while around 4,000 tickets remain for games on Oct. 26 vs. Northwestern and Nov. 23 vs. Michigan.
10. As part of homecoming week festivities at Iowa, tonight is sports night.
A number of Hawkeye athletes and mascot Herky will be on hand at the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame beginning at 6 p.m. to sign autographs and meet and greet fans in a free event.