After a strong starting debut one week ago, Nico Law will be focusing on multiple Purdue quarterbacks on Saturday, all a part of today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10, your daily dose of Iowa football news and notes. The 10 @ 10 appears weekdays at approximately 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, updating you on the Hawkeyes, the Big Ten and Iowa’s upcoming opponents.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:
1. With crowded competition at quarterback – Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush have taken most of the snaps this season for Purdue – coach Danny Hope is finding ways to get a healthy Rob Henry involved in the Boilermakers’ offense.
He lined up at receiver, running back and quarterback in last week’s loss to Penn State and it is likely that Henry will continue to be heavily involved in Purdue’s plans for Saturday’s game at Iowa.
“A lot of our skill players are pretty average size-wise and at 6-foot-2, he gives us that bigger athlete that can really help,’’ Hope said. “He can do it all. We put a little thought into having him return punts for us. He brings a physicality to the field and gives us a chance to move the ball between the tackles. He’s going to help us a lot of ways.’’
2. Nico Law made his starting debut for Iowa last week at strong safety and coach Kirk Ferentz liked what he saw from the sophomore.
“First time he played a significant amount of time and it was something he can build off of certainly,’’ Ferentz said. “I think moving forward, one thing about playing, is that it makes you smarter if you let it, both during practice and as you get ready for the next game. As soon as you start to garner some experience, it can help you if you let it.’’
3. Iowa’s guards will face another challenge this week when it faces a veteran interior Purdue defense in Kawaan Short and Bruce Gaston at the tackle spots.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said that Austin Blythe and Nolan MacMillan at the guard positions must continue to grow after struggling with consistency issues last week against Indiana seniors Adam Replogle and Larry Black.
“They had a tough challenge. We said that going in, that they had two excellent inside players and they do. Now, we match up against another team that’s got two excellent inside guys,’’ Ferentz said.
“Both of those guys (Short and Gaston) have played well for a long time. They’re a little different style of player, but they’re both good players and they’re huge. Both of those guys are huge.’’
Short is 6-foot-5, 315 pounds and Gaston is 6-2, 303.
“Purdue has probably got one of the bigger fronts you’re going to play against defensively, including their outside linebacker,’’ Ferentz said, referring to 6-4, 249-pound Robert Maci.
4. Kevonte Martin-Manley is catching on as James Vandenberg’s primary receiver.
The junior wide receiver has caught 18 passes for 219 yards in Iowa’s last three games, including a career-best seven receptions in each of the Hawkeyes’ last two games.
5. Iowa has been playing people close this season.
Five of the Hawkeyes’ nine games have been decided by three points or less. Iowa is 2-3 in those games including splitting a pair of one-point decisions.
6. Three Hawkeyes are among players named to the Capital One academic all-District 6 football team.
Quarterback James Vandenberg, defensive lineman Steve Bigach and linebacker James Morris were each awarded first-team recognition and are now eligible for all-American consideration.
Vandenberg carries a 3.36 grade-point average in health and human physiology, Bigach is a 3.68 student in environment science while Morris is a political science major with a 3.80 GPA.
7. Adam Weckel of Bettendorf will be the Kid Captain for Saturday’s Iowa football game.
The 11-year-old son of Jamie and Julie Weckel will be recognized on turf at Kinnick Stadium prior to the 11 a.m. kickoff against Purdue.
Adam was nine months old when his parents noticed that his left forearm was swollen and doctors diagnosed that Weckel had extraosseous Ewing’s sarcoma. A cancerous tumor was removedand Weckel’s left forearm was amputated to give him what doctors said was his best chance for survival.
The Kid Captain program is jointly sponsored by the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and the Iowa athletics department. Now in its fourth year, the program shares the inspirational stories of youths and one individual is selected for each game, home and away. Those honored are recognized at a home Iowa football game during the course of the season.
8. Former Hawkeye offensive lineman Mike Ferroni will be the honorary captain for Saturday’s game against Purdue.
A four-year letterwinner from 1989-92, the Union, N.J. native was a second-team all-Big Ten selection as a senior in 1992. As an offensive guard, he helped open holes for Nick Bell in 1990 and Mike Saunders in 1991 to rush for more than 1,000 yards.
9. Because we knew you care and because there is a chance of rain in tomorrow’s forecast, Iowa is now 9-6 during the Kirk Ferentz era when the Hawkeyes have played games in the rain.
10. If the guy in the seat next to you is giving you problems, you can turn that rowdy fan into authorities at Kinnick Stadium this season.
Fans who observe disruptive behavior can send a text message to 57375 with the word “Alert,’’ the nature of the disruption and the location in the stadium included in the message. Fans can also phone in complaints to stadium security at (319) 384-3000 during games.