TAMPA, Fla. — Iowa won’t be the only physical football team on the field at Monday’s Outback Bowl.
The Hawkeyes are preparing for a physical challenge from the Gators in the noon game at Raymond James Stadium.
“They run some Power-O stuff like a lot of Big Ten teams,’’ Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell said. “They do have speed, which you’d expect from an SEC team, but they mix it with some power, too. We’ll have to be ready for anything.’’
Some of that power comes from the strength of an offensive front that is anchored by 6-foot-6, 357-pound junior David Sharpe and 6-5, 340-pound Jawaan Taylor at the tackle positions.
“When they’ve wanted to run the ball this season, they’ve been able to do that,’’ Hawkeye linebacker Bo Bower said. “They’re big guys have decent quickness, too. It’s a good offense that we’re getting ready to face.’’
NOTHING COMPARES: Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said Iowa’s defense will present the Gators with a different type of test.
He said Saturday that the Hawkeyes’ style of defense really doesn’t compare to anything the Gators have seen in the Southeastern Conference this year.
“There are teams that have some similarities with what they do, but I do not really see a team to compare them with in the SEC,’’ Nussmeier said.
Iowa and its defensive look is not foreign to Nussmeier.
He worked as the offensive coordinator on John L. Smith’s staff at Michigan State from 2003-05. Before joining Jim McElwain’s staff at Florida two years ago, he didn’t have to prepare for the Hawkeyes but saw them on tape as the offensive coordinator for Brady Hoke in his final season at Michigan.
“They’re a physical team that runs their scheme exceptionally well,’’ Nussmeier said. ”That part hasn’t changed.’’
BACK TO SCHOOL: There will be no day-before-the-game walkthrough at Raymond James Stadium for either the Hawkeyes or Gators.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host Carolina in an NFL game at the facility this afternoon, shifting the final walkthroughs for both teams to the practice facilities they have used the past week.
Iowa will wrap-up its pregame work with a late-morning walkthrough at the University of Tampa, while Florida will hold its final prep of the season at the Tampa Jesuit High School this afternoon.
POSTSEASON VET: This will be the second bowl experience for Iowa punter Ron Coluzzi, but it will be the first where somebody doesn’t walk off with the grill being used to cook his team’s food.
Coluzzi was playing on special teams for Central Michigan when it played in the 2014 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl and he learned a quick lesson about the poverty in that country when the Chippewas were escorted everywhere they went because of concerns about crime.
Those concerns became reality the night before the game.
“They put out some grills for the Popeyes chicken they were going to feed us after the game and they were stolen. There were four grills stolen before the game, so they didn’t have chicken ready,’’ Coluzzi said.
“It was interesting going through the towns and getting to the practice field. It makes you grateful for what you have. You appreciate the everyday things, like running water.’’
IT WILL BE APPLEBY: Nussmeier said the Gators will have both quarterbacks who have started this season available to face the Hawkeyes.
“Austin (Appleby) is going to start, but Luke (Del Rio) is going to be ready to play,’’ Nussmeier said.
Both have started six games this season for Florida.
SHANNON SHUFFLE: It’s been an injury-filled season for the Gators and only two starters, Sharpe and cornerback Quincy Wilson, have started every game for Florida.
With three linebackers out and two more defenders questionable for the Outback Bowl, it’s been business as usual for Gators defensive coordinator Randy Shannon.
“You’ve got to coach them all like they are first-round picks, coach them like they are all-Americans, coach ‘em up and get them ready to go,’’ said Shannon, the head coach at Miami (Fla.) from 2007-10.
“You have to go with who you have, but you want them to be as confident as they can be. If they weren’t capable, they wouldn’t be here.’’