We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Iowa sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
So let’s get to it. Today is Friday, Sept. 30, and this is your Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call.
Captain, my captain
Former Iowa offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga will serve as the honorary captain for the Northwestern game on Saturday.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) September 29, 2016
Bulaga lettered for Iowa from 2007-09. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a junior. He was the 23rd overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2010. Bulaga is able to attend the game because Green Bay is on a bye this week.
Running to solve the receiver problem
One of the first things Iowa running back LeShun Daniels thought of when assessing the broken foot of wide receiver Matt VandeBerg wasn’t the passing attack. It was the ground game.
The way Daniels sees it, the running game, including himself, must play a bigger role in the offense to offset the Hawkeyes having lost their top receiver.
“As a running back, we are going to have to run the ball consistently throughout the entire ball game and help out the passing game, help out the guys and help out (quarterback) C.J. (Beathard),” Daniels said.
It all makes sense. Iowa wants to run the football. It ran the ball last week, gaining 193 rushing yards at Rutgers. Probably everyone, including Northwestern, expects Iowa to lean on the running game come Saturday.
Iowa recently put forth an offer to Lincoln High School (Ohio) shooting guard Jordan Mitchell.
— Jordan Mitchell (@jay_mitch23) September 28, 2016
Mitchell is a four-star Rivals.com 2019 prospect. He’s 6 feet 6 and 185 pounds.
Here are some Mitchell highlights.
What’s the problem?
Where does blame need to go for the Iowa run defense issues? Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson says blame him.
“I don’t feel like I’m doing a good enough job as far as playing proper blocks or proper on face,” Johnson said.
Kudos to Johnson for taking ownership of the issue. Iowa is 11th in the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing 174.3 yards per game. Runs in the middle have been a problem. So has the defensive interior players getting off of blocks.
The Iowa defenders were repeatedly asked this week about solving the issue. Johnson had a solution for that, too: “It’s a matter of us doing what we need to do.”
It’s simple. It’s cliche. It’s also the truth. Saturday, the Hawkeyes will need to slow down its first read-option offense of the season.
“We’ve seen it enough,” Johnson said. “We know what to expect.”
Johnson knows better than to think there won’t be a few new run game wrinkles from the Wildcats.
“Come game time, you are also going to get different looks,” Johnson said. “It’s never going to be the same in practice.”
Links, links and more links
Former Iowa baseball coach Duane Banks is the 2017 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award recipient. | Chris Cuellar, of the Des Moines Register, took an in-depth look at Iowa defensive end commit A.J. Epenesa. | Zach Johnson didn’t attend Iowa, but he is an Iowa fan and he’ll be playing in the opening session of the Ryder Cup today.