There's a lot of uncertainty for the Hawkeyes as they get ready for their opener on Saturday against Northern Illinois. One thing that is certain, Iowa has owned the Huskies, going 7-0 all-time in the series, including a 16-3 win in their last meeting five years ago, also at Chicago's Soldier Field.
The offensive coordinator is new. The defensive coordinator is new and the head coach seems to have turned over a new leaf. It's a new season in Iowa City and a new attitude to go along with it.
"I think there's a little bit more energy, a little bit more buzz around the program and I think that's what change does for you," says Iowa center James Ferentz. "It can be a good thing or it can be a really bad thing. I think we've done a great job of making it a very positive transition."
The Hawks will field their youngest team in Kirk Ferentz' 14 seasons this year. At least four true freshman will play in the opener and some think it could work in Iowa's favor.
"Inexperience can be one of those things, an excuse and a negative or it can be a positive," said James Ferentz. "You can use it as a hunger to prove yourself. I think we've got a lot of young guys who are eager to get out there and show what they can do."
"Every steps going to be an adventure and every step can hopefully be a learning experience," said Kirk Ferentz. "We feel like we have the potential to be a good football team but we really have to maximize our opportunities."
One of the true freshman expected to get playing time for the Hawks is Bishop Heelan grad Michael Malloy. He's listed as the second string running back along with another freshman Greg Garmon. Both will be behind starter Damon Bullock.
Coach Ferentz said the two freshman have "grown up quick" and said Malloy has done a good job recovering from a knee injury suffered during his senior year at Heelan.
It's been five years since the Hawkeyes last played at Soldier Field. None of the players on this year's Hawkeye team were around back in 2007. You would think they'd be a little excited to play at Soldier Field, an NFL stadium, but they're really not.
"I have family in Chicago and I told them we were coming down to play at Soldier Field. They were excited. More excited than I am," said wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley.
"I'm not too worried about it," said Iowa safety Nico Law. "I heard the field was kind of bad so I'm not too excited about that."
The Hawks will be worried about what they're playing on but they're also worried about who they'll be playing against. This Saturday, Northern Illinois will try to extend the nation's longest winning streak to ten.
Iowa and Northern Illinois play at 2:30 Saturday on ESPN U.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KTIV Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Clayton at (712) 239-4100 x209. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.