When Iowa football kicks off the 2019 season on Saturday night against Miami-Ohio, it will be the fifth time these two programs play.
The Hawkeyes have won the four prior meetings and Iowa enters the game as big favorites once again, but preparing for the RedHawks is a little more challenging this season.
“Just never sure who’s going to show up first of all, who they are going to play, and what amount,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said.
There are plenty of unknowns when preparing for the first opponent of any season, but the Hawkeyes face a unique situation as they get ready for the miami redhawks: The possibility of playing against three different quarterbacks on Saturday night.
“It’s not easy, but you gotta do it,” Iowa junior linebacker Nick Niemann said. “Just try and mimic it with the scouts the best you can, watching tape on what they’ve shown.”
None of the RedHawks’ potential signal callers have ever started a college football game. Kirk Ferentz says the unfamilarity simplifies the defensive scheme, at least at the beginning of the game.
“It minimizes some of the things you may do or may not do, and you kind of get a little bit more generic,” Ferentz said. “And I think the bottom line, especially early on, is let’s make sure we’re really solid, make sure we’re fundamentally sound, and everybody has got to be on the same page.”
Another challenge to preparing for multiple quarterbacks is that the RedHawks could have both a lefty and a righty in the mix. Junior safety Geno Stone says that will put a premium on communication.
“Try and figure out which way they’re gonna rollout, which way they’re gonna run the ball, what side the quarterback feels comfortable on,” Stone said. “So really just trying to adjust to really the first drive and the first half. It’s gonna be a tough adjustment for us.”
“We just gotta play our keys and play our defense, whether it’s the first-string quarterback, second-string quarterback or third-string quarterback,” Iowa senior defensive lineman Cedrick Lattimore said. “We just gotta adjust to it and adjust to what we see.”
Whoever gets the nod at quarterback for Miami will be trying to end the program’s 14-game losing streak to Big Ten opponents. It’s going to be a tall task against that Iowa defense, though, as the Hawkeyes have allowed just 10 points combined in the past two season openers.
Opening week Hawkeye Headquarters coverage is presented by The Robinson Group brokered by eXp Realty.
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