10 @ 10: Butler returns to practice
As James Butler adjusts to playing with a brace on his right elbow, Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin get more reps and Kirk Ferentz talks about one that got away.
That and more are part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.
Delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. The timing of graduate transfer James Butler’s return to action will largely be dependent on how quickly the graduate transfer adjusts to playing with a brace on the elbow he dislocated during a game against North Texas last month.
“We’re going to find out,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’ve had linemen with elbow issues, that type of thing, but I can’t remember one of these.’’
Butler has missed Iowa’s first three Big Ten games but is still the Hawkeyes’ second-leading rusher.
He has carried 36 times for 158 yards so far this season.
2. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley didn’t get a chance to watch any of C.J. Beathard’s performance Sunday for San Francisco, but he isn’t surprised that the former Hawkeye has positioned himself to start this weekend for the 49ers.
“He always pushed me to be prepared in case something happened to him,’’ Stanley said. “I’m sure he took the same approach. He was ready when he got his chance.’’
3. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson completed 27-of-49 passes last weekend in a 37-21 win at Maryland, throwing for 293 yards and a touchdown in addition to rushing for an 18-yard score.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior is a product of the same Wheaton North program which produced former Hawkeye Heisman runner-up Chuck Long.
Iowa was among a number of schools which attempted to recruit Thorson.
“He really stood out in our minds as a top prospect, tremendous young man, tremendous family,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “So check all the boxes there, just an outstanding young man and unfortunately we came up short. What he’s doing right now is not a surprise to us.’’
4. The bye week in Iowa’s schedule gave back-up running backs Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin additional reps in practice and a chance to work toward more significant playing time.
“They both looked better than they did a week ago,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The good thing about young players – and we’ve got a lot of them playing right now – is that if they practice well, if their mind is in the right place, they can improve a little bit more dramatically than a veteran guy. That’s something we’re banking on.’’
5. Ball security is something the Hawkeyes continue to hear plenty about.
Iowa’s takeaways against Illinois have now evened things out – the Hawkeyes have 11 takeaways and have given the ball away 11 times through six games – and coach Kirk Ferentz would like to see things continue to move in a positive direction.
“We’ve done more ball security work than ever this fall and maybe we are screwing this up. I’m starting to wonder about that,’’ Ferentz said. “But, it you keep emphasizing things, at some point you gain traction on it or you don’t and if you don’t, you’re going to have a problem.’’
6. Saturday’s opponent, Northwestern, has been finding its way into opponents backfields more frequently in recent games.
The Wildcats recorded nine tackles for loss in last weekend’s win at Maryland and have now recorded 21 tackles for a loss in their last two games including the 12 they recorded against Penn State.
Northwestern sacked Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley five times and recorded a pair of sacks last week against the Terrapins.
7. Justin Jackson rushed for 171 yards a year ago to help Northwestern earn a 38-31 win at Iowa, something that hasn’t been forgotten as the Hawkeyes prepare to face a back who last weekend became his program’s career rushing leader.
“I don’t think coming off the field anyone was pleased with how we played,’’ defensive end Parker Hesse said. “This is a new team, a new year, so you can’t really tread on those things too much but if people want to use that as motivation, by all means, I encourage that. But, you can’t dwell on it.’’
8. Iowa’s 4-2 record has come against opponents that have largely experienced strong starts to the season.
Of the six teams the Hawkeyes have played, only Illinois has a losing record at 2-4.
All three of the nonconference opponents Iowa beat – Wyoming, Iowa State and North Texas – are 4-2. Iowa’s two losses have come to a Penn State team which is unbeaten through six games and Michigan State, now 5-1.
“We’ve played a really competitive schedule,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Of the remaining six teams on the Hawkeyes’ schedule, only Nebraska at 3-4 has a record below .500.
9. A pair of future Hawkeyes met on the football field last weekend in Wisconsin, with 2018 tight end recruit Jack Plumb’s Bay Port team finishing off a 9-0 regular season with a 49-21 win over Green Bay Preble.
Future Hawkeye Henry Geil rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the game for Preble.
Also last weekend, wide receiver Tyrone Tracy of Indianapolis Decatur Central caught six passes for 180 yards and two scores and rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown in a 41-16 win.
In Illinois, Samson Evans rushed for 88 yards and four touchdowns for Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge in its 30-16 win over Algonquin Jacobs and Noah Shannon had five tackles for Oswego in a 34-3 win over Plainfield South.
In Iowa, Dillon Doyle finished with six tackles and recovered a fumble for Iowa City West in a win over Linn-Mar and Tyler Linderbaum recorded nine stops for Solon in its win over West Burlington-Notre Dame.
In Pennsylvania, defensive back recruit Terry Roberts caught four passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns for Erie Cathedral Prep in its win over West Toronto Prep.
10. Despite a 3-3 record, moving the ball has not been an issue for Northwestern.
The Wildcats piled up 531 yards in last week’s win at Maryland, gaining 293 through the air and 238 on the ground.
It all added up to Northwestern’s third offensive effort of 500 or more yards this season.
The Wildcats are one of four Big Ten teams averaging more than 400 yards per game offensively, joining Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State.