Hawkeyes 'bend but don't break' philosophy leaves room for improvement

Iowa ranks near the middle in the Big Ten in overall defense

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa's defense has been the epitome of bend, but don't break in 2017. The Hawkeyes are near the bottom of the Big Ten in nearly every yardage statistic, but rank close to the middle in scoring defense at 18.7 points per game. 

Defensive coordinator Phil Parker says there's plenty of room for improvement everywhere across the field. 

"You evaluate everything during this period of time, and I think that's really a plus for us going to the second half of the season with all this time that we can sit back and look at some of the things, how people are trying to attack us and to shore up of that stuff," Parker said. 

Having junior Brandon Snyder back at safety should help the defense, too. Linebacker Josey Jewell said Snyder's pre-snap communication is something that veteran players like him add to a defense.
 
"He can vocalize himself pretty well if he understands or thinks a play is coming," Jewell said. "He'll anticipate some things just because he is older, has experience, which is nice having him back there, being able to make some good calls and understanding what the opportunity is."
 
"You can see him directing traffic out there and understanding not only what the plays they're going to run but making sure that everybody is in the right coverage, in the right defense, at the right time," Parker said.
 
Iowa's ability to keep defensive lineman fresh and harass opposing quarterbacks is another reason Parker believes this unit can improve in the final six games.
 
"Our guys up front have done a good job of rotating in," Parker said. "I think moving Matt Nelson inside has really helped us and with his leadership and Parker Hesse on the outside, I think we have a good group of front eight guys that are doing a hell of a job." 

The Hawkeyes' bye comes at a good time for this defense to get fully healthy. Jewell and cornerback Manny Rugumba have been battling injuries, but they should be ready to play against Northwestern. 

For more Hawkeye football coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter -- and now Facebook -- and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season.

 


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • E-Sports Championship Challenge
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Pro-Football Challenge
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • If You Only Knew
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Local 4 Finest
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • QC Health Alert
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center