Posted by: marcmwm | September 26, 2008

GameDay — Spelling Greene

Hawkeyes will attempt to offer Greene help with running load

By Marc Morehouse
Photo

Iowa running back Shonn Greene (23) after an open practice on Iowa Hawkeye Kids Day at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, August 16, 2008.(Liz Martin/The Gazette)

 

 

IOWA CITY — The Shonn Greene preservation society is taking membership applications.

Coach Kirk Ferentz knows he has a tremendous weapon in the junior running back. Greene is second in the Big Ten with 506 yards and 126.5 yards a game. But Ferentz also knows Greene is a big back (5-foot-11, 235 pounds) who receives as much punishment as he delivers.

“He’s been a real strength of our football team offensively and our whole football team,” Ferentz said. “We’ll try to use him as wisely as possible.”

Greene is second in the conference with 78 carries, way behind Michigan State’s Javon Ringer’s 143. Last weekend at Pitt, Greene left in the first half with an elbow injury. His left arm was taped and he re-entered without a hitch.

With that in mind, Ferentz would like to get freshman Jewel Hampton a few more carries, taking the pressure off Greene and developing Hampton’s resume. It sounds like sophomore running back Paki O’Meara will be out this week with a leg injury.

Since making a big splash against Maine, Hampton has leveled off against stiffer competition. He averages 5.9 yards a carry but wasn’t used against Iowa State and gained just 1 yard on two tries last week.

“The other guys are going to have to help out, too,” Ferentz said. “We’re going to have to keep bringing them along also.”

Fatigue wasn’t a factor, however, in the coaching staff’s decision to go away from Greene in the fourth quarter last week.

Greene’s last carry came with about 8:45 left in the fourth quarter and Iowa trailing, 21-20. He ended the day with 147 yards on 23 carries, a 6.4 average. Iowa had three cracks at that one-point lead, with only two really legit. Iowa’s last drive started at its half-yard line with 2:19 left and no timeouts.

Iowa’s penultimate drive was all pass, with Jake Christensen completing 2 of 5 and taking a sack on third-and-10 at Iowa’s 41.

“You can go back and look at that one and say that maybe we should have (run the ball, on that drive specifically),” Ferentz said. “We just chose to go the other direction. We had two choices, run or pass, and we chose pass. Hindsight’s always pretty good.”

Saw it coming

Iowa defenders are still grinding on the 17-yard TD run by Pitt’s backup quarterback Greg Cross.

Cross is a spread option quarterback. He replaced Pitt starter Bill Stull for two plays. Iowa defensive coaches told their players all week if Cross is in, it’s a QB run. They knew it was coming. They didn’t stop it.

“Personally, I can’t believe it happened,” linebacker Jeremiha Hunter said. “Coaches pounded that in our heads. I just can’t believe they scored on that play when we talked about it so much.”

Better in long run

Is the Christensen-Ricky Stanzi competition going to produce a better quarterback?

That’s a wait-and-see proposition, but Stanzi sees positives.

“It definitely builds mental toughness,” said Stanzi, who’ll make his third start today. “Anytime you are in the middle of it at quarterback, it’s frustrating because you’re so worried about making a little mistake or something.

“But in the big picture, it’s great because all it does is push you. You don’t have any time to relax, you have to get better.”

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