The Iowa Hawkeyes landed in the Grand Canyon State Thursday evening for their matchup with No. 14 Oklahoma in the 2011 Insight Bowl, with kead coach Kirk Ferentz taking some time to speak with the media about their week in Arizona as well as their preparations before the game.
Ferentz noted how honored they are to take part in this bowl, especially against a team like Oklahoma:
"We are just thrilled to be here, even more so now because our players and especially our returning players know how big of a deal it is to be here. Much like last year, we are facing a tremendous opponent. Now, we face another team with an outstanding quarterback in Oklahoma and Landry Jones. They have been getting after the quarterback very, very successfully. We're awfully excited about that match-up, its going to be a great challenge."
He also would mention some of the other ties going on outside of the game as well:
"Obviously there is a little bit of personal tie between us with Bob Stoops and two other coaches on the staff, Josh Heupel and Bruce Kittle being former Iowa Hawkeyes. Those are people we all know, very, very well. They're good friends and I have tremendous respect for them and Bob's record in 13 years at Oklahoma speaks for itself."
As for the game, Ferentz has been here before, and nows how to keep his guys sharp and engaged with a full week before the game:
"I think we pretty much locked in for the last seven or eight attempts since the first Orange Bowl. We've decided on what we like to do. We just adjust it given our final schedule and bowl date is. I think we've got a good start to our preparation. This is a new phase. We're in a pretty festive environment right now. It's going to be a real challenge for our players to keep their focus on the game, but we certainly want to relax and enjoy the activities as well."
Both Iowa and Oklahoma currently lack depth with their running backs, which Ferentz thinks will be more of an issue for the Sooners:
"It's kind of a battle of lack of depth between the two of us. They are in the same situation right now. They're down to two tailbacks. They have a full back/H-back who's a very good player and who can also run the ball. We may have a few more numbers than they do. Our psychological advantage is they're going to have a hard time finding our guys. The guys they're playing against, they're going to have a hard time finding them on the film...If we have to do it by committee, we'll do it by committee. Whatever it takes."