Hawkeyes focused on Yellow Jackets ' attack

Associated Press
Norm Parker: Iowa defensive coordinator said the key to containing Georgia Tech is strong play from the defensive line.

IOWA CITY, Iowa --- Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker has just about seen it all his 11 years with the Hawkeyes.


For the most part, his defenses was up to the task.

So when Parker said Friday that Georgia Tech's explosive triple-option offense will require more preparation than any opponent No. 10 Iowa (10-2) has faced in his tenure, it's clear the Hawkeyes are asking for another dominant performance from a defense that's carried them all season.

Iowa will face the ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets (11-2) on Jan. 5 in the Orange Bowl, their second BCS bowl game under coach Kirk Ferentz.

Parker is leading preparations for a run-based attack that was prevalent when he started coaching -- that was in the 1960s -- but has since fallen largely by the wayside. The Yellow Jackets have brought the triple option back to prominence, and even though opponents know what's coming, they largely haven't been able to stop it.

Georgia Tech has rushed for 3,993 yards and 46 touchdowns this season.

"They know what they're doing with it, they're excellent teachers. I think their kids play hard and they're sort of the masters of this offense," Parker said.

"You can't think about football an hour and a half a day and go out and play these guys, or they'll go down the field like you're not even there."

That didn't happen much to the Hawkeyes in 2009.

Iowa's first 10-win regular season since 2002 was keyed once again by Parker's defense, which finished in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense for the second year in a row.

Parker said he believes the key to containing Georgia Tech is getting strong play from the defensive line. In that regard, the Hawkeyes are in good shape behind All-Big Ten end Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns and tackles Christian Ballard and Karl Klug.

Parker said Iowa's defensive line has "spearheaded" the play of the defense as a whole this season. The defense allowed just 122 yards rushing per game.

On the other side of the ball, Iowa will likely be about as healthy as it's been since the season opener.

Offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe said quarterback Ricky Stanzi has participated in all team drills during the past three practices and is "full speed ahead" for the Orange Bowl. Stanzi sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Iowa's loss to Northwestern on Nov. 7.


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