I bought my Sporting News College Football Preview magazine yesterday. I’ve done that now for 17 straight years. It is the best college preview magazine there is, from a national standpoint. I was thumbing through the magazine and I stumbled onto Iowa’s page. That’s when an interesting thought occurred to me.
Their defensive coordinator is a man named Norm Parker and he’s one of my favorite football coaches. Norm runs a simple defense. He plays mostly Cover 2 behind a 4-3 front that attacks upfield with a 1-gap scheme. He likes light defensive linemen that can penetrate and be disruptive. Norm believes in keeping things simple and letting his players play fast. Sound familiar?
Juan Castillo’s son Greg is a DB for Iowa. I know Juan goes to games when he can and he obviously watches every Iowa game. I wonder how much of an influence Iowa has had on his defensive ideas.
The Hawkeyes are very good defensively.
2010 — 25th in yards, 7th in points
2009 — 10th in yards, 8th in points
2008 — 13th in yards, 5th in points
2007 — 36th in yards, 12th in points
You can see they are really hard to score on. Obviously that is a key point for us. The last 2 years we were solid in terms of yards allowed, but poor in terms of points allowed.
Iowa doesn’t get great recruits. They take good players and find the right spot for them in Norm’s system. They develop the players in the weight room and on the practice field. The best thing about the defense is how it functions as a unit. You know the old saying…the whole is better than the sum of the parts, that’s Iowa defense. They play really good team defense, a weakness of the 2009-2010 Eagles.
I don’t know if Iowa and Norm Parker did have influence on Castillo or if this is pure coincidence. If Castillo did choose to borrow some ideas from them, that’s fine with me. Parker is a terrific coach. As a Penn State fan who once saw his team lose 6-4 to Iowa, I can personally attest that they know how to play defense.