Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was one of the least surprised people in the football world when LSU head coach Nick Saban decided to accept the Miami Dolphins head coaching job on Christmas Day.
Ferentz and Saban had been assistant coaches together on Bill Belichick's Cleveland Browns staff in the mid-1990s. Ferentz has a keen insight into the way Saban approaches his business.
"From what I know about the Miami thing, he's going to go in with a blank canvas and really have a chance to set up the whole organization," said Ferentz, prior to Saban's decision. "I know Nick a little bit. My guess is that might be attractive to him -- it's probably going to cause him to have to think about it. I wouldn't want to guess whether he's going to take it or not."
Even though Saban has accepted the new job, Ferentz believes LSU will be prepared to play an outstanding game against the Hawkeyes in the Capital One Bowl.
"LSU has a good football team," Ferentz said.
"He's got an excellent coaching staff, and my guess is that the team and coaches will be motivated to play their best game. My guess is we're going to get their best shot, which is a little scary."
LSU knows how to play defense, especially against a team like Iowa that is limited in its ability to run the ball.
Iowa has been tormented by injuries at running back and were down to their No. 6 RB at one point this season. Backup Marques Simmons has a good chance of playing against LSU, and his versatility will help quite a bit. If Iowa can get just a little bit of a push from its running game, that will keep the Tigers from loading up against QB Drew Tate and the passing game. That may be unlikely, since LSU had the No. 6 run defense in the country.
Tate showed improvement throughout the year, has 18 TD passes, and is at his best in big situations.
However, the Iowa offensive line will have to give Tate enough time, or the quarterback will be left fighting a battle he will have a most difficult time winning.
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