IOWA CITY, Iowa – For members of the Iowa football team, getting over a loss is hard enough without being reminded about it.
“If somebody brings it up in class, yeah, that sucks,” Iowa junior linebacker Ben Niemann said Tuesday.
Iowa already has lost two games this season, including a 38-31 setback against Northwestern this past Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, after finishing undefeated in the regular season a year ago.
The 3-2 Hawkeyes will try to get back on track against Minnesota on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
“Some students that you know in class will be like what happened Saturday, that type of thing,” Niemann said. “But you try and ignore it.”
The Iowa players have a 24-hour rule, win or lose. After 24 hours, they shift their focus to the next game on the schedule.
But then they attend class on Monday where some students still are pre-occupied with the previous game. That can be tough after a loss, or Niemann put it another way.
“Honestly, that can kind of be annoying, sometimes,” Niemann said. “You don’t want to talk about it. It’s a sore subject, just like something that happened in their life that was aggravating or would make them angry or sad, you know you probably shouldn’t bring that up to them.”
This past Saturday was especially tough for Niemann’s family.
His father, Jay Niemann, is in his first season as the defensive coordinator for Rutgers, which lost to Ohio State 58-0 in Columbus this past Saturday, and a week after losing to Iowa 14-7 at home.
“It wasn’t a good day for them, either,” Ben Niemann said. “He had to fly back to New Jersey after that. So then Saturday night I got on the phone with him once he landed and we talked about it a little bit. He (taped my game) and watched that.”
Niemann said it helps that his father is a college coach because he knows first-hand what the players go through after wins and losses. They can sort of vent to each other.
“Yeah, I would say so just to kind of spill my feelings a little bit,” Niemann said.
Senior C.J. Beathard has a 16-4 record as Iowa’s starting quarterback, but two of the losses have come in the last three games. He was asked Tuesday if the effects from losing spill over to his private life.
“I haven’t had to deal with that yet, but I’m sure there are people out there that talk crap about it or whatever,” Beathard said. “But that’s not a part of being in the public eye. You can’t listen to that kind of stuff, bad or good.
"That’s why I try and stay off social media as much as I can because people are going to have some bad things to say. And at the same time, when you’re doing well they’ll have some good things to say and you don’t want to read too much into that.”
VandeBerg return likely: It appears Matt Vandeberg hasn’t played in his last game as a Hawkeye.
Ferentz said Tuesday that VandeBerg wants to return for a fifth season, and Ferentz is optimistic that his star receiver will be granted a medical redshirt.
VandeBerg played in the first four games before suffering a broken foot in practice on Sept 26.
“I think Matt would really like to come back,” Ferentz said. “I don’t have official word yet, but it sounds like this one is a little bit more clear-cut than the one we dealt with last year. So that would be good news certainly.”
Ferentz was referring to Drew Ott’s failed attempt for a medical redshirt, last season. The former defensive end was denied a fifth season by the NCAA after playing in six games last season.
The rule states that a player can qualify for a medical redshirt by participating in no more than 30 percent of his team’s games. VandeBerg is close at 33 percent, but will have only played in the first half of the season.
The Big Ten Conference often grants appeals under those circumstances.
Must win: While some of his teammates were reluctant to call Saturday’s game at Minnesota a must win, junior running back Akrum Wadley didn’t hesitate to call it that.
"This is," Wadley said Tuesday. "I think every game is a must-win game. But this game with our back against the wall, we have to come out swinging."
Wadley was asked to explain why he was willing to call Saturday’s game a must-win, while most of his teammates wouldn’t go that far on Tuesday when speaking to the media.
"We do need to win," Wadley said. "In order for us to accomplish our goals we set in preseason, winning this game is a big, not only for our record, but one of our goals is keeping all the trophies in our building."
Iowa won all four of its trophy games last season, including a 40-35 victory over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium. The winner of the Iowa-Minnesota game gets to keep Floyd of Rosedale, which is a bronze statue of a pig that the two teams have competed for on an annual basis since 1935.
C.J. the punter: Beathard showed Saturday against Northwestern that he has more than a strong arm.
He also performed a pooch punt that rolled out of the bounds at the Northwestern 1-yard line in the first quarter.
“If that’s asked again, then certainly I’ll do my best to punt it again and get it down to the one, hopefully,” Beathard said. “That would be cool.”
Beathard is no stranger to punting, but it had been a while since he did it in a game.
“I actually punted in high school,” he said. “I was the punter my senior year of high school. I punted pretty well in high school. But I haven’t had to do that here.
“In situations like that, we kind of put it in a couple weeks ago and had the opportunity to call it last week and it worked out good.”
As a quarterback, Beathard never wants to punt.
“Punting is never fun,” he said. “But if you are going to punt, I guess that’s the most fun for me. But you never want to be in a situation where you have to punt the ball.”