Days away from the Citrus Bowl, the Hawkeyes are still focusing on themselves first

The heat is on, and the lights are bright in Orlando.
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:12 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Florida (KCRG) - The heat is on, and the lights are bright in Orlando. There were short sleeves and shorts in practice on Tuesday. Just another thing that’s different about bowl season.

“It’s going to be hot for sure,” said senior offensive lineman Kyler Schott. “But it’s going to help the knees feel better the joints help the joints feel good.”

“It’s a lot different than a normal game week because all the events you kind of have to balance out having fun with being off your feet getting ready for the game. "

“You’re in a totally different environment obviously weather wise,” said head coach Kirk Ferentz. “It’s a little like a short week in that it takes real mental discipline but it’s on like a short week because it’s not a short week.”

But there’s one thing that’s staying the same. For Iowa, success on the field is about sticking to the same simple principle. Focusing not on the opponent, not on the stage, but on themselves.

“The biggest, single biggest thing for us as a team and as a program the last 23 years is to worry about but we’re doing,” Ferentz said.

“We gotta respect (Kentucky), respect what they do but at the end of the day it comes down to what we do,” said senior defensive lineman Zach Van Valkenburg. “We like to say the enemy is in the building so that’s what our focus is on”

Although there is quite a good opponent on the other side. No one is ignoring Kentucky

“Number 4 (Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal), he’s an animal I mean he is an SEC player he’s big athletic he just looks the part,” Schott said.

“Really fundamentally sound, well coached, they’ve got some really good athletes,” said junior quarterback Spencer Petras. “An SEC team and it looks like that on tape we’ve got our work cut out for us”

It’s a neutral site game so both Iowa and Kentucky fans will show out. It’s something that gets Hawkeye players excited for the future. Like Dane Belton, playing in his home state of Florida. He says neutral site mean big game atmosphere.

“Everything you want to shoot for is neutral site,” Belton said. “Both teams have fans so there’s no really home-field advantage so you just gotta go out and focus on what you need to focus on, focus on the game plan, and I feel like we’ll be all right if we do that.”

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