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Notes from Pat Fitzgerald's press conference: Iowa

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Fitz spoke about the bye week, injuries and the Iowa-NU "rivalry" at Monday's press conference.

Jonathan Daniel

Here's what coach Fitz had to say about NU's upcoming matchup with Iowa at Monday's press conference:

-Collin Ellis is out again with a concussion. "My heart's broken for [Colin]," Fitz said.

-Miles Shuler, Dan Vitale, Kyle Prater and Ibraheim Campbell are all day to day. Shuler was "running around at practice" the other day. That's great news.

-Kyle Prater said he would not have played Saturday due to the ankle injury he suffered against Nebraska. But Prater said he feels great now and that he's ready to go against Iowa.

-Coming off a bye, Fitz said: "We really needed the bye week based on where we're at. We used the week productively to work on some things we need to improve. We did a little bit more on Monday than we usually do (mentally). We got a lot of work done last week, especially academically with midterms."

-When asked what the coaching staff focused on during the week off, Fitz said: "We had to clean things up from a schematic standpoint. We had to get back to fundamentals and technique."

-Fitz on the Iowa-NU "rivalry:" "This has become a pretty darn good rivalry. I'm incredibly supportive of the Hawkeyes, great fans. It seems like we're playing [in Kinnick]," which Fitz called one of the toughest places to play in college football.

-On how the "rivalry" started: "We weren't competitive against Iowa for a long time. We became competitive since 1995. Before that the games were irrelevant."

-Fitz spoke highly of Iowa's physicality, especially on offense: "We're playing a really physical offensive line and offense. They're gonna pound it and pound it and pound it." Fitz said Chi Chi Ariguzo needs to step up.

-On the QB situation: "Trevor is healthier than he's been," Fitz said. That's all he said about Siemian. Prater added that Siemian looks healthier, but that he'll be a little "banged up" for Iowa.

-Since NU doesn't have a mobile quarterback Fitz said the rest of the skill players need to step up and make plays: "It would be nice to make some people miss and turn a four yard hitch into an eight yard gain. The only guy who can make guys miss is Justin [Jackson]."

-Fitz said the reason Dan Persa had success at NU had more to do with the skill players than the QB play. Persa had a really high completion percentage, but the receivers did most of the work. It sounds like the play calling won't change. Instead, it's the receivers responsibility to turn short completions into big gains.

-Fitz on offensive line play: "Jorgy, Vitabile and Frazier have been consistent at offensive line. We have a lot of work to do at right tackle. We've been consistently inconsistent. When we've been good we've been real good. When we're bad we're real bad. It would be nice to see more competition. The guys on the second team haven't stepped up to challenge for the starting spot."