Running back Chris Rodriguez has impressed Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker. (Vicky Graff Photo)
What is the first thing Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker notices when he looks at Kentucky, the team Iowa will play Saturday in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando?
“When you look at Kentucky, they are a well-coached team. I look at their offensive line, how well-coached they are up front. There are some All-American guys. The center (Luke Fortner) is very good, the guy (Darian Kinnard) from Sylvania, Ohio, is also a tackle that’s pretty good for them guys,” Parker said.
“Obviously, the running back (Chris Rodriguez), it’s hard for me — I can’t remember seeing him have negative yards, and that’s going to be a challenge for us. I think he’s a good running back and he can run well. That’s what they want to do, run the ball, play-action pass and boots.
“We are going to have game tackle, and going to have to make sure everybody has gap integrity and make sure we leverage the ball and probably pursue to the ball.”
Parker knows receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is a big playmaker for the UK offense and one of the best receivers in the Southeastern Conference.
“I just think the kid, they are going to want to put the ball in his hand. I think the things he does for that team, he’s got 97 catches or something like that, 94, 97, that’s a lot of catches,” Parker said. “There’s times where they want to run the ball. They want the ball in his hands at some critical points.
“He does a good job for what I see on film. I don’t know what it is in the day-to-day practice stuff he does, but really impressed at what he’s doing and how they get the ball to him and how he can change a game.”