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Iowa football: What Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said in his Week 3 press conference


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IOWA CITY, Ia. — "Shooter" is coming back. 

After missing several weeks of practice and the first two games following a foot fracture, Iowa right guard Kyler Schott is slated to return Saturday against Kent State. 

"Everybody was able to practice (Tuesday)," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said at Tuesday's press conference. "Kyler Schott is working back. He started working back last week and got some work in. He'll play some this week — don't know how much — but he'll play some. Will be good to get him back with the team." 

Schott fractured a bone in his right foot after a mistimed jump off a hay bale at his family farm in early August. The Hawkeyes have rotated Justin Britt and Connor Colby at right guard in Schott's absence.  

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On Iowa football's slow offensive start.

"I can't tell you it's unpredicted or unexpected," Ferentz said. "I look at our football team and going back to coming out of August, we're young in both lines in a lot of areas from an experience standpoint. You look at the offensive line — take Schott out of there, which we have the last couple weeks — so we expected some bumps, at least I did. I thought that was going to be part of the process. 

"I'm really kind of pleased with the way the guys have held up. We knew Saturday would be a tough contest just because of the people we were playing against and the whole picture of it. I thought they did a lot of good things. And what I'll really be concerned about is if we don't see continual growth. That's what we're banking on moving forward. That's really with our whole football team, especially up on both lines. That's where it really shows a little bit more than other places. I think if we can continue to grow and continue to improve, I think we'll have a chance to be a good offensive team."

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On handling outside noise as Iowa moves up the AP and coaches' polls. 

The Hawkeyes unsurprisingly make a solid jump in both polls, surging up to No. 5 in the AP and No. 7 in the coaches' poll. With that brings plenty of outside noise.      

"Probably the biggest message and I would say the same thing to anyone who asked, at this time of year is kind of like recruiting rankings. There's a lot of speculation because nobody knows," Ferentz said. "And this time of year, there is only a small handful of teams worthy of being ranked high. 

"I think after whatever it is, three of four teams, it's a jump ball for a lot of teams. so it's really more about speculation and projection I know that. Hopefully our players know that. We won two games, and we're thrilled to death to be 2-0. That's the best you can be. But really it means nothing. We still could be 2-10 mathematically and then the whole gamut. Nobody is smart enough to know what it's going to look like in November or December. Hopefully we're in that discussion, but there's a whole lot of work to do between now and then to still be relevant at that point."

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Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.