Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn't sure why he agreed to travel to Arizona Stadium.

"Maybe I was in a stupor when we did it," he said Tuesday. "That's the only reason I can see for traveling to Arizona.

"My preference would be to stay in the Midwest. We really don't recruit in Arizona."

Saturday's game makes "total sense" for the No. 9 Hawkeyes, only because "we have a large contingent of fans that live in Arizona."

From a football standpoint, it's not wise.

Iowa teams have had as much success traveling west as the Donner Party.

The Hawkeyes haven't won a game west of the Rocky Mountains in their past seven tries, dating to 1987.

The last time Iowa traveled to the Grand Canyon State, in 2004, it lost 44-7 at Sun Devil Stadium.

"In a perfect world," Ferentz said, "I'd rather not travel west."

He'd also prefer not to kick off at 7:30 p.m., or 9:30 Iowa time. To prepare for the late start, Ferentz began some fall practices after 9.

"The coaches were more tired than the players," he joked.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who has never played as far west as Arizona, said he liked the practices.

"It's always cool to play underneath the lights," he said. "That's part of college football. You can't let that become a factor."

New QB

Ferentz said he expects to see a different UA team this year.

Matt Scott started at quarterback for the UA last year when the Hawkeyes defeated Arizona 27-17 at Kinnick Stadium.

He hasn't started since.

Nick Foles made his first career start the next week at Oregon State, and led the UA to victory.

"We were really worried about the quarterback running the football last year," Ferentz said. "Now it's the flip.

"Foles isn't really looking to put it down and go with it."

Extra points

• Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who is diabetic and has been hospitalized with back issues, probably won't travel for Saturday's game. "He's under care right now," Ferentz said. "I think it's doubtful he'll be with us this week."

• Iowa's Adam Robinson is ranked ninth in the nation with 132.5 rushing yards per game, but Ferentz said not to read too much into it. "We haven't had to work as hard as we're going to have to work this week," he said. "It's going to be extremely difficult to run the ball."

He praised Jake Fischer, Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo, the UA's new linebackers.

"I don't want to say they're better than what they had last year," Ferentz said, "but these guys look every bit as capable."