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B1G Mashup: Long Talks Iowa

Here’s some of the best from the first day of the two-day Big Ten kickoff media event.  Opinions are mine and you are welcome to add yours in the comments section.

LONG ON THE HAWKEYES:  Former Iowa QB Chuck Long did some work for the BTN last year and that will continue into this season.  He was in Chicago yesterday and answered some questions related to this year’s Iowa team.  I found this quote to be interesting as well as confirming:

“I think they have to settle the offense down first. They had a mix of philosophies last year. I think Kirk wanted to hold on to some elements of the old offense, and yet, he wanted to progress towards more of a spread type.  And now I believe they’re doing some more hurry-up in that offense, which I think will be good for them, to try to keep some defenses off balance. The thing about the hurry-up is it helps you when you don’t have the speed that you want.”

This is what I have been saying and writing this past off season as we’ve all tried to unpack the horrendous offense we witnessed in 2012, which I still think was the worst offense of the Ferentz era.  I have maintained my belief that they tried to be too many things and that Kirk Ferentz didn’t let Greg Davis do what he wanted to do, but also that Davis tried to do some things with a personnel base that Iowa didn’t have, like he had at Texas.  I refused to believe that James Vandenberg all of the sudden turned into some shrinking violet all on his own.  In the long run, I think history will show that Vandenberg was sort of cheated out of his senior year as Iowa was adjusting to changes on the coaching staff.  Granted, the Hawkeyes were a few plays away from winning three or more additional games last year, but I put most of the blame on the coaching staff.

The good news is they have had a very, very long offseason to evaluate that mess and take steps to change it.  I think one of the most important steps, if not THE most important steps, is to just let Greg Davis be Greg Davis (for better or for worse) and for Davis to have a better understanding of the type of talent he has (or doesn’t have) and get the most out of them.  The offense will be better this year and not just because it can’t get worse.

Long did say that if Iowa can win six games, “it will be a great year for them.”  Whew.  That’s hardly an endorsement and just another example of external expectations.

KIRK ON THE PODIUM:  A bit has been made of Kirk Ferentz’s ‘brief’ time on the podium yesterday, as if it was some sign of disrespect.  In my opinion, that’s not the case.  While I will certainly admit that Iowa has few national storylines heading into this year and they are nowhere on the national radar, the fact that nobody had any more questions for Ferentz eight minutes in to his 15 minute stretch isn’t a clue to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.

That setting is in a very, very large ballroom hall.  There are hundreds of seats in those rooms, filled with media members from across the country.  To ask a question, you raise your hand and a microphone is brought to you.  Some folks are less comfortable in a setting like that than they are out in the lobby, where some talked to Ferentz and other coaches at points in the day…or far less comfortable than they will be on Day Two.  If today is anything like past ‘day two’s’, Ferentz will be seated at a circular table with 15 or so chairs.  Media members sit down and ask questions for 90 minutes.  It’s a much more personal venue and you can ask numerous follow up questions for the story angles you are working on.  In the main room setting, you might get one follow up.

Ferentz was also the last head coach to speak on the day and there’s only so much you are going to get from the podium sessions, as those are also on TV and the coaches know it.  Most of you who have been familiar with the ‘Kirk on the Side’ segments through the years realize those were always more revealing and interesting than the general presser.  The same can be said for Big Ten media days; the day one podium stuff just isn’t all that interesting and the meat and potatoes come on day two.

HE GONE?  Looks like freshman receiver Cameron Wilson is leaving the Iowa football team:

That is a bummer, as last we saw Wilson he was the star of the spring game with 10 catches for 131 yards.  Just a few days ago, Marc Morehouse of The Gazette wrote about Wilson in this item, putting him at the head of the list after KMM as ‘the best of the rest’.  I recently listened to a Morehouse-Scott Dochterman podcast where Morehouse said Wilson looked the most natural of all the Iowa receivers, or something like that. I won’t argue with that, so this will be a loss for Iowa.

FERENTZ AWARE OF ‘WORST COACH’ MENTION:  A few weeks back, Stewart Mandel of SI.com wrote a list of the best and worst coaches in the nation and he put Ferentz on the list of worst coaches.  I thought it was wrong to include Ferentz on that list and I wrote about it here.   Most everyone else in Iowa wrote about it or talked about it, too.  In fact, it turned out to be a rather galvanizing item, where Iowa fans, scribes and even writers from outside the Hawkeye State were somewhat coming to Ferentz’s defense.  The head Hawk noticed.

“It’s kind of ironic, but in our own state I probably read more good things about what we’ve done after that than probably any time in the last five years.  So it had a funny twist to the whole thing.”

I remember saying at the time that this effect Ferentz is speaking of reminded me of the old adage that I can fight and beat on my brother, but if someone from outside of my family tries to do it, they are messing with me, too.  Whether or not some writers would want to go that far, I doubt it.  Still, it’s the same effect; Ferentz has done a great job at Iowa during his 14 years and it’s not easy to win here.  This list was and still is a bit silly, but boy did Mandel get a lot of mileage out of it in July…which was probably the point.

MEDICAL REPORT:  James Morris and Jordan Lomax both suffered appendicitis this summer an are recovering fine, according to Ferentz.

THE LINKS

Chuck Long has advice for competing Iowa QB trio | Hawk Central
Harty: It’s hard to imagine D.J. Hernandez’s pain | Hawk Central
Kirk Ferentz talks ‘funny twist’ to worst-coach saga | Hawk Central
Logue: Delany’s overhaul ideas are a bit naive | Hawk Central
Hawkeye pair recovering after appendicitis attacks | Hawk Central
Kirk Ferentz shares latest on Iowa’s starting QB race | Hawk Central
What Bo Pelini thinks about facing Iowa on Black Friday | Hawk Central
Man who coined Cy-Hawk Trophy dies | Hawk Central
Quick Slants: Appendicitis slows down Morris, Lomax | TheGazette
On stipends, players’ families are surely with Delany | TheGazette
2013 Big Ten Media Days, Day One video
Long says 6 wins ‘will be a great year’ for Iowa | TheGazette

THE TWEETS

  • jeffbuck7

    The trick isn’t to predict what everybody else is predicting. The trick is to see something coming that others don’t. I knew people who insisted Iowa would give Nebraska a game in ’81. Evy at least thought the Hawks would give the Buckeyes a game in ’51 and in any event loudly declared the program would come around. Somebody had the foresight to predict Iowa would annihilate Michigan in Ann Arbor in ’82. Jon, you keep congratulating yourself for predicting what everyone else is predicting. What’s the accomplishment in that? Footnote: None of you have been proved right yet.

    • Thomas Wenndt

      We beat Michigan in Ann Arbor 9-7 in 1981, part of the Rose Bowl team – the Rose Bowl we went to was on January 1st, 1982. We annihilated Michigan with a shut-out in 1984, beat them in Ann Arbor by a point in 1990 (another Rose Bowl team) then destroyed them in Ann Arbor in 2002 – that may be what you were referring to.

  • Joyce Lee

    Hawkeyes forever!

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