Tuesdays with Score-y
It's all rainbows and gumdrops at the football facility this week, for obvious reasons. Here's what we learned at Kirk Ferentz's Tuesday press conference
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Ferentz got asked early about the development of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, who motioned the Ohio State defense into submission Saturday.
We thought he’d be playing a pretty prominent role this year, at least have an opportunity to, and made a really — a couple good plays but a real big 3rd down conversion in our last game out there in Kinnick last year. So we saw him grow during the course of the year physically and just in terms of comfort, what have you, and I think that’s carried over into the season. So his work on the field last year, even though it was pretty — wasn’t extensive, but I think it helped move him forward.
Then T.J., on the other hand, was a guy who was a little bit more raw when he got here. We really liked what we saw of him recruiting, not only on the football field, the basketball court. But last year he was on the scout team and caught our eye a bunch over there, too; saw him making a lot of plays against our defense, frustrating them at times.
He was progressing in a different realm, and then just did a really nice job in spring, did a good job in bowl prep last year, and throughout camp we just saw him keep moving up. It’s a little bit different story with both guys, but they both have impacted our team in a positive way and certainly made a big impact the other night.
Given Junior Ferentz's background with New England and Iowa's penchant for using the tight end, many fans have wondered when Iowa would shift to a passing game built around two tight ends. The problem has always been finding two tight ends worthy of those roles. Don't look now, but I think we've found them.
"Wednesday Night is My Paper Night"
Like most normal households, the Ferentzes have a night designated to read the week's newspapers. It's Wednesday. And this past Wednesday, Kirk put on his skeptic glasses and opened up the ol' newspaper, and what did he find? Bullshit, that's what.
Wednesday night is my paper night — I read about that that [Josh Jackson] was on the draft board or whatever. I’ve got to tell you, with all respect to those draft board guys, it’s always interesting you check the draft boards from October to draft time, you know, it’s good to throw stuff out there. Luckily you don’t have to get paid for accuracy.
A couple of things here: First, Ferentz went on to praise Jackson's hard work and absurd development over the offseason, calling it "an unbelievable out of season this summer." This wasn't an answer for a hit piece. Second, Ferentz has always been above-board with draft-eligible guys who have a decision to make, and doesn't seem to be the type that would send any signals in the press. But boy howdy, that's some shade thrown Mel Kiper's direction from a guy who enjoys a weekly Newspaper Night.
Other items from Ferentz's presser:
- Iowa offered Nate Stanley a scholarship at a summer camp, then almost let him drive off without knowing that it had been an actual scholarship offer: "I sat down with he and his dad. I guess sometimes I’m too subtle; so [the assistant coaches] said, 'Does he know that you offered him?' I said, 'Well, I think he does.' So then I ran out to the car and said, oh, by the way, that was an offer, okay, just to — I said, we want you, which to me that’s what that means. If I say we want you, I mean we want you."
- Ferentz on quarterback gurus...and capitalism, for some reason: "I’ll tell you, if any quarterback dads want to call me and get some advice on how to save some money, I can probably help them on that. It’s just — to me, my personal feeling is you let kids be kids. You want to make sure they know the fundamentals, but I’m telling you, what we do ain’t that hard. It’s pretty basic. The basics are the basics. But there’s a lot of people making a nice living off that. So God bless them, and good for them. We’re a capitalist system, so I’m all for that."
- Punter is basically a platoon system now. "We’ll just going back and forth, try to find a winning combination."
- SARCASTIC KIRK. SAR-KIRK-STIC. On not getting a postgame television interview due to the field storming: "Gosh, I hope I get a rain check on that interview. I really look forward to those things."
CBS Sports did something interesting when making their United States of College Basketball feature this year, ranking every team in each state: They bothered to look at rosters.
Easy pick for the Hawkeyes this season because Iowa State is in complete rebuild mode, and Northern Iowa's not near the team it was three, four years ago. For Iowa, Tyler Cook (pictured) and Jordan Bohannon will lead the charge and probably flirt with the NCAA Tournament. If Iowa keeps all its underclassmen, it will probably be a preseason top 25 team in 2018.
As bad as the "copy last season's final Top 25 and shuffle some teams around because their quarterback did or did not graduate" phenomenon is in football, it's infinitely worse in basketball, where the stakes are lower -- tournament status trumps all at the end of the day -- and the spotlight is dimmer. Iowa State is a historically good program with an uptick in recent years, but they lost a gargantuan amount of talent this offseason. Anyone ignoring that is simply out of touch with reality.
As for "flirt[ing] with the NCAA Tournament," I think sights are set higher this year. The expectations within the program -- and within that first ring of fans and reporters circling the program -- have never been more divorced from national perception. Someone is going to be proven wrong. Let's just hope it's them.
Odds and Ends
UI athletes will be able to take an expanded number of classes online, up from the current limit of one per semester. Presumably, that would open the number of majors that don't conflict with sports, which should allow some athletes to pursue educational goals otherwise prohibited by their programs. And anything that can be done to reverse that particular absurdity is a good thing.
The kid at UI Children's Hospital who predicted the fake field goal got some visitors after Saturday's game.
Friend of the Program Andy Garman sat down with Pat McCaffery in the family's palatial garage-gym.
Mike Leach, who used to coach at Iowa Wesleyan and has only inhabited similar outposts since, wants to get rid of targeting because an Iowa deputy sheriff pulled him over once.
(1) Leach isn't wrong here, even if eliminating the rule seems a bit harsh. (2) I have no idea what Leach was doing in Early, Iowa. He went on to name the Pittsburg State Gorilla as the best mascot in football. It was typical Mike Leach, and we're all hoping he shows up in Lincoln next year for obvious reasons.
NO POLITICS and all, but one college sports-infused part of the current tax reform legislation: Donations made to a college athletics program which come with seat preferences -- which would include essentially any donation to the I-Club, for instance -- will no longer be tax deductible. As it stands right now, eighty percent of such donations can be deducted.
You thought the run-out at Kinnick was intense? Tonga-Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup was essentially Ancient Polynesian Warfare:
Those guys get Embark upon founding, rather than waiting for Optics. Huge advantage in the first quarter.