SAVE A HORSE, ROCK A HAWKEYE
Kinnick Stadium doesn't host its first football game until this weekend, but Iowa's game against Miami (OH) won't be the first big event hosted there this year -- the first-ever Back Porch Revival concert last weekend. The event was spearheaded by former Iowa star Dallas Clark (now retired from the NFL) as a way to benefit The Native Fund, a charity started by Clark in 2015 to help Iowans who have been impacted by natural disasters.
"The one promise we really want to do, if people donate to us, is that we're streamlined: The most funds possible will go to Iowans," Clark said in a phone interview with the Press-Citizen. "It's Iowans helping Iowans."
The Native Fund aims to be "not the Red Cross, but a little more unique, specific" to Iowa when it comes natural disaster relief, Clark said, with major backing from fellow Iowa natives like actor Ashton Kutcher and professional golfer Zach Johnson.
From the look of things, it was a big success.
Yeah, that looks pretty cool. It even drew one of Iowa's most famous celebrity fans:
While Blake Shelton was the big headliner for the event, there were some Iowa ties on the card, too -- namely, the presence of Tucker Beathard, aka, C.J. Beathard's little brother.
And, yeah, he got C.J. up on stage with him, too.
You can see a fun time-lapse video of how the event in Kinnick was put together here:
RUN, EMMANUEL, RUN
Redshirt freshman Emmanuel Ogwo's decision to leave the football program but stay at Iowa to focus on running track caught some people by surprise last week, but Chad Leistikow offers some information about the situation in a good story on Ogwo at Hawk Central.
Ogwo has fully transitioned from football to track and field, in which he was an elite high school talent in Mesquite, Texas. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, it was clear Ogwo could no longer table his desire to speed around an oval.
“I didn’t leave Texas to sit on the bench for two years,” Ogwo said. “I felt like track was giving me the opportunity to be the competitor that I wanted to be, and (to) compete earlier than football was allowing me to.”
As a high school senior, he ran 46.68 seconds in the 400 meters — one of that year’s top times in the country.
It's too bad that football didn't work out for Ogwo, but hopefully he can tear things up for the Hawkeyes on the track instead. The article also clarifies his scholarship situation (he can remain on a football scholarship through the spring semester) and also has some interesting quotes from Iowa track coach Joey Woody, who seems very open to working with the football program. Given some of the incoming football recruits who are also track and field standouts (A.J. Epenesa, Tristan Wirfs), there might be more opportunities for a dual-sport star at Iowa.
CARING IS QUESTIONING
Leistikow also spoke with Iowa recruiting coordinator Kelvin Bell for a Q&A, which sheds a little more insight into Iowa's current approach to recruiting:
How does this staff handle changes in technology, specifically social media, when it comes to recruiting?
KB: We still have a hands-on approach. You can’t email or Twitter yourself to a scholarship or acquiring the right kids in your program. You have to put your hands on them, you have to dig. You have to go behind the scenes to find out about a kid. It helps with communication. It’s a lot easier now. I can Twitter message a kid and tell him to call me and he calls me, instead of using a phone call during a certain time of the year and hoping. In that regard, social media makes kids more accessible, but we still have to do our work and can’t recruit solely through Twitter.
THERE IS ONLY EAST
Athlon released a list of the Must-See games in the Big Ten in 2016 and -- surprise! -- just four of the fifteen don't feature at least one Big Ten East team. Wisconsin makes the list five times -- for their games against Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State as well as their non-conference tilt with LSU, and, oh yeah, the Iowa game, too. Iowa shows up twice, for their games against Michigan and Wisconsin. Iowa's Black Friday game against Nebraska -- a nationally-televised game which could decide the Big Ten West champion -- is omitted, but Western Michigan-Northwestern is included because, hey, PJ Fleck might do something funny! (That said, if Fleck and Pat Fizgerald are going to beat each other to death with oars, I'm all over that game.)
THE OTHER HOOPS SCHEDULE
The Big Ten also released the full conference for the 2016-17 women's basketball season, which you can find here. Iowa gets a pair of games against Maryland, last year's regular season conference champion and the consistent best team in the league since the Terps joined up. They also play Rutgers home and away, which means legendary former Iowa coach C. Vivian Stringer will get to make another visit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Feb. 2, 2017). It's a schedule light on border rivals, though -- Iowa plays Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Northwestern just once apiece. (They do play Illinois twice.) In fairness, women's basketball only plays a 16-game conference schedule, unlike the 18-game slate played by the men, so there are fewer opportunities for home-and-away games.
In slightly related news, the Iowa women's hoops non-conference schedule contains some eerie mirroring of the men's non-conference schedule. Playing Iowa State in Iowa City? Check. Playing Notre Dame in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge? Check. Playing North Dakota? Check. Maybe the athletic department got a 2-for-1 special on that game.
THE OTHER FOOTBALL
Iowa soccer got their season underway about ten days ago and while it started a bit rocky -- they dropped a 5-3 (!) thriller in Omaha against Creighton -- but they've bounced back to win their next three games, beating Missouri 2-1 in Columbia and then beating Eastern Michigan 1-0 before winning 3-2 over Wyoming in their home opener last Sunday. Freshman forward Devin Burns has been Iowa's main creative force so far, notching two goals and two assists through four games. Senior forward Bri Toelle has added two goals, while junior midfielder Karly Stuenkel has a goal and two assists. Iowa has outshot their opponents 58-54 through four games and a good offense might be their best defense this year, given that they're currently conceding two goals per game (although over half of that total was in one game, so y'know... small sample size). Iowa returns to action this weekend with a pair of home games against Colorado State and SIU Edwardsville.
- Guess who's a USA Today Preseason All-American. Desmond King, that's who. (Please try to contain your surprise.)
- Iowa's getting into the food truck game (although the truck will be at the T. Anne Cleary Walkway next Tuesday, not on Labor Day):
- Did you know that you can donate to the Brett Greenwood Athletic Scholarship Fund? Well, you can.
- BTN has predictions for your Week 1 Big Ten Football winners; all three BTN experts have Iowa winning comfortably over Miami (OH).
- RIP, Gene Wilder.