The Five Punts You Meet in Heaven
Kirk Ferentz gave his now-annual postseason press conference yesterday. The tradition began in January 2015, with the fan base in an uproar and two quarterbacks on the verge of transferring. The 2018 edition didn't have nearly as much drama.
Here's what we learned from the OBC:
- Iowa is expecting "a few more" recruits to sign in the next few weeks, but much of the newly-opening recruiting window will be spent on 2019. Ferentz said that Iowa has a couple of positions it still needs to address (linebacker chief among them), and will then go "best available" to fill any remaining spots.
- Backup quarterback is "wide open" with Tyler Wiegers leaving (Ferentz had very kind words for Wiegers, calling him "a tremendous young man"), as is linebacker. "In my mind, nobody's really emerged." Iowa didn't release a new depth chart Wednesday, so there's not even a hint of where this could go.
- Iowa is going to move on a tenth assistant -- officially permitted as of Wednesday -- in mid-to-late January. Ferentz acknowledged a plan is in place, and that tight ends/special teams coach Levar Woods will move exclusively to special teams when that time comes. Co-special teams coordinator Seth Wallace will focus exclusively on linebackers after the hiring.
- Alaric Jackson and Brandon Snyder are back in good standing following recent suspensions.
- Matt Nelson was injured during the Pinstripe Bowl and won't be available for spring practice. Ferentz said he expects Nelson to be fine for fall.
- Ferentz promised some sort of offensive reexamination in light of the Wisconsin debacle -- "that was not a good day for us and that's one we'll study hard during the out-of-season" -- but we are officially at the point where any mention of a change to the offense must be seen in consecutive weeks of the regular season before being accepted as fact.
- This quote on James Daniels (who Ferentz heaped praise on yesterday) and Josh Jackson going pro early: "Again, I was on record last year saying I think it would have been detrimental to Akrum to go out last year, I really believe that. I think it better served him to be here a year. I'll say this, I think it's better for any player, quite frankly, I think they're more mature, more NFL-ready, if you will. But James is a hell of a developmental prospect, if you will. In my mind he could go and play guard for anybody next year, just about anybody in the league, maybe not anybody. But he's that kind of player. And Josh is a really good player, too."
- The last quote of the presser is the story of the offseason, as Iowa tries to rebuild from the loss of a small-but-extremely-important group of seniors and early-exits, in response to a question about defensive lineman Chauncey Golston: "[T]hose are guys you look at the guys in that second class right now. Cedric [Lattimore]. The Paulsens, offensively. A.J. [Epenesa]. Those guys need to be -- this is where they need to start. And again our guys aren't, we don't have Alabama's guys. When we play young guys like they've got to be -- they've got to try to get there by their fourth year, fifth year. Third year would be okay, too."
With Signing Day a non-event, it's unclear whether we'll hear from Ferentz again before spring practice. It looks like all assistants are still onboard, at least at the moment, and most recruiting is done. So now we wait for March.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Ferentz got himself into the news for something else yesterday, as the AP caught wind of a lawsuit between Kirk and his neighbors:
A Feb. 6 trial is scheduled in a lawsuit that pits the nation’s longest-tenured college football coach and his wife against the three other families who live along a private road outside Iowa City. A judge is expected to decide whether the Ferentzes breached a 2001 agreement and trespassed by planting trees and installing landscaping items that neighbors say encroach onto Saddle Club Road.
The lawsuit is part of a long-running dispute in which Ferentz and his wife, Mary, have been portrayed as difficult, stingy and privacy-obsessed, clashing with their image as friendly philanthropists who support the Iowa Children’s Hospital.
A judge ruled in September that the Ferentzes aren’t required to join the homeowners’ association that their neighbors formed in 2015 to share road maintenance costs. That freed the Ferentzes from having to pay a $9,400 assessment for road repairs and dissolved a lien the association obtained on their property to collect payment.
The Iowa Supreme Court recently declined to hear the neighbors’ appeal, setting up trial on remaining claims.
Here's the nuts and bolts of this, as best as I can tell from online docket information: The Ferentzes don't want anyone coming up to their property, as some fans may be wont to do, so they have tried to keep their private road as a gravel lane. The neighbors want to pave the road, or at least make it more easily used.
They all reached a detente of sorts back in 2001, but it didn't hold, and when the Ferentzes refused to pay their portion of a $37,000 repair bill for improvement they didn't want, the newly-created homeowners' association put a lien on their property. On summary judgment (a mechanism for disposing of legal issues where there are no real disputes on relevant facts), the court held that the Ferentzes didn't have to pay because the other neighbors didn't abide by the terms of the 2001 agreement and ordered the lien removed. The Iowa Supreme Court turned down a chance to hear the case on "interlocutory appeal," which are appeals taken before all issues in a case has been finally decided. That means the parties have to go to trial to resolve all the other issues before it can be considered on appeal.
The official Go Iowa Awesome position on this story is best summed up by former GIA contributor Planned Sick Days:
2 Days after the end of the season and we are eyeballs deep in shitposts about KFs neighbors and landscaping
— PlannedSickDays (@PlannedSickDays) January 10, 2018
Let's agree not to ever speak of this again.
The fallout from Iowa basketball's wackobird loss at Maryland continues, even as the Hawkeyes gear up for Illinois tonight:
- McCaffery says that both he and B1G associate commissioner Rick Boyages found the elbow thrown at Cordell Pemsl's head by Maryland's Anthony Cowan "disturbing." They're not wrong. We've had to sit through hours of replays in recent years to determine intent and culpability for head shots that are clearly accidental. For something this egregious to not be called, not be reviewed, and not be addressed is absurd.
- Boyages apparently notified McCaffery that replay would be available if the player immediately notifies the official of the problem. Of course, this is Bo Boroski, so it's more likely that notifying him would result in a technical foul on Pemsl, and as we have seen this season, not every official is open to talking with a player about missed foul calls.
- McCaffery lauded the Big Ten's response to what was one of the worst-officiated games I've ever seen.
- Be sure to read this excellent breakdown of college basketball refereeing by Black Heart Gold Pants, which gives legitimacy to the complaint that hoops referees work too many games in different locations to be truly effective.
McCaffery is also threatening to EXPAND his eleven-man rotation to include Dom Uhl, because why the hell not?
Odds and Ends
Sports Illustrated's All-Bowl Team includes Iowa halfback Akrum Wadley as an all-purpose selection, following Wadley's 283 all-purpose yards in the Pinstripe Bowl. USA Today omits Wadley from their All-Bowl Team, but include Amani Hooker and his twelve tackles.
Iowa finishes 21st in Matt Hinton's final college football rankings, the highest-rated five-loss team in the land. If you don't recall, Hinton is the most prominent of pure resume rankers, going back to his days as Saturday Morning Quarterback.
Land of Ten tries to peg where Iowa draftees will go this spring. They correctly admit this is early. Patience, Iowa NFL fan. Patience.
One year after firing an athletic director and prominent coach over a sexual assault scandal, Minnesota looks like it's headed toward firing an athletic director and prominent head coach over a sexual assault scandal.
Yes, the 1994 Cleveland Browns had Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Yes, the 1994 Cleveland Browns also had Kirk Ferentz. Yes, this is a long way for EDSBS to go to make a Kirk Ferentz joke. But it is a pretty good Ferentz joke.
Texas guard Andrew Jones has been diagnosed with leukemia, which led to a heartfelt response from a guy who knows something about having cancer at a young age:
breaks my heart... cancer sucks we gotta do whatever we can to end this https://t.co/FjVHdHydzK
— Patrick McCaffery (@patrickmccaff22) January 11, 2018
I had no idea that Florida had a Golden Corral:
Man caught with a full rack of ribs in his pants, police say... A further search uncovered nine pieces of fried chicken, two packs of hamburger buns and some mashed potatoes. https://t.co/LkHcesVmpC
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) January 10, 2018
When I die, let them say of me that my life's work led to characters played by Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood.