TUESDAYS WITH SCORE-Y
Kirk Ferentz was still basking in the glow of Saturday's offensive performance as he took the stage Tuesday. Here's what we learned:
- Just a couple of weeks removed from a clean bill of health heading into Wisconsin, Iowa is looking seriously banged up: Middle linebacker Jack Hockaday is out indefinitely, and outside linebacker Nick Niemann has at least one more week before he's ready to return. Noah Fant and Ivory Kelly-Martin, arguably Iowa's two best skill position players, are questionable after suffering potential concussions Saturday. Cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins, who missed last week, will be available but won't start.
- Also, Amani Jones will miss the first half after a questionable-at-best targeting call late against Minnesota. Kristian Welch will start at middle linebacker; it's his first start at that position, but Welch has played frequently at weakside linebacker this year.
- Speaking of which, there is no further discipline for Jones for that hit, and Ferentz kinda sorta disagrees with the call: "It kind of looked like it was more like a shoulder pad, and I thought Amani was trying to get out of the way, but maybe as much as anything it was a really loud hit. If you were at the stadium, it sounded like a shotgun going off, pads hitting pads really."
- Expect another day full of nickel defense Saturday, as long as Indiana doesn't drastically change anything. With Niemann out, Ferentz sees it as the best way to get the eleven best players on the field, the implication being that safety Geno Stone is more ready to play than backup outside linebacker Barrington Wade. "The fact that Geno has been playing pretty well and doing some good things on special teams, he's played well on defense when called upon, we felt like that gave us an option, and as we move forward in the schedule, without -- I'll think for one second here, but I think most of the teams we play right now from here on out offer you some opportunity to play that way if you choose to."
- The unquestionable most interesting moment of Tuesday's press conference: A question about the decisionmaking process on Iowa's fake field goal against Minnesota, which Kirk previously said was "everyone against one," Ferentz broke down the fourth wall: "I was just trying to add to the stereotype. I've kind of been typecast I think over the last 19 years." We've moved past New Kirk and into Meta Kirk. The New Kirk has become self-aware.
- Ferentz was asked a legit question on why Noah Fant isn't on the field more this year -- he's basically the top NFL tight end this April according to everyone and gets fewer reps than T.J. Hockenson -- and he sort of punted the answer: "I don't know about the noise outside; I'm aware of it, but what I know is what I see from the guys in terms of their demeanor in the building, demeanor with their teammates and everything else, and it's interesting we've had some really good players, a lot of those guys up on the wall over there, that were involved in either defensive schemes or touching the ball. I can't remember anybody ever coming in and complaining about like, hey, I'm not getting the ball enough or not enough routes for me or not enough touches...I would throw Noah in that category." So, it's not Fant personally, I think? Is he being punished for his family's social media grumblings? Because the guy is a beast, and that's a really stupid reason to not use him.
- HE SUBTWEETED ZACK ANNEXSTAD: "[Indiana is] similar in some ways to what we just saw, but the big difference in my mind is the quarterback is a very versatile guy. He's a really good thrower."
Yeah, that's all here.
Iowa golf is enjoying what is probably its best campaign since coach Tyler Stith took over four years ago. Or, at least they were until being disqualified in a tournament hosted by Marquette at Erin Hills last week on the weirdest rule violation I've ever seen.
A quick primer: In college golf, five players compete for each team, with the worst score getting dropped. So, in order to qualify, four of your five players have to finish the tournament, which isn't usually that difficult. It's golf. There aren't a ton of in-game injuries.
Of course, Iowa suffered one at Erin Hills: Matthew Walker withdrew halfway through the second round due to an undisclosed injury. That left the Hawkeyes with four golfers, including standout freshman Gonzalo Leal. That's when things got weird:
Not long after, freshman Gonzalo Leal, who was tied for the lead at 5 under, hit his tee ball right at the par-4 12th hole, which features a blind tee shot and long native grass along the right side.
After thinking his first tee shot could be lost, Leal hit a provisional ball, which also looked a little right. When he got up to the landing area, there were two balls in sight, one of which his group presumed to be that of Northwestern’s Lucas Becht. There was also a hazard nearby.
Leal thought his first ball ended up in the hazard, but his group couldn’t come to a consensus. He then decided to play two balls under Rule 3-3, which states that “in stroke play only, if a competitor is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure during the play of a hole, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls.”
Let's stop here for a moment, because this gets important later: If Leal's ball was simply lost, he was required to go back to the tee and hit another ball with a stroke penalty. If Leal's ball was in the hazard, he could simply drop, which would basically save him a shot. When you think your ball could be lost, you play a "provisional" ball to save the time walking back to the tee, which is what Leal did here, thinking his ball could be in the deep grass. When he arrived at the place he thought he hit the first ball, he believed his original ball was in the hazard. His playing partners apparently disagreed, so he invoked Rule 3-3 to basically allow a rules official to decide the issue later. He dropped a ball at the hazard and played both that ball and the provisional.
Here's the key part: In order to properly invoke 3-3, you must complete the hole with both shots.
OK, back to the story:
While Leal was taking his drop from the hazard, Becht hit his second shot onto the green. Leal then hit his dropped ball and his provisional ball, both onto the putting surface.
But when the players arrived on the green, they noticed three of Leal’s balls. After some discussion, they determined that Becht had actually hit Leal’s provisional ball and the ball that Leal thought was his provisional was actually his first ball.
So Northwestern screwed it all up. Becht hit Leal's provisional ball, Leal hit both his original ball -- which he thought was lost when he dropped -- and the ball he dropped at the hazard. Becht would get a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball, and Leal, who now had actually found his original ball in play, could simply play his not-lost, not-in-the-hazard original ball going forward without penalty. Right? Right?
While Becht took a two-shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball and went back to replay his second shot, Leal abandoned the ball he had dropped from the hazard and putted out his original ball. No problem, he thought. However, he had already invoked Rule 3-3, deciding to play two balls, neither of which was the ball that he putted out with.
OK, let's back up. Leal invoked Rule 3-3 because he didn't know if his provisional ball or his drop at the hazard should be the correct ball in play. Only Becht had hit the provisional ball and Leal's original shot -- for which he had not invoked Rule 3-3, because he would never need to if he understood it was his original shot -- was now Leal's second ball in play. The second part of Rule 3-3 states that, if the player commits a 'serious breach' with one ball after invoking Rule 3-3, the other ball counts even if it would otherwise be improper.
By not playing out with the provisional ball that the Northwestern guy hit, Leal was forced to finish with the dropped ball and take that score. But Leal pocketed the dropped ball when he found his original, which meant he had no score for the hole. If you don't have a score for a hole, you're disqualified. And when you're down to four guys and one is disqualified, your team is also disqualified for not having enough players. As a result, Iowa dropped 35 spots in the Sagarin rankings.
By the way, the team responded by breaking its own scoring record:
They finally rewrote the Rules of Golf last year to try to eliminate some of this tomfoolery, where a guy who has played the game for his whole life and his coach, who has played it for even longer, don't understand what just happened. They go into effect next year. It can't come soon enough, because you shouldn't need a law degree to understand how to play the game.
ODDS & ENDS
Speaking of golf, NO LAYING UP AT WAVELAND YO
Iowa women's basketball picked up McKenna Warnock, a Top 100 commitment out of Wisconsin, because Lisa Bluder owns Wisconsin recruiting. With a bunch of talent leaving in the next couple of years, Warnock will be important early.
"Herky" has now taken its place next to "Polecat" with the definitive oral history of Iowa's newest gadget play at The Athletic. Such wonderful nostalgia. Feels like it was only three days ago.
Wannstedt is on the Iowa bandwagon. Not sure if it's a good thing.
Derrick Willies became the first Iowa wide receiver to catch a pass in the NFL since...Kevin Kasper, I think?
Of course, nobody thinks of Willies as an Iowa wide receiver, because he was the rare application of the "one strike and you're out" rule that applies to almost nobody else.
You know you've hit rock bottom when WHO -- staid, buttoned-up, been-around-forever WHO -- puts you on blast:
juss wate till we fyer frost n git a good coach u rat basturdpic.twitter.com/IENqVlFukl— Cooter Ray Cornholer (@CooterRayCorn) October 8, 2018