I only have a few minutes before the newscast, but wanted to express how impressed I was with Iowa's effort in the Alamo Bowl. Where's that team been since September?
I shouldn't be surprised, although I am, because Kirk Ferentz told me two weeks ago that he was re-energized and refocused on returning Iowa to "Hawkeye football"; that's the kind of play we've come to expect from Ferentz-coached-teams. More hustle, harder hits, fewer penalties, etc. Somehow it all went missing for most of this disappointing season and Kirk didn't pass the blame. He took responsibility and said he needed to make sure the Hawks did all the little things. Today in San Antonio, they did.
Well, almost. The game first turned on the ineligible receiver call. At first blush, I thought it was a horrible call, but upon further review of both the play and the rule book, I think they got it right. Chandler was in motion, so to be eligible he needed to either be on the end, which he wasn't, or in the backfield, which he really wasn't either. He was slightly behind the line, but not enough. 21-3 turned into 14-10, and the penalty had nothing to do with whether the play worked. The second biggest impact play was the ill-advised trick play with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter. It's true, if it worked, we'd all praise the daring call, but Iowa needed three points. This is one time conservative would have made more sense.
Other than that, a good all around effort from the coaches and players, especially Andy Brodell, who left the Longhorns stunned that a white guy from Iowa could run that fast, and Drew Tate, who once again proved he has enough heart to nearly make up for his temper. Nearly.
Great game. Glad I got to see it. I also think we witnessed that Kirk Ferentz will not let the "little things" slide again. I also hope everyone in Hawkeye country, including the coaches and players, realizes Iowa should have won this game. Big improvement, but not all the way back yet.
Happy New Year.