Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Ferentz can win back fans' confidence.

-I think the next to biggest thing Kirk Ferentz can do to regain the confidence of many Hawkeye fans is to take down the wall of defensiveness and admit when his hunches are wrong. He doesn't have to apologize for following his "gut feeling", he just needs to be accountable for it. (I still think Ferentz was sending Stanzi a message for defying Ken O'Keefe late in the first half.)

What's that? Oh yeah, the biggest thing Ferentz can do to regain confidence is have Iowa win six of the next eight games. I think four is more likely.

-The Hawkeyes can beat anyone remaining on their schedule, and they can lose to anyone.

-Shonn Greene needed more touches in the fourth quarter at Pitt, but eventually Iowa has to come up with some offense from someone else or defenses will dare Iowa to pass---if they're not already.

-Is DJK overrated, or just in need of a better quarterback?

-Jake Christensen was a great high school quarterback, but he is below average in college. I root for the guy---I think he tries hard, and has been blamed for too much---but Jake and Iowa are a bad match. For whatever reason, he hasn't developed at all at Iowa.

-Rick Stanzi is no Chuck Long. He's no Drew Tate for that matter, but it's not hard to see Stanzi's teammates think he should be the guy, and at this point, Iowa needs to ride the roller coaster. He'll look great one game (see FIU) and shaky the next (see Iowa State), but he deserves a chance to play without looking over his shoulder. Jake's had his chance.

-Chigozie Ejiasi is a promising hire as Iowa's Director of Player Development. A guy who grew up in Cedar Rapids, and played for two Big Ten championship teams at Iowa should have an idea of what life is like for a Hawkeye football player.

-I'm not surprised Iowa State is 2-2, but I'm shocked why the Clones are 2-2: a complete lack of on-field discipline. Iowa State is young, very young, but there's no excusing 14 personal foul penalties. That's embarrassing, and partly on the coaches.

-Also on the coaches, Iowa State not being ready to play at UNLV. Much like Iowa needing to win at Pitt, a win at UNLV has the potential to be a swing game for ISU...perhaps the difference between no bowl and a bowl, so how could the Cyclones come out so flat and unprepared? There is absolutely no excuse. It's on the players too.

-Time to stop pretending there's a quarterback competition at Iowa State. Austen Arnaud earned the job, and if he's not hurt, he should be out there. He is a better quarterback than Phillip Bates. As noted before, Gene Chizik needs to find another way for Bates to play (receiver, punt returns, kick returns---something) and get him on board. If Arnaud gets hurt, Bates can go back to QB.

-Leonard Johnson is young and talented, but he should start the Kansas game on the bench after that cheap shot at UNLV. He was deservedly ejected, but Johnson needs to play under control. When he does, he'll be a good one.

-I watched the Hawkeye game at home in glorious HD, while I saw the Cyclone game at Jethro's. Also on hand, Andy Fales, Willie Farrell, Shane in Marshalltown, Eddie Berlin, Joe Woodley, JT the Nutt, Andy Garman and Jon Miller wearing his Drake basketball shirt. The place was packed in the first half, but nearly everyone cleared out at halftime. We stayed for the thrilling finish---and by that, I mean Andy's exit. (It was his bachelor party.) The last second Arnaud TD pass was good too.

-Jon Miller does cheer the Cyclones. I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

-Does anyone run the football harder than Marion Barber?

-Laura Linney did win the Emmy for John Adams. Since I was right, I don't have to watch an HGTV marathon.

-My four year old, Colin, just discovered Michael Jackson's music, which is all he needs to know for now. Hearing some of those old songs, I was reminded what a great talent Jackson was before he went all weird, white, and reclusive. Just try not to tap your feet along with Dirty Diana, Beat It, or Billie Jean.

-I loved that the Yankees left Roger Clemens out of the Yankee Stadium celebration, but there's no excuse for not including Joe Torre.

-The Ryder Cup was riveting television, like watching a great night of the Olympics. I love feeling patriotic, especially during a rough year like this one. Bonus props to Boo Weekley for watching Happy Gilmore as many times as the rest of us.

-I like the Chiefs, but they should not be shown on local television again unless there's no other option.

-How fun was it watching the Dolphins run all over the Patriots with the Single Wing? That was awesome. (Apologies to Patriots fans. You've had a great run. We have to gloat over your misery because we're jealous.)

-Are any of these new TV shows any good?

-Tina Fey's brilliant, spot-on impression of Sarah Palin did a great job of disguising what has been an otherwise lackluster start to SNL.

-Chris Hassel's "gut feeling" about what to wear during his sportscast hit the nail on the head for Hawk fans. Funny too.

-Baby Mama was less funny and more sweet than expected. One laugh out loud scene (wheeling Amy Poehler into the hospital). B-

-Congrats to Andy and Kahala! (and Lisa and Jeff)



Kirk said...

Didn't I-State (cough cough) promise Bates that he could play QB? I'm pretty sure that's why he picked I-State (hack) over the Huskers.

Anonymous said...

First, Kirk, its still Iowa State, not I-State.

Secondly, Bates was promised by the previous coaching staff that he would play QB. Has he not been playing QB? He has, he just isn't good enough to unseat Austen for the starting position.

So, he can "play" QB whenever Austen may get injured, or he can do whatever it takes to see the field.


Shawn said...


You say that Jake has not developed at Iowa, who has in the last 4 years?? What has happened to player development in general? Where is the next Robert Gallery or Dallas Clark?? Both of them were nothing special coming into Iowa and both left as monsters and first round draft picks. Iowa needs to bring back the "Break the Rock" mentality and get player development back to a top priority.

shane - marshalltown said...

Iowa's problem is this, Shawn...Back in those days, Iowa had 2 star rated players who had a chip on their shoulder and wanted to prove they were on the same level as those 4 and 5 star pampered prima donnas...

Now they have those same 2 star rated players, it's just that they THINK they're on the same level as the big time recruits just because they got a scholly from (what used to be) an upper level Big10 program...screw actually, WORKING at it...

What's even worse, is when guys like Jake and Ryan Bain or Blake Larsen come in with the 4 star stamp, but have apparently hit their peak before hitting campus...

Iowa does have some studs it would appear, but they're all on the defensive side of the ball at this time. Hopefully we'll be talking about "development" with the offensive line as the season goes along, since they seem to be much improved, in the running game at least.

Kirk said...

Lastly Brian (yeah it's Brian, not Bryan), check out I-State website; http://www.cyclones.com/

If I-State promised Bates the starting QB position, then they HAVE to start him, I'ts state law man.

Anonymous said...


Is there ANYWAY POSSIBLE that you could get KDSM to show the Green Bay vs Tampa Bay game this weekend? They don't seem to reply to emails and they have horrible choices for games. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Oh and Keith, could you also do something about the economy? It's getting out of control too.

Keith Murphy said...

1) Sorry, it's going to be Vikings vs. Titans and Redskins vs. Cowboys.

2) Send me a check for $700 billion. I'll take care of the rest.

Shawn said...


You are correct on many levels but one thing I would still question is why is it Iowa is getting 4 Star recruits that hit their prime before hitting Iowa City?? Who is in charge of recruiting and how are they missing the mark this badly on some of these players. If you take out the obvious fact that the Iowa recruiters are horrible judges of character, they are still missing the mark on the talent level of some of these guys.
I guess the major disappointment that I have is once Kirk righted the ship and Iowa had three straight years of 10+ wins, I thought down years would be 7 or maybe 8 win seasons with a .500 year mixed in every so often. We have seen nothing but a decline since "The Catch" in that Outback Bowl. I'm hoping that this year will spark a turn around and I still feel that 9 wins are not out of the question this year. Anything less than a bowl game, even if it is in Detroit, and there will need to be some serious discussions made surrounding the entire program - up to and including the head coaching position.

shane - marshalltown said...

The only thing I can tell you is, recruiting is an inexact science...if it was that easy, Bob Sanders would've been a 5-star recruit and would've never fallen into Iowa's lap.

Not to mention USC and Ohio State would send almost every one of their players to the NFL...but they don't. But what they DO do is, grab up every possible 4 and 5 star athlete they can and by sheer numbers, put out the most athletic team they possibly can...which is usually good enough.

Iowa's never going to get those numbers of 4's and 5's, so it's more noticeable when they don't pan out.

2 things really hurt Iowa's ascent to the top of the Big11...

1. Charlie Weis going to ND
2. Ron Zook going to Illinois

Right as Iowa was making hay in talent rich Illinois, those 2 walked in with the right credentials(Weis) and the right line of bullcrap(Zook)...Even though neither one can coach, it slammed the door just as quickly as it had opened just a couple of years before.

Shawn said...


One flaw in the Weis/Zook arugement that I can see - neither Gallery or Clark were from Illinois. Player development is gone, plain and simple.
I don't expect 4 and 5 star recruits all the time but I do think we should be able to expect to beat Northwestern, at home, more often than not. I do think we should be able to expect to be in the upper half of the Big Ten and I do think we should be able to expect a bowl game every year, even if it is a trip to Detroit once and a while.
Look, I don't mind losing and I don't believe that Iowa will ever be a consistant national power but the way they have been losing the last couple of years is rather concerning, in my humble opinion.
Thanks for the quality and intelligent debate.


shane - marshalltown said...

Hey Shawn,

I'm not saying all of Iowa's best players were from Illinois, just pointing out that Illinois was on the cusp of being a very fertile recruiting ground for the Hawks, that would've kept the program moving forward instead of falling back.

I can't totally agree with your player development point, due to the fact that Iowa keeps putting players in the NFL. What they're not doing is developing QB's, specifically. (Tate and Jake)

I also think they're still feeling the effects of all of the injuries to the receiving corp last year. Stross and Brodell seem a step slow and Moeaki isn't having the impact we thought he would once he got back either...

I'm just not ready to scrap the program and the coaching staff and especially the players, just yet...This group of players seems to be putting in the effort, which does lead to development and they're mostly freshmen and sophomores.

So keep the faith Shawn, if they hadn't turned the ball over 5 times, we wouldn't be complaining about a loss to Northwestern right now, but rather talking about the big game with MSU next weekend.

You're welcome and thank you too...I thought all online discussions were supposed to end with cursing and "moron" being used 10 or more times...