Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 4, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A great Sunday in the Heartland after a great - but really, really wet - Saturday in the Heartland...
So, what more can be said about FRYfest? Another grand slam for the Iowa City Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wow. That was fun...and allow me to say thanks to not only Josh and the gang, but the hundreds of volunteers that make it happen. A tip of the fedora to you. Here's a link to a story and a great video: HERE.
Rain, rain, go away No. 1... Pretty strange - well, maybe, the better word is "different" - don't you think? Kudos to the fans inside Kinnick yesterday that took it in stride. Even more kudos to those who came back.
Rain, rain, go away No. 2... Pretty strange - well, maybe, the better words are "kind of weirdly outrageous" - don't you think. A weather delay at Kinnick followed by the same about three hours later in "The Big House" and later still at Notre Dame.
OK. Let's just put a big black "S" on the front of his jersey because James Morris is looking more and more like Superman. And, boy, didn't he look really, really comfortable toting that pigskin?
You know, Hawk fans, if you don't realize it yet - and I have to believe most of you do - we have a pretty good football coach. Or, more correctly, we have a very good head coach and a very good coaching staff. Saturday's victory was Kirk and his staff's 90th victory against 60 losses. 90 wins, 60 losses. In the crazy and competitive business that is NCAA FBS college football, that's pretty darn good. In fact, it's very good.
Speaking of the coaching staff, it took the red shirts off seven freshmen yesterday: Running back Mika'il McCall, running back Damon Bullock, tight end Ray Hamilton, wide receiver Marcus Grant, defensive back Jordan Lomax and linebacker Marcus Collins. I personally think this speaks to the tremendous talent that is choosing to attend the UI and play football for the Hawkeyes.
I'd say our new punter - Eric Guthrie - had a pretty good debut: He averaged 39 yards on three kicks and dropped a pair inside the 20...all on the same day that his predecessor, Ryan Donohue, made the Detroit Lions' roster. Heck of a deal.
It's Iowa-Iowa State week, a seven--day period of time that makes some Iowans very nervous and causes others to do and say some pretty wacky things. The Hawkeyes will be looking for their fourth straight win, their 17th in Ames, and their 40th in the series, against 19 losses. Let's hope Mother Nature smiles on the Heartland and give us a day as grand as this event is for the state.
Is it OK for me to say what I'm pretty certain most of "Hawkeye Nation" is thinking this morning? Marvin, sure am glad you chose the Hawks over the NFL. Yes, Mr. McNutt picked up Saturday right where he left off a year ago and, man, that's just one really, really beautiful thing. We also got to see him put on the burners. Those were Usain Bolt-like strides to the north endzone on the square-out-turned-seven play midway through the second quarter!
One of the many things I like about our head coach is the fact that he's pretty straight-forward, as evidenced by his response to the final question in his post-game interview yesterday: "We're 1 0 and have a lot of work to do. Pretty much simple as that," Kirk said. "Be it the kicking game, all the things we talked about. We have great teaching film to work off of here. Got some good experience in playing in wet weather. That's a positive, I guess. Got a lot of guys I think that are capable of playing a lot better. That's going to be the thing we have to do not only this week but this month to push forward." You can read the full transcript HERE.
According to the UI's Darren Miller - who wrote HERE after yesterday's victory - McNutt will enter next week's Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game with 94 career receptions and 18 receiving touchdowns. Now, going back to the earlier comment about our coaching staff, wasn't it the coaching staff that suggested to Marvin he give that receiver thing a go? Hmmm.
Here's a link to some free video detailing yesterday's game and available inside Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media portal of hawkeyesports.com which is also part of the new Big Ten Digital Network. You can read about that great option that provides access to a ton of video and audio content from the UI and all 11 of the other Big Ten schools HERE.
Tim Dwight remains a popular fellow based on the applause meter when he was introduced yesterday at halftime along with the others who were officially inducted into the UI Athletics Hall of Fame last night. He also looks like he could strap on the shoulder pads and helmet and be a difference-maker on the gridiron. He thrilled us often on the field and and on the track. The play I'll never forget is the punt return in the rain at Penn State. Like Marvin yesterday, Tim turned on the burners on the one.
The Hawkeyes also set a record off the field yesterday: An all-time high in ridership for the Hawkeye Express. The "Train to the Game" busted through the 5,000 rider plateau, logging 5,240 passengers - 300 better than the previous high set last year when the Hawkeyes entertained Ball State. Congratulations to our partners on the project, the Sabin family of Iowa Northern Railway fame.
I really like the look this year's street banners. I also really like the Kid Captain piece of that puzzle. If you didn't see them yesterday, they are on the first 13 light poles on Hawkeye Drive beginning at Melrose Avenue and going north. Here's a link to the story of Benjamin Wilson, yesterday's special guest of the Hawkeyes and the Iowa Children's Hospital: HERE.
A heads up for Hawkeye basketball fans, particularly those of you in central Iowa: Be on the lookout for a special ticket offer announcement early next week that involves the Hawkeyes' game against Creighton in November at Wells Fargo Arena. And, while I'm talking hoops, it was great that Fran McCaffery provided a helping hand (voice?) during yesterday's rain delay by spending 20 minutes or so on the Hawkeye Radio Network with Dolph and Eddie. It's true...Fran is the Man.
Lastly, it was great to bump into Brad Banks yesterday morning after he completed a visit to the pre-game show for the Hawkeye Radio Network - which we really appreciate. We shared a laugh and then we shared another when I said - like me - he married way over his head. Brad's million-dollar smile was a mile wide after that one!