Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 13, 2010
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IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts for a Monday following the Big Game...that, in all candor, wasn't.
Yep. The sun was shining - brilliantly, in fact. The yellow gold poms provided by the folks from Iowa Corn added to the color and atmosphere. And the pregame banter between those in black and those in red was, as always, entertaining. But the game? Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette called the performance registered by the University of Iowa football team Saturday at historic Kinnick Stadium against intrastate rival Iowa State "surgical." Me? From where I was standing for the opening quarter, it looked extremely efficient and well-executed on the offensive side of the ball, and pretty much dominating on the other side of the ball.
I mean, really, just how are you supposed to complete a pass when you have Clayborn bearing down on your backside and Binns with hands seemingly high enough to touch not just the rim, but the top of a basketball backboard? Kind of - as a good friend of mine likes to say - "crazy speak." And don't even get me started on Klug and Daniel and Ballard. Even an admitted X-and-O's dummy like me can see that's one special group of defensive linemen.
I think I heard on the news this morning that citations were down from Game 1 to Game 2. I made two full swings through parking lots Saturday morning and my sense was simple: Lots of people having a good time on another delightful day for college football. In fact, the guy in charge of the weather Saturday deserves a game ball...particularly when you recall how wet all of us were two years ago at that event.
I was anxious to see Jewel Hampton in action Saturday. The talented running back from Indy didn't disappointment or his head coach the sellout crowd assembled at Kinnick minus, of course, those came to cheer the other guys. Hampton ran hard two years ago as true freshman and he ran hard Saturday. He was quick two years ago and he was quick Saturday. He also looked as advertised: Bigger.
Two is always better than one, particularly when it comes to running backs at the University of Iowa. In fact, three is better than two and four is better than three. You get my point. The Hawkeyes clearly have three - Hampton, Adam Robinson and Paki O'Meara - that the coaching staff feels confident in. Now, here's hoping the Hawkeyes have all three of them healthy when, say, the calendar flips from October to November and, of course, beyond.
Ed Podolak commented on it. So did Iowa State coach Pal Rhoads, albeit indirectly. Did you see it? You know, the "chemistry" between Ricky Stanzi and Darrell Johnson-Koulianos. Eddie after a pretty 13-yard gain in Iowa's second possession of the afternoon: "That's two seniors who worked really hard together this summer." Rhodes: "They have the ability to run it. They have the ability to pass it. They are 12 years into their program and they look like it."
I've always like the way Stanzi threw the ball, particularly on the run. But, man, he really, really, really looks comfortable/confident out there. He also is in full command of his troops...which really comes as no surprise. Even from a distances it's clear: He likes his teammates. His teammates like him.
Once again this year my pregame routine includes a tour of Kinnick's press box and visit to the playing field with a pair of "Kirk's Kids," the program Allied Insurance sponsors that give a Big Brother/Big Sister from eastern Iowa and central Iowa a chance to bring their little guy/gal to Kinnick. I've had four great young kids in the first two weeks of the season. I'm pretty sure they enjoy the journey through the press box. I know - based on how big their eyes get -- that they love the time down on the field.
You know, some across the state want the Iowa-Iowa State game to be played at the end of the season. I don't think that will ever happen for too many reasons to go into here. But, anyway, on Saturday - with the sun shining, the bands cranking it out, the cheerleaders and dance squads doin' their thing, and everyone in the grandstands working on a tan they'll be proud of Monday at work - I couldn't help but wonder why anyone would want to move it? It's right where it belongs.
The good news: Ron Rainey's Iowa soccer team ran its 2010 record to 6-1 Sunday with a 3-1 win over Davidson. The amazing news: Davidson's goal was the first allowed by the Hawkeyes in a school-record 485 minutes, 48 seconds.
If my math is correct, it's Iowa 70, Iowa State 10 in the last two meetings. You have to go back to 1985 and 1986, when Iowa put up 57 and 43 to ISU's 10, to find a more dominating pair of Hawkeye victories in a series that now stands at 39-19 in favor of the good guys all-time. Of course, those wins came during a remarkable 15-year run for the guys in black and gold thanks to Hadyen Fry and his staffs, staffs that included, by the way, a young guy named Kirk Ferentz.
As is the family custom, we sat down Sunday to watch Saturday's game. Kudos to the ABC crew. Not only did they salute our state's agricultural heritage with some exceptional videography of some nearby cornfields, but, early in the second half when coming back to the broadcast from commercial, they offered a beautifully stunning image of Old Cap and a handful of other campus locations. I can't recall any better. The broadcast also was sprinkled with a fair amount UI history and facts. It's this small stuff that separates our product so very nicely from what you see on Sundays.
So, now, Kirk's 24-hour rule calls out for full-time attention to the Arizona Wildcats. Two nationally ranked football teams dueling in the desert in six days. It's a stiff test...but more on that later in the week.
Random Thoughts is written by Rick Klatt, the UI Athletics Department's associate athletics director for external affairs, and is an exclusive feature of Hawk Talk Daily, the daily e-newsletter of the UI Athelics Department.