this intro can be no longer than 1150 characters. or else the whole piece would be here.
(The following really does, eventually, truly, get to Iowa Football and What We're Going To Do About It.)
I have a few football prejudices, like any guy who's had 6 or 7 orthopaedic surgeries (and this before arthroscopy), and who wakes up in the morning with a headache and a beady, moist eye for the day's first robusto.
(Crisis in my house, at 5 a.m.: the programmed coffee machine didn't fire, and I can't find the Advil.)
One of my prejudices: I prefer coaches who tell the fucking truth.
We have a great coach, we all know it. Ferentz is a superior coach, a superior man, and this is certainly not about him; it might be about whichever media slime consultant taught him to manage the suck-ups, poodles and phartys that constitute the Iowa sports journalism community; but something about maturity tells me that tilting at that rusted Iowa windmill is a waste of time.
So, let's have fun. Which college coach, of all, can you count on to tell the truth? And what can we learn?
Only one. The Old Ball Coach. Spurrier.
Spurrier was a neighbor back in the day he was getting demoralized in the NFL. He was in the same school district. I never talked to him. I just read what he said, and didn't say, in the paper. At the high school games he just sat up high and over to the side, there, with his wife, hoping people would let the OBC be just another Dad. This guy has both feet on the ground.
Do you ever tire of hearing about "rhythm", "tempo", "execution"?
Look, I know "tempo" when I see it: "tempo" is when Robert Gallery or Marshall Yanda is pancaking the fancy boys from Michigan. That's fucking tempo. Tempo is putting the hurt on the other guys. Tempo is KOK getting the play in without the Psycho-Artist or Jake waving their arms, clockwise fashion, as in, "Make up your fucking mind so I can run this dead pig up their asses before they can take a breath."
Does the OBC use these words? "Execution"? Fuck no. The OBC is still playing the game. "Well, we just are gonna go out there and pitch it to places we don't think they want to be, and if we catch it, well, whee, you never know. Hope it works, and if it doesn't, well, Jeri'll make breakfast and we'll tee it up next week, I kinda guess. And jeez."
What did the OBC say after they beat Georgia? Well, I am not going to look it up. Something like, "What the hell, guys, it's not like we beat the Pats. We beat Georgia. I sure as hell hope I can beat Georgia. What's the next question?"
What did the OBC say after a lackluster game against USL? Well, I'm not going to ... Something like, "These guys are going to wish they'd played better, sometime around 5:15 on Tuesday afternoon ..."
What did the OBC say last night, at halftime, after making Andre the Perfect look like he was afraid to arm-wrestle with children?
"Ahh, we're doing okay, but if I had a done a better job, we'd a run more, so I better go work on that."
Notice anything about "execution", "tempo" and "rhythm" here?
Do you notice that the OBC is still playing, not "managing", the game?
If you were 19 or 20, what would you rather do? "Play", or "manage"?
Okay, I know, it's the internet. Billboard/powerpoint rhetoric, none of this 19th century paragraph shit, and certainly, no syllogisms.
And the relevance of the OBC to the Hawks?
1. Chris Smelley is not as good as Jake. He's got an arm like mine, only I'm 50 and I've had rotator cuff surgery, and I haven't thrown a ball 50 yards since. Smelley lofts the ball, Jake grips and rips. Smelley did really well last night because ...
2. Smelley wasn't supposed to pretend he was Peyton Manning, so 3/4 of his pass plays were hard-coded, snap-and-throws. Why the hell don't we give these freshman and sophomores some good plays to run without audibilizing them insensate because ...
3. Even Flutie said last night, paraphrase here, "These audibiles are well and good, but could we just, please, call a play and run it" (like Sonny Jurgenson says we should)? And further ...
4. Exactly WHO in the USC BACKFIELD is better than AY and DS, because ...
5. We have offensive weapons who are buried, seemingly, under memos and control scenarios and ...
6. What the fuck! are we going to play this entire year with a guy who led the league in rushing TWO YEARS AGO, who is SUPPORTED by a guy WHO MAY WELL START IN THE NFL, and audible, check down (the only thing I want to check down is whether or not I zipped it up), into oblivion, and not give him the ball when the linebackers are 4 yards off the LOS ... and
7. Did anyone see the OBC throw swing-screens and long laterals whenever the Blue Cats came too strong? Because I did, and that spreads the goddamn defense so that the 20 year-old Jake with the rocket arm has a chance to ...
8. Get the ball all over the field, like the OBC did, even though Smelley couldn't hit my sister on a 30 yard flag; and ...
Okay. Enough. I sure hope we have some fun tomorrow. Quoting Marian Edelman, kinda, it's "for the children". We've got a lot of extremely talented young Iowa men who need to be cut loose and instructed: "Football is a game. It is a game of physical and strategic domination. We are going to physically and strategically dominate them. It will be fun. You will physically dominate, because that is what Doyle requires. We will start doing our jobs and coach football on the actual size field, just like the OBC. You guys stop thinking so much, because that's our job. And besides, there's no 5'8", 220 lb. assholes from Des Moines in the stands to boo, so we can all relax. Remember Tim Dwight. He was a major stud."
So: The field is 120 by 53. Could we please use more than 20 percent of it? There are 11 guys on offense, and 6 can catch the ball. Uhhhh, could we use the 6th guy (our absent fullback) to do more than tell the middle linebacker where to blitz? And... Run-DJK scores ever five times he touches the ball.
It's a game, let's have fun and win. Jeez.