Good News, Bad News, A Whole Hell of a Lot of News. Medical notes from a busy July day for Iowa football...
Bad news first: Julian Vandervelde had minor surgery recently, on what we don't know:
"We were hopeful that Julian’s injury could be healed through normal rehab, but it became apparent surgical repair was the best path to take. Julian may miss some playing time, but we are optimistic he will return to full strength very early in the season. We’ll take it day by day," said Ferentz.
Speculation over Vandervelde's injury status has continued since the cryptic WOOT WOOT Facebook status update he left on June 18. At that time, Ferentz denied he had undgergone surgery; clearly, things have changed. The "may miss some playing time" part could be the nail in the coffin of the Vandervelde-to-center movement, as it's difficult to imagine Ferentz makes Julian change positions without an August camp to work him out. He's instrumental to the offensive line, though, and will start somewhere if and when he's back to 100%,
Now, the good news (and, oh, is it good):
If Monday provided any indication about the health of the Iowa football team's most important running back, Jewel Hampton delivered it with a skip and a smile.
Hampton jogged up a flight of steps to answer the door of his westside Iowa City house Monday afternoon.
The Hawkeyes' top backup last season to departed all-American Shonn Greene then was asked about a possible knee injury suffered in workouts last week.
"I'm OK," he said.
When the 5-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore-to-be from Indianapolis was asked whether he would play in the fall, Hampton said with a grin, "Don't know yet."
When Hampton bounded up the stairs to his front door, he wore sweatpants and showed no visible sign of a brace or other injury-related precautions.
If there was any chance Hampton's ACL was torn (as was initially rumored), he would almost certainly be in a brace, and would likely be unable to move (let alone run up the stairs of his house) a mere 3-4 days after the injury. This might be just a minor tweak of Hampton's springtime injury blown up into RUNNINGBACKPOCALYPSE by, well, people like us (you have to admit, we tried to limit the rumormongering here). Per reader Stein, even Hampton doesn't know anything yet. As he posted to Facebook:
Q's about my knee stop em cause "IDEK BOUT MY KNEE YET!!"
I'd have to check my Facebook-to-English Dictionary, but I believe that roughly translates to, "Kind gentlemen, please refrain from inquiring about the current medical status of my knee joint, for I have not yet receieved the results of the medical testing I recently underwent. Thank you and good day." So we wait.
Should the worst news come to pass, we might not be in the predicament we think. I posted a comment in an MGoBlog board post on Hampton's injury, and got this response from a Florida-based Michigan fan:
Brinson played for a team where he was basically options number one, two, and three. The QB could run a little bit, but couldn't throw for crap, so the coach called a lot of predictable running plays. The game I went to, the QB made a couple of pass atttempts that were so terrible that the opposing coach pretty much put eight or nine men in the box the rest of the game and almost upset them.
Running backs like carries, but it's really tough to gain a lot of yards when everybody on the field knows you're getting the ball. Despite this, he still managed to get about 175 yards and avoid an upset for his team.
Playing against Brinson may be a case of "be careful what you ask for."
It's essentially confirmation of what we've heard about Brinson for the past year (good kid, hard-nosed runner, put his high school team on his back), but at this point I'll take any comfort I can get.
I've Got My Philosophy. An interesting article yesterday by Andy Hamilton (unquestionably the Press-Citizen's best sportswriter) on a shift in Iowa's recruiting philosophy, away from postseason hoarding and toward early commitments:
While the Hawkeyes haven't gone to the extreme of pursuing junior high stars, Iowa seems to be inching toward the pack of programs that have moved the recruiting calendar forward.
The Hawkeyes already have secured eight commitments to its 2010 class, marking the most ever by July 1 under Ferentz.
"Just because of the way kids have been committing early, we've been a little more aggressive in our approach to recruiting and trying to get some of these guys locked up," [Recruiting Coordinator Eric] Johnson said.
"I don't want to get into specifics because you don't like to give away secrets on what you're doing. But we changed our approach a little bit. It's just like when you evaluate the season on the field, you evaluate the things you do off the field, and coach Ferentz is tremendous in doing that. We've changed some of the stuff we've been doing to try to be more successful from a recruiting standpoint."
As you may remember (and as Hamilton points out), Iowa had just two commits on July 1 last year, and one of those two left for Michigan State before the end of the month. Last year's success surely has something to do with this year's recruiting success, but Iowa has secured more early commits this summer than it ever has, even at the height of the Ferentz era. A number of them have listed the early and ongoing interest from the coaching staff as one of the reasons they decided to commit. Under the old Ferentz "wait until they play their senior year" doctrine, we may well have lost out on those players.
Footnotes Speaking of recruiting, Rivals.com gets an interview with 4-star Ohio offensive lineman Andrew Donnal ($); he likes Iowa. Single-game tickets went on sale yesterday, Get in early to pick up that seat in the 54th row of the north end zone! Jacody Coleman announces he's trasferring to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, which makes all the sense in the world. Beaumont is his hometown, and Lamar wil start playing I-AA football in 2010, for the first time in over 20 years. We wish him the best. Gil Thorp is on Twitter, which might break the internet if it's half as funny as Marty Moon.