Fun With Depth Charts. The two-deeps for ISU were released Monday. A couple of changes from last week, but nothing that's surprising:
- Tailback - Adam Robinson replaces PAKIBOMB as starting halfback. Robinson took nearly every snap at tailback in the second half last week and ran effectively, picking up 63 yards on 15 carries. While Ferentz has said both backs will get carries this week, it looks like the APAKILYPSE lasted exactly 30 minutes.
- Offensive Guard - The interior line remains a trainwreck. Dace Richardson cedes the right tackle spot back to the returning Kyle Calloway and enters a dangerous menage a trois with Dan Doering and Adam Gettis for the two guard spots. On top of that, Ferentz told the press yesterday that Julian Vandervelde is set to play, though he probably won't start. The assumption from the beginning has been that Vandervelde and Richardson would eventually take the two guard positions, and that assumption appears to be rounding into form.
- Wide Receiver - Marvin McNutt, who (despite a couple of drops) was one of the few bright spots in the opener, retains the top line at wideout. DJK, recovering from a number of minor injuries, remains relegated to the bench despite a couple of key plays in the second half last week. Morehouse wonders aloud if McNutt has truly supplanted DJK; given the evidence, I'd say it's obvious he has.
- Cornerback - Greg Castillo, who was picked on like a red-headed midget last week by UNI, is now your starting left cornerback. Commence running of gravel through hair and gnashing of teeth; this could be ugly. Micah Hyde enters the depth chart as his backup; his redshirt was burned last week.
- Special Teams - Amari Spievey and Paki O'Meara are still listed as kick returners, and Spievey as the sole punt returner. Colin Sandeman has finally been cleared to play, however, and Ferentz has mentioned Paul Chaney as an option. A couple of time last week, Spievey was clearly exhausted by the time fourth down came around, and was forced to fair catch returnable kicks. I can't see that experiment going on much longer if he can't handle the workload (no knock on Amari there, either; if I was chasing receivers all over the field and making a half-dozen crucial tackles in every series, I would drop dead in 5 minutes).
The Pollish Cavalry. Iowa dropped out of the top 25 in both the AP and USA Today polls, getting enough votes for 35th in the AP poll and 28th in the USAT. The result is wholly unsurprising, given the lackluster performance on Saturday; I'm actually surprised we finished as high as we did with the coaches.
Which is not to say the polls aren't baffling. Florida, Texas, and USC dominate the top, and rightfully so, but the real questions come near the bottom. Georgia remains ranked in both polls despite reinforcing their fanbase's greatest fear - that there is no offense after Stafford and Moreno - in an embarassing loss to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys' rival, OU, remains in the mid-teens, even though their best two skill position players are out for the foreseeable future and their offensive line leaks like a beer bong. In fact, Boomer Sooner is only two spots behind BYU in the USA Today poll. The lesson, as always: Early season polling is like calling the psychic hotline.
HATE WEEK Fluff. Iowa-ISU week always generates a lot of fawning press and expectation-diminshing interviews. This year is especially bad. Paul Rhoads loves the Cy-Hawk game. Kirk Ferentz loves the Cy-Hawk game. Kirk Ferentz kinda likes Paul Rhoads. In fact, everyone kinda likes Paul Rhoads. Iowa State expects Iowa to be prepared to play, regardless of last week's result. Iowa State is gearing up, but "it's just another game" this season for the Clones. Tony Moeaki. Tony Moeaki. Adam Robinson. Adam Robinson.
I understand Hlas' point on the Iowa-ISU series: It boosts interest in football throughout the state, it's a friendly rivalry that should be played, etc. But the fact that we get the same two columns every season, in an attempt to counterbalance the true sentiment of both programs -- columns telling us that Iowa thinks this game is very important, and that Iowa State thinks it's just another game on the schedule -- only proves the point: Iowa State has taken this game more seriously than Iowa has in the past decade. I, for one, wish we would adopt their mentality. I'm really sick of losing over there.
Urban Meyer Tells You Where to Stick Your Pro-Style Offense. I'm not a big fan of Urban Meyer or Florida Gator football, but I have to give him credit for saying what we all know:
[I]t is little surprise that almost all N.F.L. teams occasionally use a four- or five-receiver offense, and that Florida Coach Urban Meyer, who has all but perfected the spread with the Gators after giving it prominence at Utah, has been asked for advice from at least four N.F.L. teams, including the New England Patriots.
"I think it would have worked years ago," Meyer said. "No one has had enough — I don’t want to say courage — no one has wanted to step across that line. Everyone runs the same offense in the N.F.L. A lot of those coaches are retreads. They get fired in Minnesota, they go to St. Louis. They get fired in St. Louis and go to San Diego. I guess what gets lost in the shuffle is your objective is to go win the game. If it’s going to help you win the game, then you should run the spread."
A friend asked me this weekend why I prefer college football, and I had one word: variety. Ohio State is running a hybrid pistol option/pro-style offense this year, and is coming off a game with triple-option-running Navy. In the Big Ten, you can face the run spread of Michigan, followed by four-wide Purdue, followed by the power running game of Wisconsin or Iowa, followed by the Wing T amalgam being run at Penn State. Contrast that with the NFL, where one team has the gaul to run the Wildcat (which has been run by Houston Nutt for years), prompting Warren Sapp to say that team is disrespecting the defense and every coach in the league to immediately call their nearest college coach for an explanation. It's comical, really.
The NFL is a copycat league full of retreads who know nothing but the same West Coast offense they learned from Bill Walsh (or whatever Walsh disciple they worked with), playing with the same antiseptic playbook that every other Walsh clone uses. It's boring football, but it has fireworks and Metallica and scantily-clad cheerleaders, and so we watch.
Anyway, testify, Mr. Meyer. Testify.
- Jeremiha Hunter won a share of the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week award for his blocked kick against Northern Iowa.
- Northwestern drew a paltry 17,857 fans for its curbstomping of Towson. That is less than 40% of Ryan Field capacity, putting jNWU in the bottom six for attendance and next-to-last in percentage of capacity. LTP calls the attendance "pathetic," and I can't disagree. Still they wonder why nobody wants them for a bowl game.
- There is another game this weekend of some importance: Doc Saturday runs the tale of the tape on Jim Tressel and Pete Carroll.
- Illinois defensive tackle Josh Brent, who did 30 days in county jail for a DUI arrest, has not yet been suspended for any game time by Ron Zook. Just another reason for Urban Meyer to go crazy on his ass.