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Zone of Pain

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Superman wins. He always does.

Our beloved Hawkeyes, as you're likely aware, lost in a 79-48 squeaker last night. It's a) sad and b) completely accurate to point out that the game wasn't nearly as close as the final margin indicates; Ohio State went on a 44-12 run, if you can call it that, to turn an 18-14 game into a 62-26 shitstomping. The staple of Ohio State's play was a devastating 1-2-2 press zone that forced Iowa into nine first half turnovers; during the same time frame, the Buckeyes committed nary a one.

Again, while there's no way we'll be doing any research on it [laaaaazy. --ed.] there can't have been very many games--like, ever--where Iowa has spent nearly 20 minutes straight getting doubled up.

As we sort of saw coming, Ohio State's starters didn't play much; they combined for just a hair over half the minutes played, and they left the game en masse with 15:39 remaining (Evan Turner eventually came back in for a few more minutes, because Evan Turner is a dick).

What's troubling is the chorus of post-game comments, from both Lickliter and his charges. All of them, both last night and throughout the course of the year, have focused on "not executing." Technically, I'm sure that's true. What worries me is that it's awfully reminiscent of the unending cacophony, again from coaches and players, of "lacking mental toughness" during the [name redacted] era.

Granted, I'd rather have things the way they are now, as the coaches focus their comments on the players' actual play and not their steely resolve or whatever. Also, I suppose there's no good way to spin this situation through quotes; even if the blindingly obvious answer to "why did you lose" is "because we are young, unathletic, and bad at sports," neither the coach nor the players can be saying that out loud.

Still, I do worry that when Iowa fields a team that is so completely overmatched as it was last night, the players spend the whole time blaming themselves afterwards. The context in which they do so seems almost irrelevant when the coach and his system are, just like last year, being held above reproach.