The real news comes with beat writers in the hall (video of which can be watched here), where those involved actually know something about the team and aren't simply asking each coach the same "Isn't the SEC so awesome?" question. And yesterday was a veritable treasure trove of Hawkeye news:
* Suspended Reality: We finally got some answers on how long this summer's ne'er-do-wells will be missing. Kyle Calloway (Moped DUI) will miss one game. James Ferentz (Got hammered on a Sunday, acted a fool) will also miss one game. Shaun Prater (Non-moped DUI) will miss two. None of these are surprising in the least, though (and I hate to dwell on something so stupid) we're fortunate Galloway will be back when we go to Ames.
* Injury Loves Company: The good news? Jewel Hampton is apparently going to be at full speed when fall camp opens next week. Sure, there's questions of his long-term durability, but Ferentz made it clear that he wouldn't put a player on the practice field unless there was no significant risk of reinjury.
Not so good? Julian Vandervelde, who suffered an undisclosed bicep injury (I think we can assume it's a tear) is going to miss some time, likely 2-4 weeks of the season:
Monday, Ferentz said the 6-3, 305-pound junior won’t be ready for the start of camp and could miss Iowa’s first couple games...
"It’s probably not realistic to think he’ll be ready, but everybody heals differently," Ferentz said. "We’re going to go conservative on the comeback. We’re not going to risk two or three games for a season. It just isn’t smart and not fair to anybody."
The downside of this, of course, is that Vandervelde is unlikely to get any preseason practice time at center, where he was in contention for a starting spot. Should Dace Richardson (detailed in Morehouse's first video) be healthy and capable at left guard, Vandervelde should take the right guard spot upon his return. Which brings us to...
* Positional Royal Rumble: With Vandervelde on the shelf and James Ferentz missing week one, center is Rafael Eubanks' position to lose, right?
Center is also up for grabs with senior Rafael Eubanks and junior Josh Koeppel in contention.
"Raf has a huge experience advantage (over Koeppel), but they competed evenly in the spring," Ferentz said. "Raf Eubanks is a good football player and that tells me that Josh has really elevated his game very quietly. We might be on the verge of a good story there."
Freshman James Ferentz might also be in the mix at center, but he’ll serve a one-game suspension after two alcohol-related arrests last school year.
"We felt like we had a chance to have a good offensive line last year. Things were probably a little more clear at that point," Ferentz said. "I think the potential is certainly there this year for that group. We have eight, nine, 10 guys who have a legitimate chance to see playing time.
"We have good competition, we just have to see where it all settles."
I know everyone is asking about DJK (and let's face it, he'll be a starter by week 2), but what the hell did Rafael Eubanks do? He was an honorable mention all-conference center after his sophomore season and made the Remington Trophy watch list before last year. Now he's being pushed by Vandervelde (who has never played the position) and Koeppel (who is listed as a long snapper)?
Ferentz also said left cornerback is "wide open." Jordan Bernstine is the most logical choice for the spot: He's a junior, he was a heralded recruit, and he's got some experience in the position. Of course, that assumes he can stay healthy long enough to win the spot. Willie Lowe and the aforementioned Prater will be in close pursuit.
All Along the Water Tower. Painting the hospital water tower outside Kinnick with a tiger hawk or other Iowa logo has been a longtime pet project of people who care about things like "what is painted on a water tower." Good news for those people: The athletic director is one of you!
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is on your side. He wants the giant, white water tower that looms over Kinnick Stadium all Hawkeye’d up.
He’d love to see a huge Tiger Hawk or something Hawkeye to add a little flair to the Kinnick area.
"If a petition gets signed, I’d join the fans," Barta said Monday at the Big Ten media days. "I’ve been a proponent of putting a logo on the water tower for some time. I’ve learned that it’s not that simple, that there are some groups in the community who don’t want a logo up there."
When Barta was hired at Iowa in 2006, a logo on the water tower was one of his first thoughts.
"If that ever gains momentum, I’ll jump on board," Barta said.
Gentlemen, start your petitions! Honestly, I've never understood this particular obsession. Sure, a tiger hawk on the water tower could be nice, but the amount of time and energy spent campaigning for this seems far in excess of the benefits of success. It's not as if people sitting in Kinnick Stadium or watching on television forget where the game is being played and need to look skyward to remind themselves.
You Can't Spell FAIL Without Matt Millen. Oh noes.
Matt Millen’s new man-crush? Kirk Ferentz.
"Iowa’s tough," the former Detroit Lions general manager and new ESPN analyst said Monday during Big Ten Media Days, where he was asked about the Hawkeyes’ prospects. "I think first of all, they have an excellent coach. Kirk is very good.
"Also, this program is one of the good ones out there … you know you’re going to get guys who know how to play, who are tough kids who practice hard, who understand fundamentals, who practice fundamentals. They play physically. All those things."
It's always a great sign when the man who was primarily responsible for the worst single season in the history of professional football loves your team. It's even worse when ESPN's new college analyst (he's doing both college and pro this season) measures college players based on their draftability.