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It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It Has Spring Fever

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It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It is BHGP's regular news roundup. Send all tips to any of the email addresses at the bottom of the page. But preferably not all of them at once. We usually end up laughing at people who do that. 

Hyding at safety.  The biggest position change of note for Iowa football this spring is Micah Hyde's move from cornerback to free safety.  As Mas Casa notes, it was a move made out of necessity (Iowa has no returning experience at safety aside from the handful of plays that Tanner Miller got last year -- and he's sitting out this spring after shoulder surgery) as much as desire.  The biggest question is whether or not it's temporary or permanent.  Even Hyde himself isn't sure:

"You know as much as I do, honestly," he said. "As of right now, it’s best for me to play free safety. That’s all I know. That’s why I’m doing it. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen a year and a half from now, next fall. I might go down to D-line, you never know. This is the best for right now."

The only position that's set in the secondary is Prater's starting spot at the top cornerback slot.  After that, all three spots are up for grabs.  There shouldn't be much doubt that Hyde will grab one of them -- either free safety or the other starting cornerback job.  Which one it is likely depends on how he looks at free safety this spring/summer -- and how well his potential replacements look at cornerback.  The buzz on BJ Lowery has been solid and there's always perennial nearly-man Jordan Bernstine to be considered.  So for now, yes, Hyde's a safety -- but don't write that in ink for the September depth charts just yet.

Vandenberg really is the Mandenberg.  ESPN's Adam Rittenberg took in an Iowa practice late last week and passed along a few interesting tidbits.  The most important of which was probably the confirmation that, yep, James Vandenberg will be the starting quarterback for Iowa when takes the field next September, unless something crazy (or catastrophic) happens.

"James has separated himself from the other two guys," Ferentz said. "And after that, it's a pretty good competition between John [Wienke] and A.J. [Derby]."

If that means Vandenberg has taken his game to another level -- wonderful.  If he's still the somewhat inconsistent quarterback we saw in spurts over the past two season and neither Winke nor Derby were simply good enough to push him -- uh-oh.  We're going to stick with the former for now, because it's way too early to get pessimistic.

In other news, Ferentz noted that Willie Lowe was the only rhabdo-afflicted player who had requested a release from his scholarship, there are a bunch of injured players who should figure into the fall depth charts (like Marvin McNutt, Tanner Miller, Shane DiBona, Thomas Nardo, and Steve Bigach), and Coker and the returning defensive starters (Nielsen, Daniels, Prater, etc.) are having good springs.  Hooray for good news.

As American as kicking your goddamn ass.  The collegiate wrestling season may be over, but there's still non-professional wrestling action to be found.  The lovely depressing city of Cleveland played host to both the freestyle U.S. Open and at the Fila Junior Nationals this weekend, both of which featured a host of past, present, and (perhaps) future Hawkeys.  The headliners at the U.S. Open were Brent Metcalf (1-seed at 145.5 lbs) and Mike Zadick (2-seed at 132 lbs), but neither was able to claim a title.  Metcalf was upset in the quarters by Teyon Ware (a former NCAA champion from Oklahoma), while Zadick got tripped up by Reece Humphrey (formerly of Ohio State) in the semis.  Metcalf finished third at the event, while Zadick finished fourth.  Ryan Morningstar also placed fourth, while Dan Erekson took runner-up honors at 211.5 lbs, falling to Jake Varner (formerly of Iowa State) in the finals.  All of the former Hawkeyes will have some work to do this summer at the World Team Trials if they want to punch their tickets to the 2011 World Championships in Turkey.

On the bright side, there was better news for the current Hawkeye wrestlers who wrestled in the Junior Nationals.  Three Iowa freshmen won individual titles at the event -- Tony Ramos (132.25 lbs), Ethen Lofthouse (174 lbs), and Bobby Telford (HWT) -- and all were impressive.  Telford didn't allow a point in four matches at the tournament, while Ramos and Lofthouse scored their opponents 39-2 and 40-6, respectively.  Three other Iowa freshmen placed at the event -- Jake Ballweg (3rd, 145.5), Nick Moore (4th, 163), and Michael Kelly (8th, 163).  Jack Hathaway, an Iowa City West athlete and potential 2012 Iowa recruit, placed 2nd at 121.25.  Freestyle success doesn't necessarily predict folkstyle success (Derek St. John bested David Taylor a few times in freestyle events last year, but we all know how things turned out in their folkstyle meetings this year), but it doesn't hurt at all -- and it's always nice to see Iowa guys picking up wins.

Of bats and balls.  Fresh off two straight blowout wins, the Iowa baseball team crossed state lines to play Illinois, the border rival we're not allowed to play in football anymore.  The results were less than spectacular.  They blew a 3-1 lead on Friday night, giving up three runs over the 7th and 8th innings and losing 4-3.  They rebounded to win 7-4 on Saturday behind a strong outing from Matt Dermody (7 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 8 Ks), only to again collapse late on Sunday, blowing a 7-6 lead in the 8th inning to lose 11-6.  The 1-2 weekend dropped the Hawkeyes to 12-17 (2-4 in the Big Ten), well below expectations for a team that entered the season dreaming of Big Ten titles.

Fortunately, at least one Iowa team that plays with bats and balls is playing well right now: the softball team knocked off Michigan State 9-8 to complete a three-game sweep of the Spartans in Iowa City.  The win pushed them to 21-15 (4-2 in B1G play).  Up next is a Wednesday doubleheader with Minnesota; both games will be on BTN if you care to tune in (4:30pm CDT, 7:00pm CDT).



* What's the most useful statistic in football?  It could be pass efficiency if you listen to Doc Saturday.  Of course, we know better than most that it isn't a foolproof statistic, given Ricky Stanzi's lofty pass efficiency rating last year and Iowa's 8-5 record.

* Did you know that the WNBA draft is today?  No, really.  It's even on TV -- 2pm CDT on ESPN, then 3-4:30pm CDT on ESPNU.  It's actually somewhat relevant to Iowa fans this year because senior standout Kachine Alexander is likely to get drafted.  One mock draft has her going in the second round, while another has her at the tail end of the first.

* Off-Tackle Empire asks whether people would still rather have Notre Dame in the Big Ten rather than Nebraska.  I think either would have been a fine addition, but on a personal level, I cannot wait for Iowa to start playing Nebraska regularly in sports.  As someone who grew up in western Iowa and saw way too much Go Big Red bullshit growing up, the chance to see Iowa smack around Nebraska is irresistible. 

* Anthony Tucker to Iowa State?  As it turns out, probably not, but still: ROFLCLONES.

* Meanwhile, apparently the door in Ames works both ways, since Hoiberg is on the verge of losing two coaches off his staff this spring, including Bobby Lutz, his top Xs and Os guy.  BHGP can exclusively confirm that Coach Baby's top two candidates to replace Lutz are Jed, the hall monitor, and Big Joe, the milkman who brings all of that delicious milk to school every day for the mandatory (and super-fun!) milk break.

* FreeDarko goes dark.  Farewell to one of the finest sites about hoopyball on the interwebs.