Dan Heiar Update. There's still not a great deal of news about what happened to Iowa OL Dan Heiar or what injuries he sustained, but from what information is available it doesn't sound too good:
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that Heiar, who earned a scholarship after two seasons at Iowa Western Community College, will be hospitalized for a while.
"It’s significant and we expect him to hospitalized for a while," Ferentz said. "We hope it progresses forward in a good fashion."
The good news is that there's no indication that any of his injuries are life-threatening -- they just sound like the sort of thing that keep you laid up for a very long time. Blog buddy PlannedSickDays dug up a little more information on Heiar, which seems pretty legit. In any event, we continue to wish Heiar a full and speedy recovery. (EDIT: see the comments below for more info.)
Notin'. Ferentz also held a presser earlier this week and addressed a few spring football topics. There was nothing too newsworthy: they're happy with Vandenberg's progress, encouraged by the development of Jason White and De'Andre Johnson behind Marcus Coker, and excited about adding Nebraska to the schedule:
"More locally, our most requested opponent has been Nebraska, at least the last 12 years as I have traveled across the state," Ferentz said. "When you go to events, people are always asking if you’re going to be picking them up in a non-conference game. Outside of playing Iowa State, which is a traditional in-state rival, that’s been the most-asked question. I think locally there’ll be a lot of enthusiasm in Iowa. Towards western Iowa they are obviously closer to Nebraska’s campus than ours."
There's no doubt that no potential non-conference opponent generated more intrigue than Nebraska -- the fact that one of the elite programs in the sport was right next door and Iowa played them only four times in the past thirty years is downright baffling. For all the ills that Big Ten Expansionpalooza has wrought -- losing Wisconsin and Illinois from the schedule, Legends and Leaders, the B1G logo -- the fact it's brought us annual football clashes with Nebraska is one hell of a positive.
In other football news, Tyler Nielsen was named to the Lott Trophy Watch List -- not too bad for a guy who missed the final five games of the season.
Open Frannin' Mic Night. The Franimal sat down with The Des Moines Register's Rick Brown for a wide-ranging discussion of his first year at Iowa, including recruiting, fan support, and the rigors of the Big Ten. It's well worth a read. A few excerpts:
Q: When you recruit, what are you selling?
A: You sell opportunity. You sell the new (practice) facility, you sell the tradition, you sell the Big Ten, and how many teams we got in (the NCAA Tournament). You sell the Big Ten Network. There’s a lot to sell.
The one thing I found is that it’s so important to get recruits to Iowa City. People that are not from here have a preconceived idea of what life is like in Iowa. They get here and, "Wow, this is really a great city, a great place to go to school, it’s a beautiful campus, there’s a lot of things to do.’ They think it’s a quieter, slower pace, which at times it is, but there’s a lot going on here. And people, when they see it, they tend to fall in love with it.
Q: Are you confident that your style of play can be successful in the Big Ten?
A: No question. I hope to play even faster and press even more. And I think when I feel like we’re a little bit deeper we will do that. We had to be careful last year. We didn’t have enough depth to really get after people and really push the ball. I was worried about foul trouble with key personnel. But if we get enough depth and I can push the tempo even more that’s what I’d like to do.
Q: What areas do you think your team will be better at next season than they were in 2010-11?
A: I just think we’ll be more consistent. And I think that’s the key. I think if you look at why we lost the games we lost we weren’t inconsistent for 40 minutes. We were inconsistent for short spurts. Just enough to be a difference between a five-point loss and a three-point win. Four or five possessions, that’s all were talking about here. So you’ve got to get more consistent at both ends.
Q: Do you anticipate anyone other than Cully Payne leaving the program?
A: I think we’re pretty set.
But, really, go and read the whole thing. It's certainly worth 5-10 minutes of your time. McCaffery is one of the most refreshingly candid and well-spoken coaches we've had at Iowa -- in any sport -- in quite some time.
Ain't no party like a WNBA draft party. For the first time in quite a while, Iowa had a player selected in the WNBA draft -- standout senior Kachine Alexander, who was named to multiple All-Big Ten and All-America teams and set multiple records at Iowa, was taken by the Minnesota Lynx with the second pick of the third round (26th overall). Getting drafted is a nice accomplishment (Alexander is only the 6th Iowa player ever selected in the WNBA Draft), but it doesn't guarantee her a spot on the roster. The Lynx had four of the top 14 draft picks in this draft and added a slew of talented players (including all-everything Maya Moore with the first pick) in addition to Alexander. If she doesn't stick with the Lynx, she should have opportunities to play overseas -- which may even be more lucrative.
* Mike Hlas wonders if Cedar Rapids-area athletes look at the University of Iowa differently than other in-state athletes; I think I agree with him that it's more a case of the Cedar Rapids producing an uncommonly high amount of elite athletes at the same time that the Iowa men's baketball team has been well below average and the Iowa women's basketball team has been just above average -- if they were routinely going to the Sweet 16 and finishing high in their conferences, it might be easier for players like Marcus Paige and Kiah Stokes to resist the siren song of programs like North Carolina and Connecticut.
* ESPN's Adam Rittenberg writes that Iowa is (once again) happy to be playing the underdog; sooner or later, Iowa football will need to learn how to handle high expectations, but there's little doubt that Iowa teams under Ferentz have often flourished when expectations are middling. Hopefully history repeats itself this fall.
* The Texas Bowl is now the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, which won't be confused with the former Meineke Car Care Bowl (of Charlotte) because that bowl is now the Belk Bowl. (Whew) Minnesota and Northwestern fans are pre-ordering their Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas t-shirts as we speak.
* UL-Monroe is really, really cheap when it comes to spending money on football. Also: not very good (although better than normal!).
* 25 Things I Learned From Sports Video Games. Not included: the way the AI teleports to make magic interceptions in NCAA FOOTBALL 2005. FUCK YOU, COMPUTER.