1. Good heavens that was cold. Iowa's open practice at Valley Stadium was sunny, 60s and just about perfect. The week ahead looks like exactly that. And just Iowa's luck, today was wet, windy and cold.
Find the one day you don't want to be outside for hours at a time.
So yeah, rotten luck here, and absolutely a factor in the spotty attendance at Saturday's event. Yes, Alabama could bring 85,000 fans to the Nunavut Coliseum (if that's a thing) (it isn't) by holding a spring game there, but no, Iowa's not Bama, and as such our fan involvement has some elasticity—especially when the spring game doesn't appear to be that much of a priority for the team to begin with. It's a bummer that weather forced the cancellation of the fan-friendly side attractions as well; with ticket sales rolling down, any missed opportunity to engage new fans (of all ages) must sting.
2. The biggest mismatch of starters was Drew Ott vs. Boone Myers. The tone was set early on Saturday when Ott lit putative starting left tackle Myers up for a sack, a holding penalty and what should have been called a safety on the first three plays from scrimmage. Myers had no answer for Ott, who also wrecked shop in the open practice at Valley, and while that bodes well for Iowa at the RDE spot it also means there's probably no hoss at left tackle the team can depend on, unlike so many of the previous years. Considering what a liability the guard spot had been in 2014, this news is disconcerting. Myers eventually mashed against backups late in the game, and most of the runs Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell Jr. sprung late were behind Myers, but this is not a very deep defense; if Myers needs to face 2nd and 3rd stringers at Iowa in order to dominate, one shudders to think what'll happen against the big boys in the Big Ten West.
3. Akrum Wadley might be the guy at tailback. It's obvious the staff wants to love Jordan Canzeri and that's understandable, but for as quickly as Canzeri can get to the hole, he's not a terribly elusive runner, nor does he have the power to make up for it. Behind a mediocre offensive line, that's a recipe for disaster, and if a tailback is going to see a defender almost immediately he'll need some escapability, and Wadley appeared to be the best-equipped man for that job on Saturday. Wadley showed a nose for maximizing yardage between the tackles, has quick lateral movement and can fall forward just about as well as anyone else in the backfield. LeShun Daniels looks like he's built for the role of every-down back but needs to run like someone who's not a biscuit shy of 250 anymore. Mitchell has some legit athletic gifts but needs some patience and vision. There aren't any other serious options at this time.
4. This is still dinosaur football. If you're expecting things to change with Brian Ferentz named running game coordinator or whatever else, I'm not really sure what to tell you. The ground game struggled with an eminently predictable zone scheme. Situational passing was inconsistent. Tevaun Smith finished with one catch for nine yards, and he was targeted once in the first half: a short out with nine seconds left and the ball roughly 20 yards away from the goal line.
Via Marc Morehouse. I mean, come on.
Maybe it's the case that Smith's playmaking skills are being hidden by the staff and they're trying not to let anything on, but c'mon: it's not like he wasn't an afterthought in several first halves last year too. This guy is the biggest playmaker on the entire roster. One catch for nine yards in the spring game is an exercise in absurdity.
5. #RaiseTheBeam. One activity that wasn't affected by the weather was a signing opportunity for the fans—on the last beam to go up on the UI Childrens' Hospital next door to Kinnick, and that final beam was raised on the project at the end of practice, signifying the finish of all structural construction on what is now the highest building in Iowa City and (in our estimation) the most important building for the well-being of ailing children and their families in the entire state.
The BHGP community has so much to be proud of, but our crowning glory is the fundraising we've done for this UICH that now looks over Kinnick Stadium. You all helped make this project a reality. Childrens' lives will be saved because of it. We hope it'll never be any of your children who needs this care, but if it is, we're so glad this new and improved UI Children's Hospital will be there to take care of them.
We helped raise the beam. We did it. Go Iowa Awesome.