IOWA CITY, IA -- Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz made a surprising change to Iowa's starting line up this week, announcing that Big Mac, the champion of the Iowa State Fair's Biggest Boar Competition would be the new left tackle for the Hawkeyes this fall.
Iowa State Fair Biggest Boar Champion! Big Mac at 1,164 lbs. pic.twitter.com/hmbeYUEBWF— Jay R Smith (@JRSmitty297) August 17, 2015
Left tackle had been a serious question mark for the Hawkeyes this offseason, as the coaches struggled to find a player to replace Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff as the anchor of Iowa's offensive line. Lightly experienced sophomore Boone Myers had assumed the left tackle gig after Scherff's departure, but he struggled to impress during open practices in the spring and last weekend. Rumors persisted that the Iowa coaches were considering other options, but no one realized just how far outside the box Ferentz was willing to go in his quest to find Iowa's next dominant lineman.
Ferentz announced his decision via a brief discussion with the assembled Iowa press. "Left tackle is a critical part of our offense at Iowa and we're very excited to have Mac filling that key role for us. We're really excited about what he brings to the table. The metaphorical table, that is, not the training table. You need size to play left tackle and Mac sure has plenty of that. It's going to be very hard for a defensive end to move him," said Ferentz.
"Mac just felt like a quintessential Iowa player," added Ferentz. "He's from a small town (Ryan, IA) and he's a fighter. He was runner-up in the Big Boar Competition last year, but he didn't let that hold him back -- he came back and won the whole darn thing this year. That showed some real grit and determination, which we always like to see. Hogs have one heck of a mean streak, too, and Mac's no different -- I haven't seen a lineman as ornery as him since Rob Bruggeman was giving guys swirlies for making fun of his Beanie Babies collection. Also, like any good Iowa lineman, his arms are a little short."
Ferentz did express a few concerns about Mac, though. "Well, his technique is pretty rough, I'm not gonna sugarcoat that. He doesn't really know our blocking schemes yet. But Brian and I have full confidence that we can get him up to speed in a few weeks. Pigs are actually really smart critters. The bigger concern might be his diet, frankly."
Mac's caretakers, Tom and Nancy McDonald, indicated that his favorite foods are "Ding Dongs, Cap'n Crunch, and 30-packs of Busch Light." Ferentz expressed some wariness about Mac's unconventional diet. "Those 30-packs of Busch Light could be a bit of a problem. I don't mind tipping back a cold one myself every now and then, but only in moderation. Mac can't be drunk on the field. And I know Gary [Barta, Iowa athletic director] has expressed some concerns about the Total Cost of Attendance and how much it might cost to feed a 1200 pound hog."
Overall, though, Ferentz expressed excitement about the move. "You guys always said our offense was a real bore, and well, I guess we finally listened to you."