That’s it, I give up. I quit. I’m not going to try to defend what I saw on Saturday. It was brutal to watch, to the point where I (like many of you I assume) just turned it off. I feel like I’ve said a million times that I’m a KF apologist. I tend to agree with a lot of the decisions he makes and others question. I tend to defend his style of play (painting with a broad brush here) because I do believe one of the ways for a school like Iowa to compete with a school like Ohio State is to completely ugly things up. But I can’t defend what I saw this weekend.
What I saw was a team getting destroyed by a conference opponent and not giving a damn about it. The BTN even made mention of how quiet the sideline was at one point. The crew couldn’t believe there wasn’t a single vocal leader trying to get guys going. They even noted that KF appeared to be the one making the most effort at it. GASP. KF is a lot of things, but vocal cheerleader is not one of the things that comes to mind. If this team doesn’t have a leader from within jumping people’s back sides when the apathy sets in, they might as well quit now.
And that’s why I’ve decided to do the same. So on this Monday, I’m not wasting my or your time with some list of things we can overreact to about a game played on Saturday. I’m quitting like the Hawkeyes have. Mailing it, going through the motions and not taking any pride in the product I put out there.
Greg Davis clearly doesn’t care about any of that. He talked during the bye week about getting creative, finding ways to get playmakers the ball and taking more shots. He walked the walk by having Akrum Wadley line up in the slot a couple times to run a jet sweep (OMG THAT’S SO CREATIVE, WE NEVER SAW THAT TWO YEARS AGO WITH JONATHAN PARKER). Even better, he did it in a way that didn’t actually get Wadley the ball in space - they ran it into the boundary. Granted, Wadley did catch 5 passes for 32 yards and a TD. But my untrained eye told me that was more Beathard checking down (hooray!) than GDGD drawing up more stuff for Wadley. The offense managed a putrid 234 yards, and only 30 on the ground. Nothing was exciting. Nothing was different. When I walked out of Kinnick two weeks ago, I thought Iowa held its own and only so much could be expected against that great Wisconsin D. Penn State is not Wisconsin and nothing looked different. I think it’s safe to say that at this point, the man calling the plays is not drawing up anything new for anyone. He is going through the motions. So I quit too.
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley gained 114 of his 167 rushing yards on runs off either end of the line in win over Iowa. Incl. 57 on this run pic.twitter.com/QGYl8BMXB0— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 6, 2016
Phil Parker, on the other hand, has escaped too much criticism as the defense has looked like a relative bright spot for a few weeks. I say relative because when you are sitting at 62nd in overall defense and 79th in scoring defense, you aren’t really a bright spot. You’re just the guy who happens to be faster than his slow buddy so the zombies take him out while you waddle away to safety. But they honestly did their part against Wisconsin. Come to find out, maybe Wisconsin is just terrible at offense? Iowa gave up 599 yards on Saturday. Iowa gave up 359 rushing yards on Saturday. Iowa gave up 7 3rd down conversions on 14 attempts on Saturday. To a team that was worst in the nation at converting them (only 25% coming in). There isn’t really much more to say. It’s awful. Teams can run right at this defense and they can’t stop them. When they choose to do anything other than that, there are receivers running wide open downfield. There are tight ends out running cornerbacks up the sideline. There are All-American cornerbacks biting on garbage to try and bail out everyone else, only to leave guys wide open in the endzone. There are safeties and linebackers dropping heads and not bringing arms on tackles, only to watch ball-carriers scurry past them. It’s pathetic. But alas, there will be no change in personnel. There will be no change in scheme. There will be no change in defensive coordinator. I quit.
All the way around, this Iowa team appears to have quit on the season. They too have reached the apathy stage of Hawkeye grieving, I fear. As I look around for positives, there are only a few. Sure, we haven’t fallen as far as MSU. Yet. And “yay!” we didn’t lose as bad as Nebraska did. But it’s ugly folks. And it ain’t gettin prettier this weekend. So it’s time to move on from football. Yes, they will still play games. Sure, we will still tailgate and perhaps even cheer for a while on Saturdays (and a Friday). But if nobody within the program cares about making it any better, it’s time for me to quit caring if they do.
Thank God there was basketball Friday night. It didn’t mean anything, but doesn’t it feel good to know that program is in the hands of a guy who just seems to get it? He has a system, but he isn’t married to it. He adapts to his players and he works his ass off to get the best players he can. Sure, he focuses on character like the head football man, but he doesn’t do it to a fault. And while there are going to be bumps in the road, strange timeouts (or lack thereof) and substitution patterns, but the optimist in me gets to pop up for a breath of fresh air come basketball season. So let’s turn our attention there shall we?
1. Peter Jok is a Stud
No, really, the man is a stud. He will be relied upon heavily this year, but he appears to be ready to shoulder the load. Jok finished with 28 on Friday night, including 5-7 from beyond the arc. And apparently one from the logo at center court. I think it’s safe to say he will have the green light this year. He also finished 9-10 from the line. Expect him to have plenty of scoring outbursts this year.
Final stats, split box and Iowa team pic.twitter.com/zAoIX3D3EX— Jon Miller (@HawkeyeNation) November 5, 2016
2. Tyler Cook May be as Good as Advertised
The hype train continues for Cook. Fran kicked it up at media day when he said Cook is the best freshman he’s ever coached. Cook added fuel to the fire Friday when he made his debut with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Hawkeye fans are going to love watching this kid. Since we are all aboard the hype train, I’ll continue telling everyone I think he is Doug Thomas if the latter could dribble and shoot. Nasty good.
3. Depth, Baby
There is plenty of youth on this team, but there’s also plenty of depth. 11 Hawkeyes got in the scoring column during the exhibition. I get it, exhibition means it doesn’t mean anything. But let’s not forget last year’s struggles in the exhibition. I don’t think Fran can afford to go 11 deep during Big Ten play and he has already indicated somebody will probably redshirt (if I had to guess, I’m saying Dailey just based on the need for big men), but it’s so refreshing to see that much athleticism on an Iowa basketball court.
The Hawks Take Down Regis 95-73 In Season Opener. Peter Jok Led All Scorers with 28 points https://t.co/RK0tUzkiA4— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) November 5, 2016
4. Not Afraid of Nobody
That youth is going to have to grow up in a hurry. As we outlined a week ago, the Hawkeyes are facing a pretty challenging non-conference schedule. I love it. Fran isn’t afraid to throw some big names on the schedule (I get it, tournaments help, as do things like ISU not sucking at basketball and the ACC challenge) to counter those cream puffs and while it should help the young guys cut their teeth and be more prepared down the Big Ten stretch, it should also provide some fun hoops for fans to enjoy while we try to forget about football season. I, for one, am ready to watch some round ball.
Oh, and just to brighten your spirits on Monday morning, here is Marshawn Lynch joy--riding in a gator with his mom at the Cal game. That man has worked on his people skills.
Marshawn Lynch is a national treasure https://t.co/fIPSQjnOw4— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 6, 2016