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Wednesday Scrambler: Let’s talk about Greg Mabin

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And wrestling, and other Outback Bowl fun

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Mabin’s career as an Iowa Hawkeye is over. While it was unlikely the senior would play in the Outback Bowl after missing the season’s final three contests, head coach Kirk Ferentz officially ruled him out at Sunday’s news conference.

That sound you hear? It’s part of the Iowa Twittersphere rejoicing they won’t have to watch the cornerback play anymore at Kinnick Stadium. But is that right? Sure, Mabin’s had his ups and downs, but what three-year starter hasn’t?

The Fort Lauderdale native came in as a receiver before switching sides and starting in place of a graduated B.J. Lowery in early 2014. He didn’t light the world on fire, but was serviceable on the opposite side of the best cornerback in Iowa history.

Over the past three years, he’s received more attention than most corners, as opposing offenses picked on him with an All-American on the other side of the field. Some results were good — Mabin had three picks in his career and, for the most part, was strong in run support.

Some were bad. A few three-to-five play sequences of quarterbacks picking on Mabin and him being able to do nothing about it come to mind. I’ll never forget listening to my roommate repeatedly yelling “you blew coverage, Mabin,” in no particular direction following the loss to Michigan State in last season’s Big Ten Championship game.

But was he really that bad? Is the amount of flack defensive backs receive — based solely on the nature of the position — truly warranted? And, objectively, how much of Mabin’s criticism came because he was being compared to the cream of the crop on the other side of the field?

It’s tough to find a solution to those questions, but without taking a 1,000+ word dive into answering them, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. After all, how many guys can start 31-consecutive games on a Phil Parker defense and be awful? Two, if not three-ish, solid defenses, at that.

It’s not the world’s most important thing to think about, but it’s a food for thought as we wait for the bowl game.


Cory Clark won’t wrestle Saturday evening when the Hawkeyes take on Iowa State in the CyHawk Classic. That means it’ll be the Phillip Laux show at 133, ladies and gentlemen. We touched on the implications of Clark’s absence yesterday, and listened to Laux and Tom Brands speak today.

The synopsis — Brands likes “what [Laux’s] about,” (I’d love for Brands to tell me that) and said it’s an opportunity to “shine” on a big stage. Laux is excited for another shot after botching the Gross match, and Brands likes the way he’s been prepping the last few year’s as Clark’s “Vice President”.

Here’s the official diagnosis from the top.


Sticking with wrestling for a minute, I want to call out this quote in case you didn’t click on K.J. Pilcher’s Gazette story above.

“We’ll weigh [Alex Marinelli] in this weekend as well. I’ll give you a wink there. You never know what you’re going to do. You never know.”

Joey Gunther and Marinelli are co-listed as the 165 pound probable for the Hawkeyes Sunday against Iowa State, so we’ll wait to see what happens there.


Stop the fight! Sherman Dillard and his shoulders murdered the fashion game 30 years ago, everybody.


Speaking of Hawkeye cornerbacks, true freshman Manny Rugamba likely won’t play in the Outback Bowl after suffering an injury against Nebraska. The true freshman did a fine job in the rotation before taking over full-time once Mabin broke his foot.

The season totals — 12 games played, two picks, 13 solo, 19 total tackles, four passes broken up, and a forced fumble. Because I can’t help myself, King — albeit as a starter for the majority of the season — had 44 solo and 69 total tackles, eight passes broken up, and a quarterback hurry as a true freshman back in 2013. No picks. Rugamba also did this.


To wrap this up, we’ll throw a couple links your way to get caught up on Bowl Reading.

Marc Morehouse of the Gazette explained a somewhat surprising Outback Bowl selection. The way Iowa manhandled the Huskers to cap a strong end to the season was the deciding factor for bowl president/CEO Jim McVay. Bowl president/CEO is a title I one day hope to hold.

The Orlando Sentinel on the Austin Appleby-Luke Del Rio, uh, feud in and around Gainesville. It appears Del Rio’s in some hot water with the Florida fanbase, while his dad and the Raiders are going to give the Patriots hell in the playoffs. NFL #takes are now complete.

10 fun and light tidbits about Iowa football written by Scott Dochterman?! How do we buy more?!?! The Steve Ferentz video was a fantastic touch — Jaleel Johnson’s quotes are awesome as well.

More injury updates from Land of 10.


Programming Note: Look for a wrestling primer sometime Friday morning/afternoon. Anything in particular you guys want to discuss? Comment or tweet @dannyapayne.