God that felt good. Iowa football is back! Let’s party like it’s 2002! Wait, what? Sorry, no coffee yet. That looked nothing like 2002. A win is a win. Good to see they can win ugly. At least they know how to win close games. Blah, blah, blah. I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. Happy freakin’ Monday.
1. Curb Stomped
It hasn’t happened yet. Iowa almost never truly lets it happen. But make no mistake, this team will get utterly curb stomped at some point this year. My best guess is October 22. If not then, I’ll go with November 12th. Iowa’s defense has looked putrid against the run the last two weeks and at some point, they will face an offense capable of taking advantage. “But they only gave up 7 points!” you say. Fair enough. They also gave up 193 rushing yards to Rutgers. Through the first 4 games, Iowa ranks 86th in rush defense. Against the gauntlet that has been Miami (the other one), ISU, NDSU and Rutgers. Poke. My. Eyeballs. Out.
2. CJ May not Survive
CJ at least attempted to run a few times in this one, which alleviated some of the pressure, but the kid is still getting hit way too much. Making matters worse, when the line actually give him some time, nobody is getting separation down field. Maybe this is just me being a skeptic (
certainly highly likely), but CJ’s internal clock seems to be a tick off. It looks to me like every time he pulls the ball down and looks to escape or step, he is a step late and can’t escape quite the way we grew accustomed to last year. I’ll be honest, I’m frantically pacing my living room on Saturdays a little nervous about his ability to stay healthy all season long. The line is allowing more pressure than anyone would like to see, the receivers aren’t beating anyone and CJB isn’t skipping around the field untouched. God help us all.
3. Desmond King is Still Really Good
It’s easy to forget King was the best corner in the country last year (fight me, he won the damned award) when he isn’t knocking on the doorstep of the school record for INTs. But teams simply haven’t been throwing at him. They run at him, sure. And don’t get me wrong, he is more than capable in run support, but that’s not why he was a Thorpe Award winner or why he will get drafted. According to Pro Football Focus, King notched his second-highest coverage grade on Saturday, allowing only a single pass to be completed to his man. The run defense has looked porous and I have serious concerns over a few other members of the secondary (I would never throw a college kid under the proverbial bus - cough Mabin cough cough Snyder cough - but I don’t have a problem with acknowledging not everyone is meant to play in the NFL), but King is still a fantastic corner that opponents have to gameplan around.
Iowa CB Desmond King earned the highest coverage grade of his career in win over Rutgers, allowing just a single catch for 2 yards pic.twitter.com/JeJa1jVuNT— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 25, 2016
4. Signs of Life!
It’s amazing what happens when you spread the touches between your two very different running backs. Wadley finished with 12 carries for 84 yards and a score while Daniels ended with 13 carries for 77 yards. Wadley hauled in 2 grabs for 38 yards and Daniels had 1 catch for 9 yards. That’s a dead even split and two pretty productive days. Shocker. Now, if only the staff could figure out that Wadley is much better on the edges than between the tackles and while Daniels has shown much better top end speed this year, his quickness to the edge isn’t his strong suit. Oh, and for the love of God, please stop running sweeps and tosses to the short side of the field. If you’re going to let Wadley run free, give him room to operate. All in all, it was nice to see Akrum get back into the flow of the game and the running game show some signs of being able to keep this team alive down the stretch.
AKRUM WADLEY sideline tightrope TD pic.twitter.com/wQAdn7TPAK— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) September 24, 2016
5. New Kirk is Hard to Figure Out
First of all, the bastard disappeared for an entire weekend when we desperately needed him. Then he shows up intermittently the following weekend, only to confuse the hell out of me. I mean, I dig the whole going for it on 4th down more and trying to show a little bravado in general, but going for it on 4th and 5 in the 1st quarter inside the opponent’s 10 is not something I love seeing. I love it even less when later in the game the same riverboat gambler decides to punt from around midfield on 4th and 1. I mean, I guess it’s nice to not have tendencies, but not taking the points and then punting for a few yards of field position which MIGHT lead to points doesn’t resonate with me.
6. Love the Fire
I’m on record as not always agreeing with the head Hawkeye, and I will gladly tell anyone willing to listen I think the program needs a little charisma from time to time (I do think guys like Woods and Ferentz the Younger help in that department, as well as on the recruiting trail). While not quite The Hoody himself, Ferentz is cut from the same cloth as Bill Belichick. He’s a man of few words, canned responses and not providing much insight into what actually happens behind closed doors. But Saturday he opened up a bit after watching 70+ yard TD runs get called back in back-to-back games on a call that is, uhhh, puzzling. Obviously, lots of things can happen, but the last two weekends look a hell of a lot different if Iowa has another 7 points against NDSU (maybe they are in the top 15 since Wisconsin managed to drop only 2 spots after their scare with Georgia State) and goes up 14-0 on Rutgers. Following Saturday’s win, Ferentz had the following to say:
Four different weeks, four different interpretations on the rule... We’ve created a set of rules that are really hard to understand. I can tell you, I don’t understand them... They said it was an illegal block. It sure looked good on the screen... We all have bosses, and if they give you rules that are cloudy and unclear, it’s really hard to execute your job well... It’s kind of been building with me a little bit. I think we’ve made this thing a lot tougher than it has to be... I’ll probably get fined from the national office, if we have one, but so be it. It needs to be said.
I agree, and I like the fact that Ferentz is actually standing up and saying something publicly. I’m sure it pisses him off as much as it does any fan, likely more so. And as a fan, I like seeing a coach who will stand up and say something when he thinks it’s having an impact on his players. There’s a fine line between showing some charisma and going all Paul Rhoads out there, but I could get used to hearing and maybe even seeing Kirk show a little more fire from time to time.
Here is the play in question.
7. College Football is Fantastic
There was some truly great stuff on Saturday. I mean, actual games aside, the college football world gave us a couple of pieces of comedic gold. First is the kicker from Penn State that is the gift that keeps on giving.
How does the kid look at d-line?
Meanwhile, at Auburn:
Need a better look at it?
And because my wife called me a jerk for laughing at it for way too long, here is her side of things:
And, not really funny or having anything to do with anything else here, but just because it’s Monday and I feel like not working, a reminder of how that Auburn-LSU game/Les Miles coaching gig at LSU ended:
Note: I actually watched the game this weekend. In real time. All of it. And last week’s reactions were probably more appropriate. Sue me.