We’re fast approaching—let’s be real, we’re already there—the time where any hope of national relevance for this Iowa football team circles the toilet bowl, and we’re left to take solace in winning the trophies attached to rivalry games.
Iowa already has one under its belt thanks to a SIGNATURE win over Iowa State. This week we’ve got Floyd, that happy little pig that loves Iowa and hates the tepid waters of Minnesota. He doesn’t spend much time there.
So this week our cold-as-ice seat-sitting coach addressed the media to talk about Floyd, Nate Stanley’s progress, injuries ... and that’s kind of it.
First up is the injury report:
Our captains this week are Josey Jewell on defense, Ben Niemann on defense, we've got Matt VandeBerg offensively, and Kevin Ward special teams. So those are our four guys there. We'll expect Josey to play. He's practiced the last few days. Unless he suffers a setback of some type, we expect him to be in there. James Butler we're not sure about yet. We'll have to measure that daily as we go along. And Brandon Snyder, as I alluded to Saturday, won't be with us this week. We'll take it week by week after we get through this week. I'll throw it out for questions.
Q. What do you need to see from James Butler for him to play?
Yeah, he's cleared. We've just got to feel better about the ball security part. There is no reason to think that we haven't. We probably have to hit them a little bit tomorrow and tackle them a little bit which we normally don't do. But just to make sure he's confident and make sure we're confident. The tough thing here is that you really aren't going to know until he gets in the game. Then we don't have that. Once he goes in the game, it's over from the NCAA side, based on what I've experienced personally. So we're not going to bank on any leniency in terms of how they interpret his eligibility moving forward.
Q. You mentioned it's just a matter of time with Boone, getting healthy?
Yeah, it really is. It's just a matter of kind of pushing forward here. I'll probably have more on that by the end of the week, quite frankly. But it's been tough. It's really been hard.
So having Josey back is great news, obviously. Brandon Snyder, the news is not so great. Can’t help but think he may have been rushed back... In regards to Butler, I guess he’s wearing a brace that limits his ability to secure the football. Obviously that’s an important thing for a running back. And Boone Myers, we’re not sure what the deal is with him, but Iowa has obviously been preparing for the worst.
Q. When you look at your rushing attack, what do you see?
Football, we want to pass it successfully too. We've done both with success. There have been some years we've run the ball better, and other years we've been pretty successful throwing it. But ultimately, we want to do both efficiently. And to that point, we're not running the ball right now effectively enough to be where we want to be.
I could hear the snort from Chicago. You see football in this rushing attack? That’s funny, because I see ineptitude and mismanagement and eight guys in the box and sadness.
Here we get a little insight on Nate Stanley, and how his coach thinks he’s been progressing in his first year at quarterback.
Q. When you look at Nate, a little over halfway through the season as a starter, how do you think he measures up to other guys? The numbers say, wow, terrific and then the execution, how does it fit for what you've seen?
Well, Ricky (Stanzi) didn't really win the job until about this time, a little bit earlier. Turn of September, October in '08, that's when he won that job. So it was a battle for him to get on the field, first of all. Nate, you know, won it coming out of camp.
But I think the one commonality, my memory's not all that good, but the common thing I think about guys that are good quarterbacks, typically, are how they handle adversity, how they handle bad plays. To end up on the starting field, you have to be pretty good in terms of skills. But how are you going to handle the tough situations? Every quarterback goes through them, every player goes through them. But quarterbacks, just a more visible world they live in, and everybody's got an opinion about quarterbacks.
But to me, that's been his strength. He's handled the things that haven't gone so well. Seems to be unaffected by it. I'm sure he is. But he just kind of goes back to work and keeps playing. But I think that makes us feel good that there is a chance here for him to continue to grow.
It’s funny to hear Kirk say he has a bad memory when he’s often reciting the two-deeps from Pitt’s 1971 team. KF and I may have differing opinions of this run game, but I think we’re closer to seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to the pass game.
No BLACKOUT unis this week :(
Q. Alternate uniforms this week?
I can honestly say, if it was this week, I'd probably know. Is that fair? Although I could be the last to know too. I'm more worried about the game than the uniform, so I've kind of been that way for 19 years. It was interesting, we got here and we were all worried about Nike versus whatever we were in at that point. I don't want to go backwards, I think. But, anyway, I've seen guys score touchdowns in both shoes. It really doesn't matter what we wear. Let's score touchdowns. Let's think about that. But I get it. I'm learning.
Looks like we’ll just have to beat Minny in standard garb.
Q. Where are you on punt returner?
We'll keep an open mind on that. The other day was a tough day. You had the sun, you had the wind, and that guy hit that one, it was like, are you kidding me? That is something if we knew he was going to hit it with 65 yards, we would have had him back at 65. But, I mean, wow, that was a huge play in the game, too. Just flipping field position. That's crazy. But those things happen.
It’s nice to know Iowa may be looking for help at punt returner... because yeesh, that is a glaring weakness right now.
And let me just get on the record for saying I’m ALL FOR a live pig.
Q. A couple players during interviews talked about bringing back the live pig aspect of the rivalry. What do you think?
Those guys are way ahead of me. I have not given any thought to that. Not sure what we'd do. We'd find a really nice home for them, I know that. Then you've got to worry about someone like the Paulsens trying to kidnap it, and who knows what they might do. So probably not a good idea. Floyd is pretty good just the way he is right now. He looks happy. He's doing well.
And that’s that. Go forth. Go Hawks. #TowTheBoat.