You smell that? No, it’s not what the Rock is cookin or napalm in the morning. It’s spring. Spring is in the air. I mean, I guess it is. Spring officially kicked off last week. And Spring Football officially kicked off as well. And with literally nothing else going on in Iowa Athletics, I suppose spring is about the only thing in the air.
It’s Monday morning, so I guess it’s time we spring into action. And that’s exactly what Iowa Football did as the got back at it last week. ICYMI, the head man addressed the media last week as practice got started. You can see the full rundown in Ben’s piece, Springoard: Iowa Football Kicks off Spring Practice. Here’s my quick summary: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
We all know by now, Iowa did some spring cleaning earlier this off season. GDGD is out and BF is in as offensive coordinator. Everyone screamed their hallelujahs upon the announcement. And then we learned that the young gun would have some veteran assistance on the staff when KOK was brought back in as Iowa’s first coach solely tasked with QB responsibilities, which I think everyone read as QB responsibilities + helping BF learn how to be an OC. Then we added Kelton Copeland and Tim Polasek from NDSU and NIU to handle WRs and RBs respectively. Then we get this from KF in the opening presser:
“You’re not going to see a dramatically different team.”
But, nonetheless, Iowa is breaking in a new QB with a totally revamped offensive staff. They return a hell of a RB who’s as dynamic as just about any Iowa skill position player I can remember (go ahead, @ me in the comments with who ya got, I know there’s are plenty) and the offensive line returns a really good chunk of minutes. Hope springs eternal!
In all seriousness, spring football is a time where it’s tough to not be at least a little excited about the upcoming season. The new blood, while we know will be held in check by the confines of a Kirk Ferentz staff, but what we’ve been able to see legitimately does get me excited. If nothing else, there’s some energy floating around out there and I can’t help but think that spills over into the rest of the old guard and, hopefully, onto the recruiting trail.
Speaking of new things, looks like Iowa Football is doing something new. I guess #SlowMoSaturday is a thing. And it’s a thing I like.
Now, in fairness, I’d like it a hell of a lot more if that brand new QB wasn’t throwing pick sixes in the promo vids put out there. But I seem to recall another Iowa QB with a penchant for doing such things and he turned out to be OK.
Now that one makes my pants fit funny. I mean, ignoring the good looking ball there, that’s a downfield pass, in practice, in the spring. Like, legit downfield. More than 10 yards. I told you hope springs eternal! Now, unpacking things a little more, take note of who’s making the grab.
That’s a tight end running free downfield over the middle. It was a staple of the KOK offenses of years past, and baby I hope it’s back on a regular basis. That’s the type of thing we see once in a clip from March and then expect to see all year long, only to be disappointed. Maybe this year will be different? I hope so. I really am hoping the staff changes have a legitimate impact. Last time around, the offense did look different. The problem was it wasn’t a good different. So perhaps we really can expect to see tight ends running free more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. Maybe we can hope for some creativity on third down that doesn’t include doing something totally idiotic. We’ll see. Spring is the time to daydream about what could be.
In other football news, the Hawkeyes added a commitment last week from a kid with a familiar name. Dillon Doyle marked the third member of the class of 2018 when he committed last Monday. Yes, that is the son of long time strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. And no he didn’t get an offer based on his name. Kid looks like a very solid LB prospect. We are getting into that time of year when Iowa has had some success getting guys to verbal in recent years. Fingers crossed they can use that new blood to improve on keeping them on board through signing day.
One last bit of news on the football team: they’ll be hosting the Iowa Pro Day later today. Several former Hawkeyes, including CJ Beathard, George Kittle, Jaleel Johnson and Desmond King will look to use the day as their final spring board heading into the NFL Draft next month. We’ll keep you updated with testing results and any news that may come of the day.
In terms of keeping a positive spin on things, things kind of fall off a cliff after football. In wrestling news, following a 4th place finish at the NCAAs, Brands lost a top recruit last week when Gavin Teasdale decommitted from the Hawkeyes. Luckily, it’s not like he decided to go to a school Iowa competes against or that is already damn good at the sport.
Now, I admittedly know basically nothing about wrestling, but I feel like if this happened in hoops or football, I’d be losing my mind. So consider this some serious faux outrage here. Wrestling was always the one spot in Iowa sports I could count on not having to pay any attention and just knowing it was going to be great. That seems to be in question now and I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.
Speaking of not liking things one bit, there was a coaching vacancy at Indiana you may have heard about. All indications were the prime candidate (OK, it sounded like the only candidate) was a guy we would never even consider discussing around here. But less than 24 hours after watching him lose yet another Sweet Sixteen game, IU went and did this:
I genuinely think Miller is a very good coach and great hire for IU (infinitely better than the other guy) so I won’t say a word about that side of things. As far as [REDACTED]? Hawkize gets me.
When you get passed over for another Miller who is better than you pic.twitter.com/T0DYs9lA35— Hawkize (@Hawkize) March 25, 2017
On the topic of Big Ten coaching vacancies, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Illinois appears to have also hired a guy capable of actually coaching basketball as well. They announced Brad Underwood (who spent a full season at Oklahoma State) as their new coach a little over a week ago. I’ve said a number of times, the conference is in trouble if Indiana and/or Illinois had a coach who was actually capable of coaching. The two schools have hotbeds of talent and enough going for them to recruit with relative ease. Unfortunately, I think both of these guys have the ability to make IU and the other UI pretty damn good. Fortunately for us, I Fran is the man and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else has.
Apparently, there’s still basketball games being played in some tournament of sorts? No, I’m not talking about the WNIT, which the Iowa women were bounced from yesterday, but some men’s tournament the Big Ten seemed to be doing well in?
Yeah, that all came crashing down over the weekend. Between Thursday and Friday, all remaining Big Ten teams were bounced. It all started with Purdue getting obliterated by Kansas on Thursday, followed by Michigan losing a heart-breaker to Oregon that evening. But nothing really compared to what Wisconsin went through on Friday.
BUZZER BEATER ALERT!— Titanic Hoops (@TitanicHoops) March 25, 2017
CHRIS CHIOZZA WINS IT AT THE BUZZER WITH THIS ALL TIME WALK OFF 3!!!
IT'S EVEN BETTER W/TITANIC MUSIC! pic.twitter.com/8CcrXDMzhE
That’s a tough beat. There was a moment where I almost felt bad for our Badger brethren. Then it passed and it turned out it was just gas. Here’s how I really feel for Wisconsin:
Deal with it.
In other tourney news, apparently Kansas used up all its points on Purdue. They only managed 60 against Oregon in the Elite Eight on Saturday after dropping nearly 100 against Purdue. The Jayhawks’ season is now over and their local police department wasted no time trolling the entire fanbase.
That is fantastic.
Final NCAA Tournament thoughts: as a father, it’s really hard to not be incredibly proud of you kids and think they are the world. They are the world. To you. Don’t forget that what’s the world to you isn’t the world to everyone else. And don’t ever become LaVar Ball. When you start calling out NBA superstars who will be in the NBA Hall of Fame, people start to dislike you. When you keep at it, people will look for any reason to tear you and your family down. And then when your kids can’t back up your rambling bs smack talk, the internet will destroy you.
Someone remind LaVar Ball that Steph Curry went to the Elite 8...at Davidson. pic.twitter.com/QwZKDZEJsv— Jon Targaryan (@shadywhipskids9) March 25, 2017
"Holdup now y'all, I meant Seth Curry". pic.twitter.com/0b35XHzDhM— Adam Howes (@Howsito) March 25, 2017
The interwebz are ruthless, ya’ll.
And finally, because we are legitimately on the brink of baseball being the only major sport to watch, it’s time to get on the Hellerball train. The Hawkeyes opened up Big Ten play over the weekend, taking two out of three from the Purdue Boilermakers. That takes them to 13-9 on the season.
Grand slam? How about grand slam**s** for the Hawkeyes today. https://t.co/pCTzmqCrbv— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) March 22, 2017
Hope that puts a little spring in your step on a Monday. Have a grand slam of a week. Go Hawks.