Happy 4th of July weekend, folks! Yes, it’s true, I’m not JPinIC, he took today off from overreacting to write some content for Fourth of July tomorrow. So you’re stuck with me for the next 1000 words or so. I apologize in advance.
If you’re like me, you’re currently in the midst of a four-day weekend, which means four days of drinking too many craft beers at the Iowa City Jazz Fest beer tent and grilling a whole lot of meat with your friends.
Speaking of meat and barbecues, you may have seen this tweet from new Iowa offensive line coach Tim Polasek making the rounds on Twitter dot com last Wednesday. If not, prepare yourself to view an insane amount of food:
We have eliminated STRESS / ANXIETY with great preparation. Can't Wait to have the Offensive Line over for dinner. #Brotherhood #Grilling pic.twitter.com/gVD1y3HAWW— Tim Polasek (@CoachTimIowa) June 29, 2017
That has to be at least 30-40 lbs of wings alone, right? Not even mentioning the unidentified meat that I’m guessing is brisket? Or maybe many slabs of ribs? Barbecue enthusiasts, please chime in here. No matter what it is, Polasek knows how to host a barbecue.
A few hours later, Polasek chimed in again, this time with a better view of the spread.
It was a successful and fun night with a very respectful group of Olinemen. They will all make weight @coach_Doyle #swarm-care #thanksJill pic.twitter.com/SUkh5W2MKN— Tim Polasek (@CoachTimIowa) June 30, 2017
Wings? Burgers? Loaded baked potatoes? I’m getting so hungry writing this it’s not even funny. All I know for sure is that feeding offensive linemen a ton of food must be the key to having a successful offensive line. Stereotypical? Sure. Accurate? Probably. I would love to see the box score of wings consumed per lineman.
If you’ve been following along with us here at The Pants, you’ve probably also seen that TE Jack Plumb committed to the Hawkeyes last week. Rumor has it he’ll be moving to the O-line. His 6’8, 240 lb frame would certainly fit right in alongside 2019 o-line recruits Ezra Miller and Tyler Endres, who are two highly regarded prospects with two years yet to improve (and bulk up!) in high school.
This begs the question: is Tim Polasek sending out these tweets to impress potential recruits? If Miller and Endres are any indication (and they probably aren’t, honestly), it’s working! In all seriousness though, I’ve been impressed with Polasek’s recruiting efforts thus far, particularly for 2019. Sure there is always the possibility that they could flip down the line (we’ve seen that way too many times before), but I feel good about the commitments thus far. It’s overreaction Monday so I’m going to go ahead and overreact and say that the class of 2019 could be one of Iowa’s best in many years. Keep the four stars coming!
And while you’re at it, keep the cookouts coming, too.
Now let’s talk basketball, folks.
Mark Emmert had a nice write-up this past weekend about Jordan Bohannon and Ryan Kriener improving their games (and their facial hair games) during over the summer.
Yes, we are still in peak Prime Time League overreaction mode, but it’s also Overreaction Monday, so let’s get at it. Emmert mentions that Bohannon is working on driving the lane and spotting up shots from midrange. Kriener, meanwhile, is focusing on getting out to the perimeter to spread the floor and take 3’s.
This is my first time getting to write about Iowa basketball for this site, so I just want to get it out in the open that I’m a HUGE Jordan Bohannon fan. In my mind, he was everything that Josh Oglesby was supposed to be over the course of four years and more during his freshman season. We haven’t seen a shooter this good in the Black and Gold since Matt Gatens. If Bohannon keeps driving the lane and develops a stronger midrange game, that can only benefit Iowa. It will open up shooters (he mentions Kriener as one of those potential targets, but I personally don’t think he’ll see extended minutes yet) on the perimeter and should equal some high quality shots, especially if (when?) teams start sending two guys to cover Bohannon.
Also of note from Emmert’s writeup: Kriener is working with assistant coach Kirk Speraw on a hook shot, and he’s gained 15 lbs to become more of a post bruiser, and expects to be a stretch forward. Again, I’m not sure how much playing time he’ll really see, especially during conference play, but Kriener did have some nice moments last season that sparked the team as a whole. Competing with Luke Garza and Jack Nunge will definitely be tough, but maybe Krieners experience and extended range gets him more in the mix.
Emmert also wrote a nice piece about Ahmad Wagner after Thursday’s Prime Time League action in Waterloo. The junior forward will also be competing for playing time with Nunge and Garza, but as one of the better defenders on the team, I think he’ll (at least initially) see some extended minutes this season.
Emmert writes that Wagner too is working on becoming more of a scorer, including from the perimeter. It’s an interesting indicator of what we might see on the floor from head coach Fran McCaffery this winter. We know he’s always liked to push the pace and score in transition, so the emphasis on outside shooting during the offseason would make sense. The more 3 point threats you have, the better.
The biggest takeaway from me here is that Wagner wants to play and defend the wing. I like Wagner as a defender, but he’s also 6’7, 235 lb. The elite Big Ten wings are smaller and quicker than that, and could potentially burn right by Wagner. I’m not sure his footwork is good enough to keep up.
Regardless, interesting times are ahead for Iowa basketball. With all of the talent (and height!) below the basket, I’m really hoping to see Fran throw out some crazy lineups to get the season going. The depth is there, but are the minutes? Finding the right lineups for every situation will be key.
And now to finish off with random tweets:
Want to see something insane? Here’s a video of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley squat cleaning 405 lbs:
Here's Penn State RB Saquon Barkley lifting 405 pounds.— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 30, 2017
( : @IronLions1) pic.twitter.com/P6t4uLZKSB
I think he could get his elbows up a little more, but I digress (Note: this is sarcasm. I struggle getting my elbows up with just one plate during my own squat cleans). This will be one tough man to tackle in the fall.
Let’s talk a little baseball, Cubs fans. After slumping in the majors Kyle Schwarber got demoted from Chicago to Des Moines and the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. The move seems to be panning out: Schwarber is on a TEAR. Last night, he had his second two home run game in a row. Let’s watch:
2 days, 4 home runs.— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) July 2, 2017
That'll do, Schwarber. pic.twitter.com/nNo7uZGa36
And read about his journey from Chicago to Des Moines (and definitely back to Chicago sooner rather than later):
Kyle Schwarber is rediscovering his form — and regaining his confidence — with the Iowa Cubs https://t.co/bVp69RTt9Z by @PWSullivan pic.twitter.com/kXqRX9utCp— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) July 2, 2017
Well folks, that’s all I got for you. I hope I overreacted enough to appease your appetite for ill-advised Hawkeye optimism. If not, sound off in the comments. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. Bring us home, Ricky Stanzi!