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Free-For-All Friday Wonders where the line is?

Guessing what Manny Rugamba “did” while wondering where Kirk’s institutional line is.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Jerry: JP! Happy day my friend. We are finally, finally, finally a week away from real Hawkeye football and a day away from kind of football! I don’t know about you, but my bookie is already getting a work out with the amount of teasers and parlays I’ve put on Stanford, USF and the Mayweather fight.

Degenerate season is upon us baby.

But not everything is all rainbows and dollar signs. Unfortunately, one of Iowa’s starting cornerbacks was suspended for the first game of the season for… reasons? This is a very KF move (don’t forget he suspended Desmond King for a half once upon a time) that I’ve come to appreciate. You always know what you get from ol’ Ferentz buttttttt Iowa isn’t playing some cupcake QB in Week 1. They’re playing a dude that could be the next Ben Roethlisberger.

This could be a major, major issue.

JPinIC: Snort!

I mean, when this announcement comes out, the first thought is “oh well, it’s Wyoming, this is a cakewalk, nothing to see here.” Then, as you so aptly pointed out, you recall that Josh Allen is running the show at Wyoming and all of a sudden it feels like you’ve been slidin’ into first.

That dude can fire some effin’ pigskin. Now sure, he’s lost a lot of that offense. They had some WRs graduate, as well as a RB, lost some of the OL and had another WR go down to injury already this fall. But he is still damn good.

My worry going into this thing was always in the passing game. We don’t expect them to be able to run much. We don’t expect them to be able to stop BUTWAD. But we expected them to be able to get some quick strikes in. I’ve had confidence in this secondary, despite the departures of Greg Mabin and Desmond King and the loss of Brandon Snyder to injury, but the hits just keep coming, man!

We all know Manny Rugamba for that ridiculous pick against MIchigan last year, but he is a legitimately good CB. He’s incredibly athletic and obviously has some instincts. Without him, we have question marks….

Before we really dive into the implications here and what Rugamba’s replacement brings to the table, I gotta ask you Jer: what do you think he did to warrant a 1 game suspension?

Hello Jerry: I often wonder “where the line is” for Kirk Ferentz and I always come to the same realization: shenanigans are not tolerated. Obviously, this could be as simple as being consistently late for a meeting or morning work out, but I hope for at least Rugamba’s sake (he is having to miss an entire game for this), it was something more…I don’t know...worth it?

Don’t take that the wrong way, either. I’m not talking about something terrible. I’m strictly talking about college shenanigans. For example, when this news came out I started day dreaming (gotta get through the desk job somehow) about Rugamba jumping on a table at the student-athlete learning center and reciting the “oh captain, my captain” moment from Dead Poets Society to Josey Jewell.

The other thought I had was that he was riding around Iowa City after practice on his moped and doing some Meek Mill type acrobatics on the back of it. As someone that always stole my now wife’s moped (like all athletes on campus, hers was supped up too), I understand the want and need to be extremely arrogant on those suckers. They’re too damn fun to obey the laws of the road.

What do you think JP?

JPinIC: Diarrhea and Dead Poets Society. This. Is. FFF.

As for what I think he did? Man, it could be just about anything short of running a drug house, apparently. I mean, we’ve seen a guy punch a cabbie in the face and not get a suspension (allegedly, and there were apparently some extenuating circumstances) and we’ve seen guys get picked up for a PAULA and get dinged for a game. Then there’s the all-encompassing “violation of team rules.”

What the hell is that? Nobody knows. And nobody ever will. Because the punishments have been all over the board and we aren’t getting anything out of that office. Kirk tried to shed some light on things with the HawkCentral pod this week, I guess. He said he makes the decision, but he leans on both the rest of the staff and the team leadership group to make a decision on what’s best for the player and the team. Each situation is different. There’s a lot of gray area. That’s football.

If I had to guess, Rugamba missed multiple meetings or workouts. I’ve heard it thrown around that maybe the staff found out he was drinking or something. I suppose that could be. Neither is terribly exciting. Neither would be terribly surprising for a college sophomore-to-be. I’m with you though. It’d be nice to imagine he’s sitting out a game because he busted into coaches office and demanded the offense get more exciting, laid his jersey on the table and said, “This one’s for Wadley.”

Whatever it was, it was enough to sit out a game that we know could be trouble, but not enough to warrant anything beyond week one. So my question to you, Jer, is this: what do you think the punishment would’ve been for this arbitrary violation, which I’ll let you choose, if Mark Dantonio were the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes?


I’ll let you tackle that one.

What I will say though is that I expect Rugamba to learn from this (which should help long term for the soph). Not only is he hurting himself by whatever stupid mistake he made, he’s also hurting his teammates; and if I know anything about the continuous leadership qualities of Hawkeye athletes, they’re doing quite a bit of policing among themselves. Miles Taylor or Josh Jackson or (ESPECIALLY) walk-on Jake Gervase should be laying into Rugamba on the daily. There shouldn’t be a drill, a meeting or a work out that they should let him forget whatever it is that he did. I’d also expect that if this was an issue with time management, that one of those guys steps up and does everything they can to make sure they get him into those meetings/practices/workouts/study halls on time.

That’s what Iowa football does (at least I like to think… then again, I live in Disney World and all of that stuff might just be stuff from the movies). Never underestimate how teammates can help a player change his tune. Especially when his peers are constantly shoveling shit on top of him. Those guys’ opinions matter just as much as the coaching staff.

Now, I’ll open the floor up for you to take care of this Dantonio question I can basically see you salivating over.

JPinIC: Jerry! This was a gimme! You know the answer! LET THE PLAYER CHOOSE THE PUNISHMENT! If he wants to play, let him play. If he wants to sit, let him play. We’re here to win football games, damnit! Hope last night was fun! You poison my team, son!

You cost me my perfect season, Rugamba!

Wait, nevermind, they won 3 games last year. Yeah, he still lets him play.

But KF is not Mark Dantonio. He believes in his players working to win games, rather than leaving it up to God. And he believes in holding his guys accountable. So Rugamba is out (apparently like half the MSU two-deeps is also out - which kind of begs the question of what one has to do to get the ouster from MD…. wait, don’t answer that).

So my question to you now, Jer, is whether it matters at all. I know I’ve said Josh Allen looks legit and I’ve also said Matt Hankins looks like he is this year’s Manny Rugamba of last year. Add in how good we already think Michael Ojemudia is. Does this change anything for next weekend?

Hello Jerry: With or without Rugamba, I think the Hawkeyes can and will cover the -12.5 point spread Vegas has right now. It will be interesting to see IF Hankins can be this year’s Rugamba like you said. What better time to prove that’s true than now? Wyoming has a stud at QB and he’s going to make some things happen around the field… but I expect the defensive line (Phil Parker loves ‘em!) will be able to create plenty of pressure on the edge (and hopefully up the middle) to hurry Allen up and keep him uncomfortable for a majority of the game.

Plus, one team has Akrum Wadley and the other doesn’t.


JPinIC:I don’t think it changes anything in the grand scheme of things. Maybe there are a handful of plays that go wrong because it’s not Rugamba out there, but the run game of Iowa is going to cram it down their throats. And even if Allen is able to connect on some stuff and get a few TDs, I think Iowa wins this one. I hope Iowa wins this one. Oh God, what if they lose this one? We need Dantonio!