I was told by a co-worker/reader last week that perhaps the name of Overreaction Monday should be changed, at least until the end of basketball season. What used to seem like weekly overreactions, somewhat tongue-in-cheek playing to the natural overreactions of fans (and Hawkeye fans in particular) after each week’s events, now just seems like pretty regular, even warranted reaction. It’s not an overreaction to be upset by the complete lack of effort out of the Hawkeyes. It’s not an overreaction to say their defense is atrocious. It’s not an overreaction to say Fran’s contract extension is brutally bad. It’s not an overreaction to say I’m done with this team. And as much as I’d love to play into the bit, I can’t bring myself to truly overreact and call for McCaffery’s firing. So I suppose he’s right. Maybe this is just Monday?
I was actually excited earlier this week, thinking perhaps he was wrong and I was truly going to have an opportunity to overreact today. Iowa put forth what I think was their best effort of the season for a full game on Tuesday. They outclassed Wisconsin for the entirety of both halves. There was defensive intensity and effort and results. On the other end, things seemed to flow. Both Garza and Cook did work in the post and despite Baer and Bohannon combining to go 2-12 from deep, there were five Hawkeyes in double figures. And that poor shooting didn’t prevent JoBo from notching a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists.
Things were looking up. Well, as up as they can when you’re a team sitting near the bottom of a particularly bad Big Ten conference. But perhaps we had seen the spark to get this group to turn the corner? Maybe, just maybe they could put together a little run here with winnable games at Nebraska, home against a struggling Minnesota and on the road at a beatable Penn State. There’s another stretch of three straight winnable games to close out the year and maybe this team could do enough between the to stretches, pull off an upset in the middle and salvage something, anything from this season.
Alas, that’s not who this group is. Like the rest of the year, it was one step forward and two steps backward. Following that wonderful defensive effort against a woeful Wisconsin team (hey, if nothing else maybe we can tell DJ Carton our bad team has a brighter future with more talented young guys?), we saw a return to the old ways against Nebraska.
In Lincoln on Saturday, the Hawkeyes gave up 98 points. That’s the most the Huskers have ever scored in a Big Ten game. Yes, ever. Iowa is now giving up 77.3 points per game, 299th in the country. And it’s not like the schedule has been a murderer’s row. This team is just terrible at playing defense and they make it worse by not seeming to take any pride in improving it.
In fact, it would seem they are trying not to improve it. I mean, honestly, it takes some effort to go on the road and score 84 points and still lose by 14. You almost have to try to give up 98 points to a team that sits at 206th in the country in scoring at 73.3 points per game. You almost have to try to allow an opponent to shoot 58% from three. You almost have to try to allow three opposing starters to score 10 points each above their per game average (which Roby, Copeland and Palmer Jr all did).
This team is incredibly talented. They continue to lack anyone on the offensive side who can penetrate off the dribble, but they can fill it up offensively when the ball is moving. They continue to lack anyone who can truly defend the perimeter against quick, athletic guard, but they can still play solid team defense if they work at it. Instead, they seem to think they can somehow get out of the basement of a bad conference purely by scoring and not playing any of that team defense. And that’s where their effort is focused. If that’s the effort this team is going to put forth, I’m going to be done putting forth the effort to overreact to them and instead focus the effort into find something else to talk about.
While the basketball team was preparing to do the same old thing later in the day, a pair of former Hawkeyes were showing off their stuff Saturday afternoon in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. As we told you on Friday, Akrum Wadley and Sean Welsh represented the Hawkeyes while Josey Jewell turned down his invite.
While the South team thoroughly trounced the North 45-16, both Wadley and Welsh showed pretty well on Saturday.
Wadley, Welsh are small for their positions, but still managed to make an impression at Senior Bowl. What did observers have to say about the former Hawkeyes? https://t.co/576CSVbaqz— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) January 28, 2018
Wadley finished with 38 yards on 8 carries for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. The yardage total was second on the North team only to former Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage, who finished with 57 yards. The game seemed to focus on showing off players’ skill sets and how they respond to various situations. While it’s widely known that Wadley is excellent in space, he spent almost all of the senior bowl working between the tackles.
There also seemed to be an effort to show that Wadley can have some value in special teams. He played on kickoff and punt return. Interestingly, he also recorded a tackle on a Tanner Lee interception (some things never change).
The one major mark against him, from what I saw during the game, was a whiff on a chip block that led to a strip sack and a fumble returned for a touchdown. On what should have been a quick pass, Wadley leaked to the right side to chip the defensive end and then release, but got nothing but air while the right tackle missed almost as bad on the inside and the defender had a clear shot at the QB. With Wadley’s pass-catching skills, he’s going to have to show he can pass block at the next level to get routine work in passing downs.
Like Wadley, Welsh looked really good. He was solid in the run game , but I thought he really excelled in pass protection. That comes with a caveat as the defenses were prevented from stunting or blitzing and Welsh often found himself doubling up on a would-be pass rusher. Still, I thought it was a very good showing overall.
Expect both of the former Hawkeyes to hear their names called at some point in this year’s NFL Draft.
Speaking of former Hawkeyes, a day after a pair of them looked to show off their talents to make it to the NFL, a trio of former Hawkeyes were taking part in the NFL Pro Bowl after showing off their stuff all season.
Safety Micah Hyde, offensive guard Brandon Scherff and defensive tackle Mike Daniels were all selected to participate. Unfortunately, only Daniels was able to participate. Both Scherff and Hyde had to withdraw due to injuries.
The selection was the first for both Daniels and Hyde, who were previously teammates in Green Bay. Hyde earns his first selection in his first year with the Buffalo Bills. For Scherff, it’s his second straight selection after being taken 5th overall in 2015 by the Washington Redskins. According to the Washington Post, that makes Scherff “the first Redskins’ interior lineman to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections since Hall of Fame guard Russ Grimm’s streak of four consecutive Pro Bowl honors (1983-86).”
Daniels finished the game with 2 total tackles, including 1 solo. He also had a chance to participate in some of the festivities leading up to the game in Orlando. He teamed up with fellow Packer pro bowler Davante Adams in dodgeball. Unfortunately, they didn’t fare so well.
As disappointing as the dodgeball performance may have been, Daniels took advantage of his time in Orlando. On Friday, the former Hawkeye officially entered the record books.
Congratulations to Mike Daniels and all the former Hawkeyes who earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Finally, I just wanted to take a few words to point out something pretty cool a pair of former Hawkeyes did over the weekend. In case you missed it yesterday, Miles Taylor took to Twitter on Saturday evening to let the world know he was planning to auction off some of the game worn memorabilia from the win against Ohio State this year.
But this isn’t just some money grab for a college kid. Taylor indicated all the proceeds from the auction would go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
Auctioning off my Alternate Black Iowa Jersey, Helmet, and Cleats worn in the win of Ohio State to raise money for the UI Children’s Hospital! All of the money is going to go the hospital! Let’s get the most we can for these kids! Its the least we can do! Who’s in?! Starts now!!— Miles Taylor (@Miles_Taylor19) January 28, 2018
Not long after, fellow backfield mate and soon to be first round pick Josh Jackson announced he was joining Taylor in the endeavor.
Auctioning off my Alternate Black Iowa Jersey, Helmet, and Cleats worn in the win of Ohio State to raise money for the UI Children’s Hospital! All of the money is going to go the hospital.. Its the least we can do. Starts now! Me and @Miles_Taylor19— joshua r. jackson (@IM_TEXAS_TRILL) January 28, 2018
When it was all concluded, the gear raised more than $13,000 for the Children’s Hospital. It’s a lot of money to spend on memorabilia, but a small price to pay for such a great cause.
It’s yet another reminder amid all the bad news we see each day that there’s still a lot of good out there and the work being done at UIHC and the partnership between the football program and the Children’s Hospital is a perfect example of that.
Happy Monday everyone. Try not to overreact. It’s just Monday.