You know the drill. I write a little column, you adore it and then you submit your questions for this weeks comment-bag in, well, the comments (or on Twitter if you like to kick it old school, @JerryScherwin). Five Twitter dollars for the best question this week.
Being that this is a blog for fans, I think it’s important to address the eleFANT in the room.
For those that have been under a rock:
These coaches must think the #1 Guy in the nation is the 2nd or 3rd best on there team! Because they both get more reps than he does. It’s hard to believe a player who is arguably the best at his position only plays sometimes. Hard to watch that mess over and over!— Chris Fant (@CoachFant45) October 7, 2018
I’m sure it’s easy for a good defense like Wisconsin to stop a sub-par Iowa offense, especially when you don’t play the best offensive player on your team... Ohhh Wait didn’t we just lose to Wisconsin?— Willie F. (@Willie_Fant) October 7, 2018
There was more (lots more) and it got ugly and personal as Twitter battles are wont to do (including but not limited to one of the Fant’s telling someone to “stick to bowling” which, I’m sorry, is just funny).
As the optimistic and often neutral party on BHGP, I must start by saying both Chris and Willie Fant have a point. They’ve had a point the last two years, even if it hasn’t always been delivered in the best way.
But the fact remains, Noah Fant is the biggest mismatch Iowa has on its team and could be one of the best offensive players to ever come through Iowa City when it’s all said and done. I don’t think anyone, even poor “Stick to Bowling Joel” would disagree with that. He’s a first round NFL talent. He can block just as well as he runs routes just as well as he can catch a pass. He’s just as effective split out wide as he is in on the line and his gravitational pull is surely making the other players on the field better:
“When I’m on the field when I’ve got Noah to my side,” sophomore receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette said, “I notice how focused the (defensive backs) or linebackers are focused on Noah.”
They shout Fant’s number, 87, as they make sure the Hawkeyes’ preseason all-American is accounted for — usually with some kind of double team. That means Iowa’s wide receivers might get single coverage.
“When that happens,” Smith-Marsette continued, “it puts a little smile on my face.”
With all of that said, Noah Fant probably shouldn’t be out snapped in any game that he’s healthy for.
WE ALL AGREE ON THIS.
In all honesty, have you ever said to yourself, “Gee, I wish Fant wasn’t on the field so often?” No. No you haven’t. And for the next few months, the odds are that you won’t ever.
On the surface of this entire Twitter battle, the thesis is widely agreed upon. Whether you’re just a member of the general fan base or a Fant Bro, it’s weird that 87 is being out snapped by TJ Hockenson (who I truly do not believe anybody is taking anything away from) 284 snaps to 193.
Whether or not you like the fact that the older brothers of a kid that will soon be making millions of dollars for catching a football are continuously calling out the coaching staff of your favorite team or not, we all agree that despite Fant’s touchdowns, despite being the redzone monster, despite catching over 50% of Nate Stanley’s touchdowns this season, despite all of it, Fant and Hockenson should be on the field as much as humanly possible and there probably shouldn’t be an almost 100-snap difference between the two.
It’s not like the Fant brothers have ever said “Noah said ______” or “Noah’s pissed that he’s not on the field”. They’ve made it very, very clear that these are THEIR opinions. Opinions that a healthy majority of us share on a weekly basis:
Hey fellas. Noah Fant is still playing. 2 consecutive drives and not even so much as look. I don’t GET IT— Mitchel Truesdell (@MitchelTruesdel) October 6, 2018
Idk why they don't throw to Noah Fant on every single play #Hawkeyes— Swanklin Gutierrez (@hippiehoppin) October 6, 2018
When Brian Ferentz remembers Noah Fant is on the team >>>>>— Brett (@schneiderbrett9) October 6, 2018
Me trying to figure out why Noah Fant isn’t on the field for every single offensive snap for Iowa pic.twitter.com/dJIxOTrTHi— Dalton Miller (@Cowboys_DBM) September 27, 2018
Do I need to keep going?
Is it a good look when family members get into arguments about playing time on Twitter. No, it’s not. But what frustrates the hell out of me is that people are trying to connect the dots between the Fants and Noah himself as if these are his opinions.
That just doesn’t seem to be the case. Take it from Kirk himself:
“I can’t remember anybody ever coming in and complaining about like, ‘Hey, I’m not getting the ball enough or not enough routes for me’ or not enough touches,” Ferentz said. “I would throw Noah in that category. He’s been great.”
I know that this is going to heat some people up and that’s ok. That’s what this is all about after all. But at the end of the day, I view the Fant Brothers just like I view all of us on the internet. We’re just some dudes and ladies with a keyboard and an opinion. I don’t know shit about what’s going on on the sidelines or in the huddle or in the locker room or during the teams meetings. I don’t know shit about game plans and schemes.
Just like you don’t know shit, either. We can guess and we can hypothesize and we can argue. But none of us REALLY know anything about what’s happening inside Kirk’s walls. We just know what we see and what we’re told.
Do the Brothers Fant know more than we do? Maybe? Or maybe they’re just some over protective family members that understand the unique position and skill set their brother’s in/has and want him to be utilized as much as possible.
And guess what? So do I.
This isn’t the first case of a family member or two going rogue on social media. And it won’t be the last. But let’s not pretend that if we had a brother or sister or cousins in the same position that we wouldn’t want the same thing. None of us are related to Fant and we still want more snaps for him every Saturday.
The bottom line is this: Noah Fant is a game changer and the more times he’s on the field, the better Iowa’s offense should be. Hockenson is a game changer and the more times he’s on the field, the better Iowa’s offense should be. The more both of these dudes are on the field, the better Iowa’s offense should be.
And no matter what your opinion is of me or the Brothers Fant and their delivery methods, we will always, at least, agree on that.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if Chris Fant had a burner account called @FantasticHawk87 and sent out that same tweet, we’d all probably nod our head a little, possibly like it, and move on. Because we know there have been times where we’ve scratched our heads and wondered why the hell 87 wasn’t in the GD game both this year and last.
All of the other stuff that happened in the direct aftermath of Chris Fant hitting send? Yeah, they can keep it. But the original tweet in and of itself, it’s nothing you, me and all of our social media friends haven’t thought ourselves.
I love you all.