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Overreaction Monday: Graduation, Moms and First Down Tendencies

There was a lot going on last week in Hawkeye sports world, relatively speaking. We congratulate the new grads, thank their moms and walk through the week that was.

NCAA Football: NCAA Football: Purdue at Iowa
Former Hawkeye offensive lineman Sean Welsh called it a career Friday.
The Des Moines Register-USA TODAY Sports

Although it’s the slow time of the year, this weekend was a bit of a big one in the Hawkeye world. Well, not that big, but you know, in the context of nothing really happening of substance this time of year typically, there were actual things that went down. So, yeah, a bit of a big one.

For starters, it was graduation weekend in Iowa City. For those of you not familiar, that mostly means that in a town where you can typically get in to eat at anything approaching an upscale restaurant with little need for a reservation, every place in town was booked full from Friday through Sunday. It also meant the roads were even more congested due to the combination of extra traffic and UHAUL trucks parked literally wherever they fit.

It also meant some former and even current Hawkeyes walked across that stage to accept their diplomas.

Yes that is Nicholas Baer of the men’s hoopy-ball team. You’ll recall he’s in the same class as the graduated Dom Uhl and grad transfer Brady Ellingson. Also pictured here is walk on Charlie Rose who also graduated. Fear not if you did a double take as I did, Baer and Ellingson both redshirted as you’ll recall so we aren’t losing Baer here.

Congratulations to the class of 2018, student-athletes and general population alike. Getting that piece of paper is an accomplishment and a relief and you all should be proud of yourselves.

Speaking of being proud, shout out to all the mothers out there. We’re a day late here, but thank you to all our mom readers, mom’s of our readers and, well, just moms. Literally none of us would be here without you and you all do some pretty amazing things, so thank you.

Special thank you to a couple of the Hawkeye moms we’ve gotten to hear about over the years. Iowa fans thanked Desmond King’s mother for getting him back to Iowa City for his senior year. We should be thanking Akrum Wadley’s mother as well.

Thanks for all you do, moms. You’re all the best (seriously though, mine is the best and you are all just fighting for second, but you know what I mean).

In actual Hawkeye news, Spencer Lee is officially out for the World Team Trials next weekend.

As you’ll recall, I’m woefully ignorant when it comes to the world of wrestling, but Lee has been utterly amazing since stepping foot on campus. I’ve watched as much of him as everyone else combined in my lifetime. I look forward to catching more of him in an Iowa singlet next year.

Speaking of looking forward to seeing someone back in Carver, anybody else looking forward to seeing how Maishe Dailey will progress next year?

How about now?

Seriously, for all the problems the Iowa men’s basketball team had last year, I think we can all say a lack of solid guard play (ex Jordan Bohannon who will go down as one of the best point guards to ever don the black and gold) was near the top, right behind a little thing called defense. If Dailey can continue to improve as a shooter and a ballhandler that’s one more weapon for Bohannon and Connor McCaffery to dish to. Joe Wieskamp won’t hurt either.

Over in the world of football, it was a pretty newsworthy week. First, on Friday we got some not great news with regard to former offensive lineman Sean Welsh. Welsh, you’ll recall, has been very publicly fighting a battle with depression. He came forward to speak on the issue at Big Ten Media Days last year and has been fairly vocal on the topic since.

After signing with the Washington Redskins upon going undrafted in last month’s NFL Draft, Welsh is now calling it a career.

Image via @AdamJRossow

Like many of you I’m sure, I was looking forward to following Welsh in the NFL, but what’s most important is him getting right and doing what’s best for him. Best of luck to Mr. Welsh.

In other news, there were two commitments in the class of 2019. First it was the big WR from Kansas City Desmond Hutson. That was followed up with a commitment from the athletic Ohio linebacker Jestin Jacobs on Friday.

With those two in the fold, the class is now up to 8 members. While it’s not expected to be a terribly large class, likely topping out around 20 total, it’s already shaping up to be pretty good. It’s now ranked 24th in the country and the staff is in really good shape with some big time recruits that could jump them much higher nationally.

Unfortunately, the flip side of continuing to sign solid recruiting classes is veterans are having a difficult time climbing the depth chart. That get’s even more complicated when you’re pestered with injuries as was the case with RS sophomore Romeo McKnight, who announced yesterday afternoon that he’s departing the program seeking playing time elsewhere.

With McKnights departure the Hawkeyes now sit at 86 scholarship players. For those counting along at home, that’s one over the limit of 85 they’ll have to get under by fall camp.

While that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see someone else leave to get there (there’s been speculation that Toks Akinribade, who we already learned won’t play this year due to a blood clot, may move to a medical scholarship) McKnight isn’t likely to be the last departure. This time of year is typically ripe for guys buried on the depth chart a bit to make some tough decisions ahead of fall camp. With a solid roster and things looking pretty good for 2018, expect this season to be no different.

Speaking of the 2018 and expectations, Land of 10 ran a good piece on what Iowa fans can expect from the Iowa offense. Specifically, it dives into what to expect from the tight end group and first down play calling.

We’ve taken a look at some similar things on this fine site as well, but it’s definitely worth the read.

In particular, I found it interesting just how little the first down play-calling differed from what I’ve grown to expect. My recollection is skewed by the outliers of Iowa State and Ohio State, but the Hawkeyes did little to spell the perception they run a lot on first down and run basically whenever there’s a fullback on the field.

I’m hoping to see Brian Ferentz do more to change things up next year. With Nate Stanley continuing to develop and the weapons at tight end, I think we should see more passing on first down (the offense averaged 3.5 more yards per play when they threw the ball on first down vs. running it) and continued heavy usage from Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson.

I expect the defense to be solid this year, despite needing to replace all three linebackers and Joshua Jackson at cornerback. If the offense can build on last year and BF can find his groove calling plays, keeping opposing defenses on their toes, I’ll take the over on 8.5 wins.

I’m prepared to be disappointed.

That’s all I got for this week, ya’ll. Get out there and attack the week.

I’ll let you decide which one is Monday and which one is you.

Go Hawks.