This football season, as in years past, we’ll be going behind enemy lines each week to ask some of the tough questions, the really hard-hitting ones. Sometimes, we may even go over the line.
We’d also like to know what you’re interested in learning about each opponent. So hit us on social media with some questions you’d like us to ask each upcoming opponent. Slide in the DMs, @ us or use the hashtag #overthelinebhgp and we’ll ask our weekly guests your questions.
This week, the Hawkeyes open the season at home against the Miami RedHawks. Unfortunately, Miami of Ohio doesn’t have an SB Nation site. However, there is a site dedicated to the MAC conference titled Hustle Belt so be sure to check that out.
Unfortunately (again), our requests for a Q&A via email went unanswered and the DMs over at Hustle Belt aren’t open. So, we were unable to get in touch with any of the great minds over there. Luckily for you, we knew what they would’ve said anyway so we went ahead and did the Q&A without them.
So let’s get right to it, shall we?
BHGP: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time! Very excited to get back to college football and face off against another team in the MAC.
HB: Absolutely! Football is finally back and I’m sure we speak for all Miami fans when we say we’re excited to take in a night game at Kinnick Stadium to start the year.
BHGP: You mentioned the night game - I’m sure Iowa fans are really excited about that. It’s actually the latest kickoff for a season opener in Iowa football history. Does the atmosphere for a night game at Kinnick make you nervous at all?
HB: You know, I don’t think it really plays a major factor in the outcome. This is a team that was 6-6 a year ago and finished third in the East division in the MAC. We’re really just looking to play a competitive game against Iowa, stay healthy, get some experience under our belt and make some plays if opportunities arise.
Getting a chance to play in that night environment will be great in preparing the team for any environment they may face the rest of the year, including a trip to the horseshoe in a couple weeks.
BHGP: You brought up the record a year ago, what’s different about this team vs. the one that went .500 in 2018?
HB: Well, hopefully they’re a better team. They should be more experienced. Coach Chuck Martin is going into year 6 and the RedHawks return 7 starters on both offense and defense.
Unfortunately, we lost our top two rushers from a team that didn’t exactly run the ball down anyone’s throat. The offense is also replacing the entire left side, so keeping the QB clean could be a concern.
On defense, we lost four of our top seven tacklers, but Doug Costin is back on a defensive line that should be solid. He had six sacks a year ago and will look to grow that number this year.
BHGP: You touched on keeping the QB clean. Who is the QB?
HB: Well, that’s still TBD. We have three guys competing for the job. There’s sophomore Jackson Williamson, who most expect to win the job. But he’s competing with Brett Gabbert (of the Blaine variety), who’s a true freshman, as well as redshirt freshman A.J. Mayer.
BHGP: And do you think they’ll keep him clean?
BHGP: Will the starter finish the game?
HB: We’ll see, but the odds aren’t great breaking in a new left side and a new starting QB against the pass rushers we know Iowa has.
BHGP: How many times a year do you get mistaken for The U?
HB: Honestly, not enough. Not that we need an Uncle Luke situation or anything, but being mistaken for a school with the history of the other Miami isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
BHGP: Do you have a turnover chain? Has the coaching staff considered embracing The U hand signal, or just stopped including their logo or the (OH) in their recruiting material?
HB: Little known fact, we do have a turnover chain. Unfortunately it’s much smaller than Miami’s and we rarely get to use it. Also, nobody is watching on TV so they don’t see it.
Great ideas on the recruiting front. I’ll pass those on and see what we can do.
BHGP: We’re the Hawkeyes. Sometimes we’re referred to as the Hawks. You’re the RedHawks. What’s the best kind of Hawk?
HB: Clearly it’s the Red Hawk.
BHGP: Are red hawks red?
HB: Not exactly. They have a red tint to them, but they’re pretty brown.
BHGP: What about Blackhawks? Are they black?
HB: Yeah, they’re pretty black.
BHGP: And you stand by your claim that red hawks are better?
BHGP: Why do you hate black hawks? We don’t see color here.
BHGP: Ok, back to business. Pancheros or Chipotle?
HB: There are no Pancheros in Ohio so Chipotle.
BHGP: Wow, that’s just insane.
HB: So, uh.... football?
BHGP: Yeah, Pancheros is definitely football. Ever heard of the burrito lift? Get used to it.
So, the line is 21.5 Saturday in Iowa City. Who ya got?
HB: Well, much like this Q&A, I expect the game Saturday to go south pretty quickly. The atmosphere should help the Hawkeyes avoid falling asleep early. Our only hope is to create some turnovers early and get Iowa out of their game.
As great as it would be to see Manny Rugamba make some big plays in his return to Kinnick, I don’t think it happens. But I’ll go with the somewhat homer pick and say Miami pulls a backdoor cover and loses 38-17 on a touchdown late in the 4th.
So there you have it, even the (other) Miami guys are picking the Hawkeyes*! Let’s go, it’s almost game day baby!
*By Miami guys, of course we mean Iowa guys pretending to be Miami guys since we couldn’t get ahold of any Miami guys. Do they really exist?