We’re just over 100 days from the start of the 2021 Iowa Football season and with that, our full on countdown to kickoff. We’ve already kicked off our weekly look at an Iowa position group, as well as a weekly opponent preview.
At just one week in, we haven’t yet gotten to the Maryland Terrapins, who Iowa is slated to play in their return to Big Ten action in week five of the season. That seems to be a good thing in this case as that particular matchup now has a new date.
The Big Ten announced scheduling changes on Wednesday morning that included a move for Iowa’s matchup at Maryland. The game will still be played in College Park during week five, but instead of being a Saturday afternoon game, it will now be played on Friday night, October 1st.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz has in the past made it pretty clear he isn’t a big fan of these Friday games, but in this case it seems to be a net win for Hawkeye fans. That is, of course, pending an official announcement for game time and TV listings.
As it stands, a Friday night road game means a bit less practice time for the Hawkeyes, but more time for Iowa fans to soak up college football that Saturday. On Friday night, the game will compete with high school football, but will have limited competition from around the NCAA for eyeballs. As an added bonus, Iowa isn’t the school trying to fill a stadium with fans on a Friday night.
With the move, Iowa now has a pair of Friday games on the docket in 2021. The week five matchup with Maryland joins the annual Black Friday contest with Nebraska. That game was in jeopardy a season ago after Iowa was slated to play Wisconsin in the final week of the season. But with the revamped schedule due to COVID-19, the Hawkeyes were able to keep the Black Friday matchup while still playing the Badgers in the final week of the season.
In other Hawkeye football news, Iowa announced on Tuesday that former Hawkeye signal caller Jason Manson had been named Director of Player Development. That’s a role that had been held by fellow former Hawkeye Sam Brincks over the last 10 months with an interim tag.
According to Hawkeye Sports, the Director of Player Development role “erves as a guide for student-athletes as they transition from high school to college, supporting their academic and football successes while creating a positive and memorable college experience.”
Manson was a Hawkeye letter-winner in 2005 and 2006 as both a QB and WR. He completed 42 of 85 career passing attempts for 442 yards and one TD while also rushing for 93 yards on 22 career attempts and catching three passes for 22 career yards. He led the Hawkeyes to a double OT win over Syracuse in 2006 in his only career start under center. That game should stand out in Hawkeye fans’ memories.
He graduated with a degree in Communication Studies after being a member of the team Leadership Council for four years and was Iowa’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2006. Additionally, Manson was a member of the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee and awarded the Student Leadership Award during his time on campus.
Since leaving the Hawkeye program, Manson has spent time as both a coach at the prep and collegiate level and school administrator at the high school level. He was the receivers coach at Becker College in 2007 before becoming an instructor and OC at Milford Academy in 2008-2009. From 2010 to 2014, Manson served as a position coach at Central Connecticut State University. In 2014, he became head coach at Capital Preparatory Magnet School, where he stayed until 2018. At that time, he served as astudent management assistant at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and head coach at Capital Prep. Since 2019, he’s been the head coach at St. Thomas More School (notably, the same school where Fran McCaffery pulled former 2022 and now 2021 big man Riley Mulvey).
Speaking with Hawkeye Sports, head coach Kirk Ferentz had the following to say:
I am happy to bring Jason Manson back to our program in this capacity. Jason was a valued team member and leader during his Iowa career. His perspective and experience since graduation will be a great benefit to our players in his new role.
According to the official release, Manson and his wife have three children, Julian (13), Jace (9), and Jaxon (5). Perhaps some future players for him to develop?
Welcome back to Iowa City Jason Manson!