My wonderful father runs a blog on this page called "View From The Cheap Seats" which I am a massive fan of. Of course, if you're reading this, you know that. Anyone who even knows how to check the fan posts is an avid reader of BHGD, and if you spend less than a second on this site, you not only have read one of my dad's articles, but I guarantee you've enjoyed them. As a sort of tribute to my father who is single-handedly the only reason I am even remotely interested in football (I was always a rugby kid growing up), I thought it'd be an interesting idea to create my own little spinoff. Whereas my dad has always been a very serious/cynical fan of the Hawks, I thought my perspective could provide a short (if fantastical) gleam of hope within this community.
But, I digress.
WHO IN GOD'S NAME IS DEACON HILL?
Seriously??? Who is this guy?? Anyone who isn't totally blind saw him warming up on the sidelines in the past few games, and I'm sure all of you saw him take a few snaps in the back half of the Penn State blowout, but still, who is this kid waltzing onto the field with the visage of Big Ben Roethlisberger and the surprising arm talent of Nate Stanley?
After cheering my way through the bowl game against Kentucky starring true freshman Joe Labas taking his first collegiate snaps in a complete and utter dismantling of an SEC team (who wasn't even really that bad), I expected to see the wonder kid on the field. Hell, I expected him to start. That was, of course, before I knew Cade McNamara was coming.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love Cade. He's got everything in a quarterback I could ever ask for. He's got the arm talent, the scrambling skill, the vision, he's even got the look of a Heisman winner. He's humble and genuinely wants to help turn this program around, and I appreciate that with all my heart. Yet, with every game he started, I always felt something was off. It felt like something just wasn't clicking with the offense. Looking back at older games with Spencer Petras taking snaps, and the absolute tragedy on Saturday made me realize just exactly what that missing piece was.
By no means am I saying Cade McNamara can't scramble. What I AM saying is that he can't scramble right now. The horrible leg injuries he took in Michigan and the no-contact injury he suffered on the practice field proved that he needed to take it slowly. Iowa's offensive line, however, completely failed to provide a strong pocket for McNamara in every game played so far.
And that was his downfall. It isn't his fault he's out for the season, it is 110% Iowa's. Cade clearly showed what kind of protection he needed, and what kind of offense he needed to succeed. Brian Ferentz and the O-line coach left that poor kid out to dry, and look where we are now. The rest of the season is dependent on backup Deacon Hill, and everyone I know is telling me they genuinely think Cade's chance at a pro career is completely and utterly over.
But to reiterate my first question, WHO IS DEACON HILL? I have NEVER cheered for an Iowa quarterback like this. I mean, what a guy. Deacon Hill played his heart out on Saturday and that just cannot be understated. This game gives me complete hope for the rest of the season. Deacon can do it. He has the confidence, he has the talent, and by God, he has the MASS. I'm not sure why his high school coach took him off the D-line and gave him the rock but give that man a medal because Deacon has earned not only my respect but my admiration.
Of course, Brian Ferentz will ALWAYS be a deterrent to creating a quality offense. That isn't something I can sugarcoat. In the words of my dad, Brian should've been left on the tarmac back in Pennsylvania. Not managing to score a single point against Penn State while Northwestern puts up 13 with an interim coach is not only an example of his incompetence but a matter of pure disrespect to the players who give their heart and soul out on the field every single weekend. (Side note: I still haven't forgiven Kirk for blaming that game on the defense. What a joke. Sometimes I wish he'd just shut up and sit down. The failure of his nepotistic failure of a son says enough).
Despite all that, I have faith. The same faith I had at the start of the season, and the same faith I had after Cade's opening touchdown against Utah State. As a Jets fan, I know the horrifying feeling of a QB injury putting your entire season in jeopardy. But somehow somewhere a miracle occurred, and Deacon Hill had himself one hell of a game, and Zach Wilson did the same the very next day. There is no motivation in this world like a million fans in a stadium who don't believe in you, but let me tell you this:
If we want to see the Hawks back in the top 25, we need to throw all of our support behind Deacon. Hell, I'm gonna buy a jersey. College is a defining moment in every football player's life. It's a time of fear and a time of pure doubt. Sure, you managed to make it far enough to play D1 football. Great. But that means nothing if no one in the stands thinks you belong here.
Hill not only belongs here, but he has earned our respect. One interception aside, Deacon had some of the best QB play I've seen in a quarterback wearing a Hawks jersey. The more we believe in him, the better he'll play. Our home state already has a Cinderella story in Brock Purdy, but the Cyclones don't have a patent on good QBs, and I know deep down that Deacon has it in him.
If you stuck around long enough to read this, thanks. I don't aim to establish myself as some amazing writer, nor am I even hoping this gets a ton of attention. Football is something I cherish largely because it has helped my dad and I bond like nothing else. No matter how bad the Hawks get, I will always love the black and gold, for they have done something for me that cannot be repaid.
Also, FIRE BRIAN!