Saw Things So Much Clearer. Iowa held its football Media Day Saturday, and if there's one thing that everyone wants you to know, it's that the Hawkeyes have forgotten about 2014. There was Kirk Ferentz:
"That's the great thing about sports, you get a chance to get back up on your feet and do something about your last experience or things that you weren't happy about," Ferentz said. "So no, we didn't have to call Dr. Phil in or anything like that for our football team. We're just trying to work a little bit harder, work smarter, and get better at the things that really determine successful outcomes. I think the key thing is identifying where we've got to get better and working hard at it."
There was Drew Ott:
"I think we flushed it pretty quick," defensive end Drew Ott said. "I mean, a lot of people were embarrassed. That's not how you want to spend your offseason."
"I don't think our ego needed anything," linebacker Bo Bower said. "We all just came together at the end of the season and after that game [the nightmarish thingie known as the TaxSlayer Bowl, a 45-28 loss to Tennessee] and told ourselves, it's not going to happen again. It can't happen again. I think we've made a lot of strides this offseason."
"You can look at it one of two ways," Welsh said. "You can dwell on it or you can use it as motivation. That's personally what I've done and I feel like that's what a good part of our team has done. Everyone has a fire under them."
"I still don't think we are over that one," Jewell said. "I think that'll still go throughout this year, just knowing how much better we can be and how much work we've put in over this offseason. We are ready to go this year."
This was the third consecutive press conference in which he used a variation of, "I just want to reiterate that we're totally committed to being a Big Ten Championship caliber football team." He is quite literally reiterating that point, in a way that is so obvious that it clearly came from someone above him in the aftermath of "That's football." And if Ferentz is using talking points, entertaining the possibility of alternate uniforms and throwing around scholarship offers to high school juniors, it could be taken as a sign that he has seen the abyss and is trying to avoid a return trip this fa--
Davis says the offense won't look too much different with Beathard. Maybe a few more QB draws.— CR Gazette Sports (@CRGazetteSports) August 8, 2015
Oh FFS. Nevermind.
No Middle Anymore, It's Been Said Before. Probably the biggest news from Media Day did not come from a player or coach. Instead, it was Rick Klatt informing us that one in six season tickets were not renewed this year.
As of Aug. 6, Iowa had sold 37,980 season tickets. Last year a month before kickoff, Iowa had sold 45,613.
"We've planned for a reduction, we've seen a reduction," said Rick Klatt, Iowa's associate athletics director for external relations. "Our goals remain the same: at the end of the season to be a top-25 school once again in attendance — and I think that's reachable — and to meet our financial goals, which is the Regents budget."
Like Ferentz, Klatt is parroting the line used by Gary Barta every time this issue came up during the offseason (Klatt used the "we planned for this" thing TWICE on Saturday) because the default position for every problem in the athletics department is the Dude in the back of The Big Lebowski's limo.
It's not just season ticket holders who are walking away, either. Student ticket sales are down 55 percent from 2012, and Iowa is going to offer student tickets to Kirkwood Community College students starting this week. Rick Brown has a fantastic solution to the problem: Let student into the games for free. The amount of money generated by student tickets is minimal to begin with, students have obviously shown that the current price is not economically optimal, and it would be a great opportunity for Iowa to acknowledge that it would not make millions of dollars every weekend were it not for a university full of tuition-paying students putting the "college" in college football.
As for the non-student season ticket holders, there are any number of problems. Parking remains difficult, tailgating has been legislated into semi-existence, hotel supply still hasn't caught up with demand, ticket prices (with those seat licenses attached, of course) are exorbitantly high, and the football is boring. And yet, all of that would be forgotten if the team would consistently win at home. It's an expensive weekend even if a fan leaves happy; when you've gone 5-9 against Power 5 opponents at home over the last three seasons and haven't beaten a ranked team in Kinnick since 2011, it's a sunk cost.
Given to Fly. Of course, there's also this:
Iowa's video game has stepped up massively in recent years, to the point where the once-hokey "semi truck running over cartoon mascot" montage is now completely badass. And while the video above includes far too many highlights from 2012 and 2013 , it's still enough to get me up on Saturday mornings and on the road to Iowa City.
The only bit of administrative news from Saturday was one position change: Redshirt freshman linebacker Jameer Outsey moved to tight end. Outsey played the position in high school, and Jake Duzey, who is rooming with Outsey during fall camp, says he could potentially be a great tight end in the future.
Chad Leistikow from the DMR breaks down the Iowa depth chart as camp opens. The diagnosis: Some decent talent on the top line, but depth is a concern. In other words, it's every Iowa football team ever.
Rick Brown talks with Jordan Lomax, C.J. Beathard and Jordan Canzeri, and the leadership issue comes up again. Combined with Ferentz's money quote on the decision to bench Rudock for Beathard -- "We thought it was the best thing to do. I think there's a stronger consensus right now that we did the right thing" -- and it's easy to believe that 2014, and especially mid-November through the first week of January, was in large part an issue in the huddle.
Big Ten Powerhouse breaks down the three guys most important to Iowa basketball this season. The Dom Uhl love in particular is both interesting and important.
One basketball recruiting story of note: Arizona decommit and four-star power forward T.J. Leaf has Iowa listed among a number of teams he's considering. Good news: Leaf says he wants to play for a program that runs an "open system" and lets its players run on offense. Bad news: Not only is Iowa up against Duke, but Leaf has mentioned [REDACTED] as a favorite.