Taking the Field. It's safe to say that Iowa field hockey media day has never gotten as much attention as it did Thursday, but it's also safe to say that no Iowa sport has had a year quite like field hockey just finished. One year ago this month, Iowa abruptly fired coach Tracey Griesbaum amid complaints of player abuse. Griesbaum has alleged that Iowa athletics applies a double standard, allowing its male coaches to conduct themselves with more belligerence and less regard for player conditions than female coaches. The firing has prompted three lawsuits, including a Title IX complaint by four players that is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education. Both Griesbaum and her partner, Jane Meyer, have filed civil rights lawsuits.
Amid all of that, Iowa field hockey played their schedule. Longtime assistant Lisa Cellucci took over the program. She had the Hawkeyes ranked as high as seventh nationally before the squad faded to the finish and missed the NCAA tournament.
You've never read a transcript that uses "It's been hard" and "It's a challenge" more than this. Both Cellucci and her players admit that Griesbaum's absence is still felt.
"It's been a challenge," Cellucci said at the team's media day Thursday. "I think I made that pretty clear last year that it was personally devastating to me. It's ongoing, but I've been doing my best to put my best foot forward and help these student athletes achieve their goals on and off the field. Ultimately, it's up to our staff and our team to uphold the tradition of Iowa field hockey and all the great coaches and student athletes that came before me."
"I don't think much has changed," [junior Chandler] Ackers said. "It's still hard to be out here without Tracey, but we're taking it one day at a time working through everything. We want this team to succeed first, but we always have it in the forefront of our mind.
"There was thoughts about (transferring). This has changed my life completely. But I'm still a Hawk and will always be a Hawk. I don't think I could go anywhere else."
Ackers is one of two players still on the team who had filed the Title IX complaint. The other, reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the year Natalie Cafone, will miss this season due to a shoulder injury.
UI field hockey starts their second season since Griesbaum's departure on August 29 against Wake Forest.
Let's Count the Ferentz Cliches from Wednesday. Not only did the discussion of C.J. Beathard's ascension to the throne turn to the WORST PRACTICE IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL, a talking point used so much it became a joke...
"It was a Thursday practice, when you want things to be clean, crisp, and feel pretty good about things, so everybody can feel confident coming off the field, and it was not a stellar performance on his part, and I'm not talking so much about accuracy but more so just some mental errors that were made," Ferentz said. "There's too much at stake when you're talking about a quarterback position to make certain errors that he shouldn't have been making at that point."
Ferentz couldn't recall the exact practice, but remembered Thursday. Beathard remembered it exactly.
"Week of the Pitt game, it was a Thursday practice," Beathard said. "I made a couple of mistakes and he got on me. That's just how it is. You have to listen to what he says and put it behind you."
...but we even got a Dallas Clark sighting.
I mean, it's only two, so it's a typical day. But those are two big cliches.
Inside Job. Grantland's Matt Hinton dives into the NFL's newest trend: Converting college tackles into interior linemen. With all of the tiny-armed offensive linemen that Iowa has produced in recent years, it's of particular interest to us. Riley Reiff and Bryan Bulaga began their pro careers as guards before moving to tackle. Former Iowa tackle Marshal Yanda is considered one of the best interior linemen in the league. Matt Tobin, who finished his Iowa career at left tackle, could be the starting right guard for Philadelphia this season. Robert Gallery conked out at left tackle but became an All-Pro guard late in his career. And rookie Brandon Scherff, ostensibly drafted as a tackle, is playing guard for the Washington Redskins. How is that going so far?
So...a work in progress?
The Prediction Machine predicts Iowa at somewhere between 7 and 8 wins. The win total isn't surprising. The rank -- ahead of Nebraska, Michigan and Minnesota -- is. And if this thing is correct, Randy Edsell is a dead man.
Friend of the Pants John Bohnenkamp embedded himself as a quarterback with the Western Illinois football team for a day of August practice. If the pictures are any indication, it's going to be amazing.
The internal clock was ticking. pic.twitter.com/RbBud2setD— John Bohnenkamp (@johnbohnenkamp) August 19, 2015
Walking off with my fellow offensive linemen. pic.twitter.com/1KGO4sA8wC— John Bohnenkamp (@johnbohnenkamp) August 19, 2015
Iowa wrestling is apparently going skiing.