GO HAWKS WOOOOO.
You might consider taking :20 to watch this... http://t.co/tnBY96FyPu— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) September 20, 2015
So, is it finally here? For the last five years, Iowa fans have been waiting for what has become commonly known as "Ferentz 3.0," the maybe-not-inevitable revival of Iowa's fortunes. So, in the wake of Iowa's last-second win against Pitt and 3-0 start to the 2015 season, is the resurrection at hand?
You've seen New Kirk fake some field goals, and that's been lighthearted fun for everyone. Like funny "HAHA," but let's not get crazy with "New Kirk" talk. Saturday night was another level. The situation was similar at Ohio State in 2009. The Hawkeyes went into overtime and fell a game short of their first Rose Bowl since 1991. Obviously, the stakes weren't as high Saturday night, but you certainly could argue the new breeze that seems to be blowing through Iowa football was in the balance.
Take a knee and go into overtime, tell your players you'll take your chances with the percentages. Or go for it and tell your completely fresh narrative.
Take that, Nebraska game of Black Friday 2014. That one, the loss that bugged Kirk Ferentz all offseason and pretty much prompted all the changes that you're seeing this September, was officially put out of its misery Saturday night.
By now, we can check off all of the new Ferentz stuff for this year. But all of it, from shield punts to fake field goals, from counter plays to two-minute drills, comes back to the same premise: Iowa football has suddenly, miraculously adapted itself to the modern game in ways it had resisted in the past. The benefits of something like a rugby punt -- because players are allowed to get downfield on the snap of the ball, as opposed to the kick as they do in the pros, it's in the punting team's best interest to hold the ball for as long as possible and send most of the team downfield -- are fairly obvious once you accept that the rule is the rule. If running two fake field goals forces your opponent to play safe coverage on your field goal attempts, as Pitt did Saturday night, you give your kicker one more second to load up for a long kick. If you run a power or iso on occasion, you keep your opponents honest when you run the outside zone (and might learn that Jordan Walsh is a beast of a pulling guard).
In other words, even if Iowa loses its next nine games, Ferentz 3.0 is here, and it's a true upgrade for a program that's been running on Windows 98 for the last 16 years.
Out with the Old. Speaking of replacing things that don't work, Marshall Koehn's discussion with Phil Parker before Saturday's game-winner is maybe the best reflection of Iowa reviewing its own errors that we've seen so far:
Pittsburgh Coach Pat Narduzzi called time as Koehn was in the process of kicking. Koehn said he heard the official's whistle, but followed through for the practice. It wasn't a full effort. He still almost made it.
That icing-the-kicker thing, when will these coaches remove that from their repertoires? Iowa did it against Iowa State's Cole Netten here last year. He missed his first 42-yard try with two seconds left, but it was wiped out because of Iowa's timeout. Then he hit the game-winner.
Time to think makes those kooky kickers calmer.
Koehn said ‘‘Coach (Phil) Parker came up to me and said ‘I'm glad they did that. Because we did that to Iowa State and it came back and bit us in the butt.' "
Hlas' entire column is fantastic, right down to Jordan Walsh claiming he didn't even watch the kick because he was so confident Koehn was going to make it. And the narrative is indicative of a team that looks as united and confident as any Iowa team since the last one to start 3-0. That team damn near won the Big Ten and took home an Orange Bowl trophy. This one still has a chance.
On Saturday night, I was planning a post that compiled the quickly-accumulating Youtube videos of Koehn's field goal from around Kinnick Stadium. And then I wake up Sunday morning, and Hawkeye Nation had already done it. It might not be plagiarism if you link to it, but it's probably plagiarism if someone else did it first, so go watch the videos there (it's very well done).
Lost in the pandemonium of Saturday's final play was the somewhat-surprising return of Drew Ott and Leshun Daniels, who played in situational roles against Pitt. Ott was in Iowa's Raider package as a pass rusher, while Daniels was the Hawkeyes' short-yardage back.
Desmond King intercepted two passes, but it's Jordan Lomax that is up for the Lott Impact Player of the Week (even if the organizers linked to a Lomax Twitter account that he can't use for another few months).
#KirkSelfies. This "New Ferentz" thing is starting to get creepy.
We have confirmation that everyone was OK after the cheerleader dogpile.
ICYMI: we were part of the epic celebration @ Kinnick Except for a few bumps & bruises all are ok!... http://t.co/u18IEtllUz— Iowa Dance Team (@IowaDanceTeam) September 20, 2015
Finally, let's not forget the other awesome part of gameday in Iowa City.
Our Kid Captain Colton Barker had a great time at the game and hung out with his favorite Hawkeye, Jordan Canzeri! pic.twitter.com/DSAtNw39de— UIChildrensHospital (@UIchildrens) September 20, 2015
There's still plenty of time to donate to Touchdowns for Kids and help kids like Colton. Don't forget to get those pledges in.