Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:45 pm
Fact #1 - Kirk Ferentz needs to grow a pair. My first thought was with the 20 yard FG was go for it from the 2 yard line. Worst case, ISU has it around their own 1 yard line. I won't fault him for taking the points there though. Where I do fault him is two other plays. 1) The end of regulation with over a minute and two timeouts. We play for overtime. As well as we were stopping the ISU offense, this made no sense. Try for 3 and end it there. 2) Still unable to stop the ISU offense, we go for 3 in the third OT. 4th and 6 might be excuseable. After a 5 yard penalty and 4th and 1, it is not. Go for the first down because again you have not been able to get a stop without a turnover.
Fact #2 - Ken O'Keefe either needs to stop being so predictable with his offense, or let him pursue greener pastures. I heard Indiana was looking at him for their head coaching job last time around. When Iowa was pinned deep it was the predictable run, run, pass that ISU sacked. Just keep pounding the ball and it will eventually get snuffed out. Coker got some big runs, but eventually it died down. This caused Vandenberg to never really get into a rhythm for throwing, just for handing it off. He started making better passes late, but it was too late. The only intelligent thing the FSN commentators were saying the entire game was that we should be throwing it deep to take advantage of the 6 inch height advantage our receivers had on their corners. We tried it once early. It worked. We stopped trying to do it. It's not a normal part of our playbook, and God forbid we try to do something that is working on a given day on that given day.
Fact #3 - Norm Parker needs to adapt or retire. Throughout the game we kept making Steele look better with our pass coverage. The middle is always soft. Anybody in the Big Ten knows that, and that's why we can never win the conference out right. Ferentz is able to recruit high caliber players to cover up for the deficiencies on both sides of the ball. But when we don't cover the middle, and even give receivers a 5+ yard cushion when the ball is on the 4 yard line, we're not going to get many stops. Add that to not knowing how to cover an option, and you're doomed against Steele.
Fact #4 - Kenan Davis dropped an easy ball that would have likely led to a third OT TD. Upset about that too, but can't and won't fault him as much as the coaches that put us in that situation in the first place.
Fact #5 - Steele did show he is the real deal today. He made it a close game, and Iowa coaching put them over the top. He'll make sure Iowa doesn't have an easy time with the Cyclones next year in Iowa City next year too. He could get his team bowl eligible this year, and give the top of the Big 12 some issues. I don't know if they're good enough to do what they did today week after week because we all know ISU gets pumped up more for Iowa than anybody else, but the tools are there to get to probably 7 wins this year. And next year, they should get there and beyond in the Mountain West or where ever they end up.
Congrats ISU, and Iowa get to work. I'm getting a bit worried about our own bowl eligibility right now.
Posted on: February 14, 2009 2:42 pm
I have not regularly watched racing since Mark Martin's final season in 2006. Though, I did catch the 2007 Daytona 500, as I thought it might even be his final chance to win that race. I was devastated when he was passed on the final lap. I thought for sure that the Cubs of NASCAR was at least going to get the Daytona 500 victory that he so deserved that year since he was never able to quite capture the Cup Championship he has always deserved. .02 seconds. That was it, as Harvick passed him by. Second place. Always second place.
I remember my unwarranted anger toward his former teammate (former by just one race) Matt Kenseth, for helping push Harvick past Mark. Mark Martin, a true class act. A man that must be a great teammate. A man that would have still helped Kenseth push past Harvick had the roles been reversed. Kenseth goes and pushes Harvick past Martin. He helps Harvick. He stabs Martin in the back. And, so perhaps my anger is still there.
Damn overtime rules. Damn green, white, checker. Years ago, that race belonged to Mark. Mark won the Daytona 500. Mark failed to win the Daytona 505. The things NASCAR has done over recent years that have ruined the purity of the races are numerous as they try to keep the popularity they suddenly gained in the '90s. Whether it be green, white, checker or their new tendency to call cautions for no reason just to get the pack closer together and sometimes seemingly just to get golden boys Jimmie Johnson or Junior closer to the front. Or the horrible Chase. A points system that worked for decades is no longer good enough.
True, this Chase nearly helped Martin in 2002, but he's been second place before this wretched system ('98, '94, and '90), and he has finished in the top 10 in points in every year he has raced a full season since 1989 except 2001 and 2003. He returned to fourth place finishes in 04 and 05, shutting up all those who thought he was over the hill. And he was winning the standings when his 'retirement' became official in 2007. How I wished he would change his mind. The full time 8 ride was offered to him, and he turned it down. He stuck to his guns.
But now he's back. He's starting the Daytona 500 second. Kind of where he left off really. And I am back, paying attention to NASCAR. More importantly, paying attention to Mark's final season. Hoping he can get both, that Daytona 500 victory, and the Cup Championship that he deserves before his racing days, and my watching days, are done.
#6 - Forever.
Posted on: October 9, 2008 1:05 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2008 1:05 pm
What an amazing year we're having here in Iowa City. Our Hawkeyes are the surprise of the Big 10 at 6-0. I'm just amazed at the way this team is playing even with the QB competition that was played out throughout the Pittsburgh game.
Thankfully Ferentz realized that Ricky Stanzi truly was the Manzi and kept him in for the second half at Pitt. I know they were tempted to bench him at the end of the first half after he tried to get the first down and keep the momentum going, but he was merely trying to win and I don't think he truly realized the coaches were telling him to change plans. But he didn't throw it away and damn near got that first down. He showed some nice poise in his attempt. And the momentum kept flowing through him in the second half. I think Jake Christensen was 2/8 in the first half of that game which is far worse than anything Stanzi did in the first half. Stanzi was the best chance to win that game. Who knows what Jake would have done had he played the second half? Maybe trip over his own feet and fumble away our last hope?
And Shonn Greene. How amazing as he been for us this year? Taking a running game that has been hampered by youth and injuries as of late, and making it the domination of our game. Also a key is mixing it in with some more passing. There has been some greater play variety this year opening up the running lanes for Greene. It's still not perfect, and a little predictable, but not nearly as bad as last year. If we would have stopped giving him the ball so much in the second half of that Pitt game, things could have gone a different way.
Then there was that amazing Homecoming game against Northwestern. We jumped out of the gate quick, but were hampered by alot of turnovers. Yet we still pulled it out. Stanzi made a name for himself in Iowa Hawkeye legend by leading the team down the field. He got us to first and goal down those 5 points. He gave us the chance, 4 plays for a touchdown. And I admire the playcalling again. The coaches weren't afraid to run the ball even with Greene knocked silly for the game. They shocked the Northwestern defense with the Hampton run on third down and he pounded it down to the half yard line for Stanzi to sneak it in on 4th down. What an exciting win. Made me a little sad that that was the first home game I couldn't be at in 2 years.
Then, Michigan State on the road. Already with one of our rare road victories under our belt this year, we went into East Lansing with a mission. Things were a little rocky for Stanzi at the start. A pair of fumbles and a horrible PI no call in our red zone that caused a pick, but we were still in this game. I admire Ferentz for going for it on fourth down when we were borderline out of range. Missing that try wasn't a big deal. I also like how he went back out there on the 20 with the offense on another 4th and 1, but was smart enough to call the timeout when he didn't like what he saw from the Spartan defense. And then he smartly sent out the FG unit to tie it. Then the defense stepped up huge in OT, stopping the Spartans from scoring and then Greene just ran it into the end zone when all we were trying to do was set up the FG. The excitement is just too much for me to handle right now. I cannot wait for the trip to Indiana this weekend. If we can beat Pitt and MSU on the road, Indiana shouldn't be a problem.
Now I ask: Kirk and his league of assistant, would that have been so difficult? These losses can all be pinpointed on your horrible decision making.
I'm sure before this, we remember the other 10 win seasons. The BCS Bowl (I won't mention how badly we lost). The way Ferentz built up the program. But I'm starting to see this as a fluke. The decline from those days. The recruiting has fallen, the results have fallen, the coaching decisions have fallen. We lost the core of those good players between 2004 and 2005 and were unable to replace them. We lost to Western Michigan last year costing us even a Motor City berth. For the money Ferentz is getting, we should be a BCS threat every year like Tressel's Buckeyes. Or we should at least be improving and be doing alot more with what we have than we should like Rodriguez's Wolverines are beginning to do. It's just his first year with a team in shambles and they managed to beat Wisconsin this year.
I'll give Ferentz until some time next year before I call for his job. I've seem glimmers of hope from the players, and I'll let him live off of his past success until then to make up for his coaching gaffes. If we have this same start next year, we need to cut the losses and realize we should have hired Stoops when we had the chance. Actually, I've already realized that, but I'm trying to make do with what we have.
Posted on: October 5, 2008 6:28 pm
I'm sitting here watching some football and some ALDS action between the White Sox and Rays, and I'm noticing something in the latter. The Sox fans, formerly famous for only going to the park for wins are actually cheering their team. Down two games to none, down 1-0 in the game, the Sox fans cheer their team to a now 4-1 lead. They support their team.
This season the support at Wrigley was very apparent throughout most of the year. There was a skid or two where some boos rained down, but for the most part it was a good year. The year hit it's climax on September 20, a game I was actually at. The Cubs clinched the division with a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. I taped the clinching moment on my camera, the excitement afterwards, and some of the postgame celebration down by the diamond. The support was there. It was magical, the Cubs were going to go far this year.
Then the NLDS started. DeRosa homered in the second to put the Cubs up 2-0. The magic was there, the fan support was there. But then, the moment things turn bad, the support is gone. Boos start to pour on to the team. A team that has 100 years of pressure put on them by the media, the city of Chicago, and (unfortunately) some of the fans as well. I don't care if this is a 97 win team. Booing is not going to relax this team. Booing is going to put more pressure in their minds. It's bad enough Soriano is going to strike out swininging on 3 pitches in every postseason at bat no matter what, but now we're causing other players to do it too.
The booing continued into game 2. Listening to the entire game, there was always a faint booing in the background. It grew stronger as Lee and DeRosa made errors. It grew stronger as we fell further and further behind. A team that just 2 weeks ago scored 4 times with 2 outs and nobody on in the 9th to force extras against the Brewers (another playoff team), and the fans forgot that. Those in Wrigley forgot that a comeback like that was possible for these Cubs. Instead they booed.
We helped feed the media. Their calls of curses and jinxes increased, when really all it has been to cause our 100 year drought was aging players, poor play, poor ownership, and more poor play. Now we had ownership that was trying to win to help sell the team at a higher price, players that were good and playing extremely well, and the best record in the National League this year. But the fans expected to not let go a run the entire year. They expected too much and the booing then caused the players to try to do too much. It seemed the only players that could keep composure through it were Lee and Sean Marshall of all people. Relying on these two wasn't going to be enough.
How can we expect to win when we do this to our own team at home? Home field advantage is the worst thing we could get in the playoffs when that is our fans' behavior. How can we expect to remain successful in the future? When contracts run up, or free agents look at the Cubs, why should we expect them to play for us when we treat our players so horribly? Why do we deserve to win when we boo so loudly at our own playoff team? Why do we deserve the good players to come help us end our drought? Until these Cubs fans that were booing throughout the game at Wrigley or on their couches at home shape up, we don't. We deserve being swept in round 1 every year until the fans become less selfish, ignorant, and greedy and become true fans.
I never thought I'd see the day when White Sox fans were better baseball fans than my fellow Cub fan, but that day has come today. I am ashamed.
Lou, Jim, and company: Please ignore these other Cubs fans. Their behavior is dispicable and wrong, but they obviously don't know any better. Please continue to improve this team. Give us another chance