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November 18, 2012

Weekend Thoughts

This is a first, the weekend thoughts while sitting at the airport waiting for a flight to Cancun. Going to venture a guess and say this won't repeat itself again very soon.

I might term this edition of weekend thoughts or TK's Take's or whatever we are going to call them, the bleary eyed edition because lack of sleep is in full effect.
Let's get to it. Here are ten things I think I think about the world of Hawkeye sports after this weekend.

1. I think I'm ok with Kirk Ferentz pulling the plug on the post press conference presser with the media. If you aren't aware, Ferentz has a tradition of visiting with us after his pressers for a little bit. We can take care of a few housekeeping items and also go into a bit more of a deeper dive into some topics. I always felt that Ferentz was a bit more relaxed in this setting, so it made for a good conversation.

Over the past few years the post presser has gotten shorter and shorter. It used to run between 10-15 minutes. In recent years it's been cut to about five minutes or so each week. After the Peter Gray blow up with the Associated Press reporter last Tuesday, the plug was officially pulled on Saturday when Sports Information Director Steve Roe told us that Kirk would no longer participate in them. That's fine. It's Kirk's right to do as he pleases and frankly, we can ask the questions during the presser, but I do think that the post pressers helped to build a better relationship/understanding between coach and media. Life goes on.

2. I think I'm ready for this football season to end and it will next Friday. I think Iowa fans are ready for it to end. I think Kirk Ferentz is ready for it to end too. After the loss to Michigan, the troubled and frustrated look I've seen in recent weeks was gone. It was a man who now knew his teams' fate this year. There would be no bowl game and that's probably a good thing for this program. I know Ferentz has made quite a few structural changes to his program in the past year or two, something his honest critics should acknowledge if they want to be taken seriously. Now I think Ferentz has to look deeper into his core beliefs and that should start right after Friday's game. They have served him well and been reinforced thanks to his success at Iowa. Football does come down to execution, but there is also more than one way to skin the cat, if you know what I mean.

3. I think the folks clamoring for some recruiting magic bullet from the JUCO ranks are probably going to be disappointed. Could Iowa use a quick infusion of JUCO talent at wide receiver, safety, or defensive end? You bet. One thing you have to keep in mind is Iowa just doesn't have many open spots. The Hawkeyes have 15 verbal commitments and probably only three or four spots open in the Class of 2013. For those who say Iowa doesn't dip into the JUCO ranks enough, they signed two last year, including a quarterback.

4. I think fans should be respectful on Senior Day. I saw what happened to a good kid like Adam Shada when he got booed. I hope that doesn't happen with another terrific young man named James Vandenberg. I think some of you have reached the post rational stage with his play and believe that magically if another quarterback came into the game that it would solve Iowa's woes. Could that happen? Sure. Likely? Not really. Show the young man some respect on Saturday and when he comes out for senior day give him a standing ovation. No one is more disappointed than James about this season, but the kid gave it his best effort this year.

5. I think some of you are missing the big picture on the quarterback situation. First, given the other changes that have been made on both sides of the football, does anyone honestly think that Kirk Ferentz is just holding back at quarterback? The guy wants to win games. End of story. Here's the big picture view from my perspective, my sense is next year's quarterback is redshirting. You certainly don't rip the redshirt off a kid nine or ten games into the year just to get them some snaps and play for the future. That's called wasting a year and many Iowa fans have complained about that happening in the past. Hello C.J. Beathard.

6. I think I was surprised by Fran McCaffery's post game comments last night. I wasn't at the game because I was driving back from Michigan, but I heard them on the radio and the shocking thing was no Mt. Fran blowup at halftime. I spoke with a friend of mine last night at halftime and made a joke that they would have to re-paint the locker room while the team was gone this week because Fran was probably pealing it off the walls. He didn't. He was calm. No red faced Fran in the locker room. I also found it interesting that Fran said he only goes to the red faced locker room mode about once a year and feels if you go to it too often, it loses its impact.

7. I think that until the Iowa basketball team can consistently knock down outside shots, they are going to see a lot of zone, especially against lesser opponents. Until the second half last night, Iowa's best three point shooter, Josh Oglesby, was struggling. Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell are streaky three point shooters. Frankly, Zach McCabe might end up being Iowa's most consistent threat from beyond the arch.

8. I think a pretty young team is going to have halves like they did last night. Let's be honest, this is a young team that starts two true freshmen and a sophomore. There are going to be growing pains along the way, especially as McCaffery tries to define his bench and rotation.

9. I think Fran McCaffery is taking the right approach with the games in Cancun. He said last night, it's a business trip. Sure you want to enjoy the beach and the pool, but Fran's focus is first and foremost on winning two basketball games. I know he is concerned about the trip and activities during the trip because he has a young team, but guys like Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury have traveled a lot during their time in AAU hoops. They won't be overwhelmed.

10. I'm not sure what I think about the Big Ten possibly adding Maryland and Rutgers. The rumor mill really started churning late in the week and over the weekend it really picked up some legitimate steam in the mainstream media. I understand the idea of reaching into the Washington D.C./Baltimore and New York/New Jersey markets from a business perspective. It's going to increase the reach of the Big Ten Network and the brand in general. It's also going to generate more revenue (which by the way will be shared by two more schools). I just wonder when enough will be enough? I think we all need to resign ourselves to the idea that in the future there are going to be super conferences made up of 16 teams.



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