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Home / 3 and Out: Some perspective
1. These guys aren't faceless commodities - I really try to run the On Iowa business with the mindset that, yes, these are college kids and there's no reason to rub their face in bad individual performances. They know bad. That's not saying I'm going to avoid what needs to be written. I though QB Jake Rudock's interception last week was horrible. Guard Jordan Walsh blew the protection that led to the sack/fumble. Linebacker Josey Jewell would be the first to tell you he needed to shed blocks better against the jet sweep last week.
The performances are out there to be judged. That's how this works. I try to do it without the helping of hyperbole. I try to remind myself that these guys are not faceless commodities. They are kids and people, brothers and sons and, generally, a lot of fun to be around.
I received an email from Jake Raecker, a UI student, a few weeks back. I asked him for permission to use this terrific story. Please read and reflect. I'm not trying to change behavior here. I'm not that naive. Just a little something to think about for the next time we all get so worked up.
This is not a planted email, in case you're suspicious.
As I've listened to various podcasts this week leading up to the Indiana game, there has obviously been much discussion concerning the QB 'controversy” that Iowa currently has. In a lot of what I've listened to (OnIowa & HN) there have been multiple references to the 2001 game versus Michigan and the play of Kyle McCann with Brad Banks as the back up. I really like how everyone has stated the obvious and said how these situations are different (2 different types of QB now vs. then), and also how they are the same (everyone's favorite position is backup QB).
Knowing that Jake Ruddock will be the starter on Saturday, people will get frustrated and call for CJ at the first sign of struggle or one too many check downs by Jake. I'm concerned as to how the fan base will react to this and here is why.
This is my story of the 2001 game v. Michigan and I think people should hear it to give them some perspective on Iowa Football.
During the 2001 season I was in grade school and absolutely worshipped everything about Iowa football, specifically the players. Before the Michigan game my Dad and I were tailgating in a lot on Melrose and were chatting it up with the people who parked next to us. After a few minutes of chitchat, they told us that they were the parents of Iowa quarterback, Kyle McCann. Imagine how thrilled this made me to think that I was meeting the parents of someone who I loved so much! They said that if we were planning on tailgating after the game, Kyle would stop by and would be happy to take a picture or sign anything for me.
I could barely contain myself during the game because for one, Iowa was about to take down Michigan, and two, I was going to meet the QB after the game! Things couldn't have been working out better …. then the wheels fell off and we all know what happened. Although I was young at the time, I distinctly remember people saying horrible things about McCann, more so than the coaching staff, and the boo birds were out in full force with Iowa eventually losing the game.
We went back to the parking lot after the game and I was still excited to meet Kyle, but his parents said that after a loss he usually doesn't come back to the tailgate for a few hours. Thankfully for an excited young fan, my dad said we could stay as long as it took, and hours later my dad and I along with the McCanns were the only people left in the lot. When Kyle came, I remember how excited I was but I also remember how deflated he looked as he walked up and greeted his parents. His parents introduced me to their son, and I asked him to throw me a deep ball in the parking lot, and that ball sailing through the air and into my hands is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. He absolutely made my day, and think that situation along with countless other positive game day experiences is why I love Iowa football.
Looking back on that situation today as a 22-year-old, I can't put myself in his shoes and imagine how it must have felt to have 70,000+ bearing down on you like that. It just doesn't seem right, I guess. But with a similar situation at QB this Saturday and a multitude of possibilities for how things could shake out, I just want everybody to support whoever is playing and get loud for the defense that has played so well this season.
Since the ‘01 game has been mentioned so frequently, I just felt I had to share this story with someone. Thanks for the time.
2. And then the people who get paid
- When you sign a contract to coach major college football, you know what it means. You sign knowing that if things come together there will be adulation and, hey!, another and likely more lucrative contract. On the flip side of that, you know there will be static, noise in the system and all of that, too.
An Illinois journalist at Big Ten media days this summer, asked Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz about Illinois head coach Tim Beckman and his situation, which is the first name that comes up in regard to the Big Ten Conference and 'hot seat.” Since this question, Michigan had imploded, so it's either Beckman or Brady Hoke depending on who you ask.
'There is no magic formula,” Ferentz said. 'There is no circumstance that is exactly the same. I was talking to someone, we had a recruit on campus this past weekend who had just come back from Virginia Tech. I think coach [Frank] Beamer has been there 27 years. I was at Maine when he was getting started. They barely beat us on a lineman. They were on the ropes. I really to this day believe if coach Beamer wasn't a Virginia Tech grad, he would've been gone. For whatever reason, they gave him another year and the rest is history.
'Every situation is very different. We live in an era where it's not ‘win today,' it's ‘what are you going to do tomorrow?' ‘What are you going to do for us tomorrow?' I think all you have to do is look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They've had three coaches since '68. You've got to try to build something, and to do that, it takes time and patience. That's a ‘warm front, cold front' situation. As a coach, all you can do is try to do your best and ask everybody around you to do the same thing. Basically, the breakthrough happens whenever it's going to happen. It might three years, it might be five, it might be two. Some people have done it in one year. There are no magic formulas. There's no set pattern for it.”
3. And Beckman's situation
- Beckman is in the third year of a five-year deal that pays him $1.8 million through the 2016 season.
Is three years enough? Well, it seems like three years is the magic number as far as coaching regimes go in college football. You get three years, and if you don't show marked improvement, you're likely toast.
Is this relatable to Iowa? Probably, at least as far as the offense is concerned. Here's more from that interview this summer with Ferentz. Is three years enough?
'That depends on your administration, that depends on the world you're living in,” Ferentz said. 'I'll never be an administrator, I can't envision that, but if I were, I've always wondered in the NFL why some smart owner just didn't look at what the Steelers did and say, ‘Hey, let's model our organization after theirs.' The Steelers had some bad years with Chuck Noll and they had some bad years with Cowher and they've had some bad years currently with coach Tomlin, but they don't panic. They work through their issues. They try to improve and get better.
'What we do is very competitive. If there was a team in the NFL that got 15 No. 1 picks every year, chances are they'd probably win more than the other teams. There are some colleges that are like that. If you're not at one of those places, then you better be prepared to have some ebb and flow. That's the nature of what we do.
'Me personally, I don't think changing clothes is the answer. We went 1-10 my first year. I tried a different tie every week and it didn't help. Did not help. It's more about what's going on. That ain't gonna sell in today's world. Even if it works, it ain't gonna sell.”
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