Iowa Football

Iowa football #PaintedTower mailbag: What will Kirk Ferentz's final win total be?

Took a crack at that, probably whiffed; Lambeau Leap meet Hawkeye Hop

Hey, welcome to the #PaintedTower. Instead of celebrating alleged flatulence from seven years ago (RIP, #MusterOneUp), let’s celebrate the fact that Iowa finally got the water tower thing right.

We’re here. The season has landed. You guys have a ton of questions. I hope to offer a few answers and, oh yeah, a few educated guesses. (I also will toss in a sample of the #GoodTimeyRadioHour, if I’m in the office that late and I know I will be, so a little temporary madness won’t hurt anyone.)

Now, the QB yells “set” and we all run into each other.

Derek out of the gate with a simple and yet complex question. Basically, when is Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz going to retire?

I’ve been on a 2019 kick, year after this one. The Nate Stanley wave should lead to possibilities. Yes, he throws for 3,000-plus yards and another 26 TDs with a low number of turnovers and maybe that ends after this season (happily, more than likely).

The D-line should have some super powers the next two seasons. Getting the O-line/running game to standard is what I’m wondering about, but let’s give it a chance to show us what it is in 2018.

Iowa has a young roster that should learn, grow and improve each season. If everything breaks right, the Hawkeyes could make an Indy run in 2019. I cop to looking at the best possibilities. We are talking KF departure. Everyone wants to go out with a shoulder ride.

So, 143 + ... 19 = 162. (That would tie him with Joe Paterno.)

Great start, Derek. Smart, simple question. Like it was made for me.

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This won’t be a fun question, Josh, but we all probably need to hear an answer.

I believe every college football staff is on high alert with everything that went down at Maryland in the offseason and the death of Jordan McNair. And they need to be. This will change the face of Maryland football forever. I can’t picture a Maryland football practice without emergency medical personnel on hand who can cut into any drill at any moment and add a level of checks and balances.

Why do college football programs have to learn this lesson at such a grave expense? These are extremely closed environments. They generally lack third-party scrutiny. Let’s fix that.

Iowa has learned lessons. The sexual assault scandal that rocked the UI in 2007 and rhabdo in 2011 were horrific, and it really feels trite calling them “lessons.” I don’t mean to siphon any seriousness. Lives were changed forever. I do believe Iowa has thoroughly reviewed those situations and has done a lot of the work it needed to do to make sure they don’t happen again.

We were just talking about dismount time for KF. I don’t know where his heart is, but I’d be guarding my legacy with Daenerys’ dragons from Games of Thrones.

That said, no guarantees. Still, with rhabdo (13 players were hospitalized), there’s recency and if Iowa is punishing players with extra workouts, that’s a dangerous game. I wouldn’t do it. I can’t see anyone taking that risk, unless it’s very, very controlled and more to get the player’s attention and not to actually punish them. Fine line to think about, isn’t it?

I like your thoughts on isolation, Josh. And nothing cruel, just not with the team when it’s time to be the team in the complex.

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I always loved how Kinnick’s end zones went right down to the field. The north end zone renovation ended that (it was going to happen at some point, surprised Iowa was able to hold off on that as long as it did).

The NEZ does have “Lambeau Leap” potential (and, I’m sorry, I know most of you are Bears fans).

First, that’s going to be a 15-yarder, so no one will do it.

But if we’re playing fantasy football, you know it’d be tight end Noah Fant. He “rowed the boat” against the Gophs last season. He’s also certainly athletic enough to make that leap.

Hawkeye Hop?

This question caught my eye because I have no idea. Did some Google-nauting and found a really great link on the topic from NCAA.com. Here it is.

I’ve looked just about everywhere and I can find no definitive numbers on Iowa and 2-point conversions. I’m kind of shocked. So, we’ll just have to keep those along with QB hits and hurries. Honestly astounded here. Sorry, man.

Just because you don’t see Kirk Ferentz throwing his headphones or punching a Powerade jug doesn’t mean he isn’t churning.

This question fits well with the centerpiece. I talked with former Hawkeyes Matt Bowen and Jay Bickford (I want to tell it as an “as told,” I want to try to present you their unvarnished thoughts, I think you’ll dig it.)

Ferentz rides poise and resiliency to and through conflicts. That’s just his way. Yes, it is probably the biggest difference between Ferentz and Hayden Fry. And, boy, it’s probably frustrating for you guys when your team seems to be emotionally constipated and you see KF doing the twirly finger thing.

(Why doesn’t Ferentz have a staff full of future head coaches? Hayden preached the big ideas and found coaches who bought into that. Ferentz is a details guy. Focused on steps. Of course, he’s going to spawn teachers, and if you drill down, I think you’ll find a lot of his former players engaged with football on a more intimate level.)

Ferentz — and now that’s really Iowa, right? — has been consistent in this. Yes, he goes after officials, but when the team is stuck, when the team is headed into Beaver Stadium in 2009 for a revenge match against Penn State, the focus on what’s in front of them pulls the Hawkeyes through. Not all of the time, but I think in some of the big moments, that’s the invisible hand at work.

There’s a fine line between Bo Pelini in 2013 at Nebraska and “chicken bleeping” officials and punching walls and being an effective communicator in pressure situations.

Fire is fine. Smart is good, too, and I believe that’s the differentiator among great coaches. It’s not uniform, but Tom Landry was a pretty good coach who didn’t freak out ever (wow, I’m old).

Great question. I hope I at least scored two points on the dartboard.

Excellent observation. Man, Wyoming’s Josh Allen was the most debated QB since ... Manning and Leaf? A Buffalo radio producer quit his job because the Bills drafted Allen.

I think yards per carry, and parse that on down and distance, will be a telling stat. If Iowa can’t come off the ball and effectively move a MAC D-line, it’s probably not a great sign. But you’re right, this is an otherworldly front seven in the MAC. The MAC isn’t the Big Ten. Can Iowa throw its weight around? I expect Iowa’s OL to come straight off the ball with bad intentions. NIU has a lot of pride and wants this to be a street fight, at least according to spectacular D-end Sutton Smith.

Iowa is short-handed with the suspensions of OTs Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson.

The Hawkeyes’ OL vs. NIU’s DL is the matchup in the octagon. I picked Iowa to persevere, but in 2012, an Iowa OL with some superheroes on it (Brandon Scherff, a very young Austin Blythe, James Ferentz) allowed six sacks vs. NIU. Also, remember North Dakota State 2016? James Daniels and Sean Welsh missed that game. Iowa couldn’t pull through.

The Bat signal is up.

McCann (2001)

Tate (2005)

Christensen (2008)

Stanzi (2010)

Vandenburg (2012)

Rudock (2014)

Beathard (2016)

Stanzi.

When asked this with Stanley, I always default to Ricky Stanzi. Not because their games are similar, but they’re both big cats. Stanzi left Iowa at 6-5, 230-something. I asked Stanley on Tuesday if he lost a little weight. He said he gained a few (6-4, 242) and credited strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle for changing his body.

Skills-wise? Maybe James Vandenberg. Big, strong arm and can make all of the throws. You guys put 2012 on Vandenberg’s lap. I disagree. New offense and a real deficit at the skill positions didn’t help him.

Too late. Kidding.

Dan added a link to that week’s schedule. Click, reading ... 10 percent? (Thanks for the link, Dan.)

Here’s how I would rank it: 1) Texas A&M at Alabama, 2) Clemson at Georgia Tech, 3) Stanford at Oregon, 4) TCU at Texas and then 5) Wisconsin at Iowa.

Probably not great for GameDay, but Iowa’s odds of landing that are usually less than a digit (number of TV sets, what games can the networks hype to a wide range of fans).

Two more:

I think this goes without saying. I wonder if his family will be on the sideline. He’s been steadfastly underplaying this, so maybe not.

And I remember who Buddy Lee was.

I struggle with extracting bulletin board material anymore. I used to freak out and pump that out there like loud music from The Clash. Now? I think it makes like look like an advocate for Iowa. That’s not what I’m shooting for. Also, I’ve had enough static and distance in this biz. That’s just me. In the last few years, I’ve underplayed that.

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That said, this Smith deal is news. And if you’re Iowa and that’s said about you? Paste it up in the weightroom. Whatever works.

Morning Delight was good. I’m kinda done chasing beer. If I can hop in for a quick IPA-ish thingie on my way home from work, that’s what I’m going to do. Cedar Rapids is built for that.

Sorry, I didn’t get to everyone. Please, please, please, keep coming back. I’ll spread the love.

***

And now, a sampling of #GoodTimeyRadioHour

— Dolph just introduced “Dave Walton from Wilton.” Dave is the president of the Iowa Soybean Association and is a farmer.

Dolph is in good voice tonight. He’s talking about 9 billion people living on earth. He’s been to 90 Phish shows, you know.

— Water and ribs at the Iowa Soybeans tailgater. Dolph said he’d drink another beverage with ribs. I’m mentally high-fiving the man.

— I did see that Iowa State’s radio show is cutting out the call-in portion. I think that’s smart. It just led to painfully awkward moments and some pretty pointed heat thrown at the coaches. It’s proactive PR. I also think the call-in parts of these shows have had their time.

But I’m sure glad Iowa does it. I’ll hang for one and then it’s #BeerOClock.

— I’m not going to promise to do this every week. Good Timey had its time. This feels like some sort of psychedelic flashback. Not a good one.

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— Dolph is talking to beer distributors. Have I told you guys how much I love this radio show?

— Bud Girls will be crashing tailgates this weekend. I’m not touching this.

— Jim is the first caller. I remember Jim. He just sounds like a big dude. I think he’s also a trucker.

Jim was super happy to announce he’s having a grandson in September. Well, he isn’t. That’d be a miracle of medical science, wouldn’t it.

Dolph offers congrats on the grandbaby. Man, I’m starting to be getting close to entering the “grandbaby” blast zone.

I’d say I’m not old, but Graybeard is my pirate name.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.