The Young Guns

Sept. 2, 2006

The unofficial spokesperson for college basketball calls `em “Diaper Dandies.” Many of the 70,500-plus that filled to capacity historic Kinnick Stadium Saturday went scurrying for their game program or turned to their neighbor and asked, “Now, exactly who was that?”

Austin Signor. Dominique Douglas. Anthony Bowman. Rafael Eubanks. A.J. Edds. Hawkeye fans, meet the future that became the present Saturday when the nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes rolled to a 41-7 season-opening victory over Montana on Varsity Club Day.

Signor, a redshirt freshman from Urbandale, subbed for starting placekicker Kyle Schlicher, who was sat comfortably on the sidelines nursing an injury. Signor seized the opportunity, nailing five PATs, field goals of 41 and 35 yards and consistently drove the Grizzlies’ kick return men into the freshly painted Kinnick Stadium end zones.

Douglas caught three passes for 45 yards and his first touchdown as a collegian.

Eubanks anchored an offensive line that provided plenty of protection for quarterback Drew Tate and enough of a push up front to enable Iowa’s rushing total to reach 166 yards, 93 of which coming via 19 carries by Albert Young, who also caught four passes.

Bowman and Edds saw the playing field inside Iowa’s newly-renovated stadium, but didn’t record any statistics.

“I thought they all represented themselves well,” said UI Coach Kirk Ferentz. “The coaching staff saw early in pre-season practice what Dominique brought to the football field.”

Tate was impressed with “Dougie Fresh.”

“He’s fresh, he’s smooth. He lets the game come to him. He’s really smooth. He came back really nice on that one pass down the right sideline,” said Tate, who also praised the work of his new center.

“I was excited with Rafael. We had a good clean day, no problems with the exchanges and we’ve been dropping one or two a day in practice,” Tate said of Eubanks.

As pleased as Ferentz was with the performance of his youngsters, he reminded all willing to listen that there was a downside in playing freshmen. “They’re just as likely to miss an assignment as make a superb play. When you choose to play them, you know that possibility is part of the equation,” said Ferentz.

“We were really pleased with how Austin performed. I was a little nervous about his consistency. When he hits it, he hits it well. When he doesn’t….” Ferentz said.