Dec. 30, 2009
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following first appeared in the Dec. 29 edition of the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, a free daily e-newsletter. For more information about the UI’s OSR, click HERE.
MIAMI —There were several rust-colored blazers at the first outdoor practice for the University of Iowa football team Monday afternoon at Barry University. As the No. 10 Hawkeyes ventured outside for the first time in more than a month, Shawn Crews, a member of the board of directors for the FedEx Orange Bowl, was on hand with a few of his cohorts.
“It was sort of a no-brainer to have you guys down here,” Crews said. “We’re thrilled. We have a lot of great, strong relationships with the University of Iowa. We’ve been doing this for 75 years, so we feel we have everything in order and we selected the perfect team. The weather’s not bad, either. It’s a little change from Iowa.”
Oh yes, the weather. Locals are a bit irritable about a chilly spell that `lowered’ the mercury to 74 degrees Monday in Miami, with an expected high of 69 on Tuesday. That’s just fine for the Hawkeyes, who left behind snow and cold in Iowa City.
“I have a jacket on and it’s not just to show off the orange,” Crews said. “It’s a little cool. It’s supposed to get into the low 50s or high 40s tonight; for us, that’s a little cool. You guys were coming off the plane (Sunday) night and everybody was taking off their sweats.”
Crews said that when the University of Iowa traveled to Miami for its site visit early in December, there was a 100-degree difference in temperature between the two locales. While it was negative 12 in Iowa City, it was 88 in Miami.
“It was sort of a no-brainer to have you guys down here. We’re thrilled. We have a lot of great, strong relationships with the University of Iowa. We’ve been doing this for 75 years, so we feel we have everything in order and we selected the perfect team. The weather’s not bad, either. It’s a little change from Iowa.”
Shawn Crews, Orange Bowl Committee
“We want to bring Iowa fans down to this community and really show off south Florida,” Crews said.
Weather is one of the perks of participating in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Facilities are another. Crews raved about the luscious grass practice surfaces loaned out by Division II Barry University.
“You’ve seen the fields, it’s a phenomenal facility,” Crews said. “One of our board members — Mike Covone — is the AD here.”
UI wide receivers and tight ends coach Erik Campbell is thankful to get back outdoors.
“We can throw the ball deep now and at the same time catch punts and just get back out on the grass,” Campbell said. “We want to get the guys used to playing on grass again and get used to the heat. That’s the biggest adjustment you have to make when you get to a bowl game.”
The Hawkeyes will return to Barry University this afternoon for their second of six pre-FedEx Orange Bowl practices. Iowa plays No. 9 Georgia Tech (11-2), champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
“If you stay focused and detailed and try to get better every play in practice, the game will take care of itself,” Campbell said. “Our first practice went as expected. It was the first time in the heat and out in the sun…the wind was blowing. We had a little difficulty getting adjusted, but we’ll be better (on Tuesday).”
Iowa is 10-2 this season and will try to win its second consecutive bowl game after defeating South Carolina, 31-10, in the 2009 Outback Bowl.