Aug. 8, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Random thoughts on a Sunday morning in August in the Heartland…
Strange goings on predicted for Iowa this week. After a brutal July that saw day after day of 90 degree temperatures paired with rainforest-like humidity, the weatherman is predicting high 70s for a good chunk of the second full week of August. Good stuff for everyone including the guys who are working hard on the Kenyon Practice Field.
The good news from the golf course? Didn’t fall further behind this week in the summertime challenge with my son. The bad news from the golf course? Didn’t get to swing the clubs this week. Got to fix that.
It was absolutely wonderful to see Hayden and Shirley last week. As I said at the top of the media event that introduced the partnership between the UI Athletics Department and the Iowa Farm Bureau, I personally was experiencing a pretty fun week: The previous Friday I met a living legend in Nebraska’s Tom Osborne and this week I shared the podium with one of the finest ever to call Iowa City home, Coach Fry. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As always, Hayden had a few stories to tell but, make no mistake, his admiration for those whose workdays typically begin at sunrise and usually don’t end until sunset or, during harvest time, well after sunset, is real and heartfelt. He truly believes in what ANF stood for 26 years ago and today. To read more about the UI’s partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau that is anchored in the message, “America Needs Farmers,” click HERE.
As always, Hayden had a few stories to tell but, make no mistake, his admiration for those whose workdays typically begin at sunrise and usually don’t end until sunset or, during harvest time, well after sunset, is real and heartfelt. He truly believes in what ANF stood for 26 years ago and today.
Friday was also another big day for Fry’s predecessor, Kirk Ferentz. As always, Kirk was wonderful and candid and entertaining during his annual season-opening briefing with the media. And, as always, he was optimistic about the fortunes for his Hawkeyes. “It’s a new year for us. We’ve got a new team and new opportunities in front of us. I’m sure we’ll have new challenges as well. We’re really eager to get going,” he told the more than 100 local, regional and national media that assembled in Iowa City on Friday. “We’ve got a lot of moving parts and we’ll have a lot of moving parts through the month of August. My guess is it’s a little like ’08, we may have some moving parts into September as well.”
I’m going to state the obvious here and suggest that lots of eyes will be on James Vandenberg come early September, but almost the same number will be watching wide receiver Keenan Davis closely, too.
Kirk made me chuckle when he suggested that he wasn’t doing a lot of thinking about the nine game schedule the Big Ten will begin playing six years from now. “Two things: It’s not a long ways off. It’s a real long ways off. Six years is like a lifetime in football. By that time we may have 20 teams in our conference the way college football’s going right now, so I’m not too worried about it,” Kirk suggested.
As entertaining as he always is, there are always a few good nuggets in Hayden’s comments and among them Friday was this: He suggested his team’s 10-7 victory over Nebraska to open the 1981 season was in good measure a result of the Cornhuskers having too much pride to make a necessary change on defense. My read was this: If you rest on your laurels or refuse to adjust to the changes around you, you’ll quickly be following those who have been in your rear view mirror.
I’m eager to get back to the office in the revitalized Carver-Hawkeye Arena tomorrow. I dropped off a few boxes in the new digs a little more than a week ago then left for meetings in Chicago and a little more. From what I was told by a few staff on Friday, the place is remarkable. Kudos to all involved.
Lastly, Kirk, as always, had lots to talk about at his media day visit with the media including a nice update on Norm Parker, Iowa’s beloved defensive coordinator. You can read about that and much more HERE