Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Sept. 26, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on a Monday morning in the Heartland…

Yes. If you’re reading this and thinking it’s Sunday, you could be late for work. Sorry, but Mark Hankins’ UI men’s golf squad bumped me yesterday. Now, as I think about this a little more, I believe the Hawkeyes can bump me every week if they keep playing that devil of a game like they have since Mark arrived.

Kudos to those who participated in the “Green Out” of Kinnick Stadium last Saturday. You did a good thing…a really good thing. And, speaking of coloring Kinnick, here’s the first of many reminders to fans attending Iowa’s game against Northwestern on Oct. 15 – the inaugural ANF Day at historic Kinnick Stadium presented by the Iowa Farm Bureau: If your seat at the game is in an even numbered section of Kinnick, you wear gold. If you’re sitting in an odd numbered section of our grand football facility, you wear black. We had great participation in last year’s first Black and Gold Spirit Game. This year we’re shooting for 100 percent participation.


Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, I don’t really think running the two-minute drill in your opening drive is anything truly new for Kirk or Ken, but I have to admit it was fun to see and yes, indeed, James Vandenberg truly looks comfortable running that show. As Gary or Ed noted during their post-game chat, it’s just one more thing that has to be addressed by – at a minimum – eight Big Ten Conference defensive coordinators. That’s a good thing.

The UI, University of Nebraska, the Iowa and Nebraska chapters of the American Red Cross and Hy-Vee are now accepting nominations for the Iowa and Nebraska “citizen heroes” to be honored at the inaugural Heroes Game presented by Hy-Vee in late November in Lincoln. Don’t be shy. Nominate someone you believe to be deserving. You can do so online by clicking HERE.

I’m expecting to learn sometime today that Iowa’s game at Penn State is a 2:30 p.m. Iowa time start. Remember, gone are the days that ABC owned this “television window” exclusively. BTN now has the opportunity to showcase a pair of Big Ten teams at that desirable time of day.

You know, if you’re still in need of a ticket to a home game of the Hawkeyes or if you have a group that would like to attend a game this year, give Bravo Sports Marketing a call. Bravo is the UI Athletics Department’s partner on “Hawkeye Village,” our game-day corporate and group hospitality space. We got a late start on sales this year because of the relocation of Hawkeye Village as a result of the parking lot being built in the space where Grant Field – the long-time home of Hawkeye Village – once stood, so we have some tickets that can be purchased for use by individuals or groups. Here’s the number to call: 319-626-8286. You can also check out what’s available online by clicking HERE. Bravo also sells officially licensed merchandise including the popular “ANF” t-shirts and the official t-shirts for the Black and Gold Spirit Game.

The UI, University of Nebraska, the Iowa and Nebraska chapters of the American Red Cross and Hy-Vee are now accepting nominations for the Iowa and Nebraska “citizen heroes” to be honored at the inaugural Heroes Game presented by Hy-Vee in late November in Lincoln. Don’t be shy. Nominate someone you believe to be deserving. You can do so online by clicking HERE.

Hey, how about a tip of the fedora to Ron Rainey and the Iowa women’s soccer team. They went on their first Big Ten road trip last Friday undefeated and came home undefeated, racking up win No. 10 against Indiana on Friday before gritting out a 1-1 tie at Purdue on Sunday’s matinee on the Big Ten Network. You can read about this talented group of Hawkeyes HERE and you can watch them Friday night at the Iowa Soccer Complex when they entertain Michigan at 7 p.m.

The UI rededicated Carver-Hawkeye Arena on last Friday afternoon. It was another great event witnessed by at least 700 friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes who filled to beyond capacity the Feller Club Room inside the new Dale and Marilyn Howard Family Pavilion. What I liked most was the fact that there was a theme to recognize the old while celebrating the new. Carver-Hawkeye Arena is still today one of the very best places in the country to watch a basketball game or wrestling event. However, we desperately needed what was built inside the Howard Family Pavilion. Collectively, those spaces – the practice gym, the remarkable strength and conditioning space, the meeting rooms and locker rooms and expanded Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, are – as Lisa Bluder and Matt Gatens so appropriately noted during their remarks – difference-makers. You can read about the rededication event HERE.

I also appreciated the remarks of our president, Sally Mason, particularly this one: “New and renovated facilities aren’t luxuries. They are part and parcel of what we are charged to do.” It’s true. Whether it’s a new practice gym or a new children’s hospital or a new dormitory or new space to study biomedical engineering, the coaches, staff, faculty and students of the UI are only as good as the tools the are provided. The revitalized Carver-Hawkeye Arena is tool that will make our student-athletes better students, better athletes and better contributors to our community. So, if you were one of the more than 700 who pledged financial support of the project, here’s a tip of the fedora to you.

Each month our staff gathers for what is known as the “All Staff” meeting. It’s a pretty impressive sight: All of our coaching staff and support staff and administrators gather to hear straight from the boss – Gary Barta – what’s going on. We also get to hear from one of our student-athletes. This month’s speaker was, like all before her, delightful and talented. She also had a rather unique wrinkle to the story she got to tell. You can read about it HERE.

I don’t know about you – and, remember, I’m not a coach – but I’m less concerned about depth at running back today after having seen what I saw last Saturday. Damon Bullock and Jordan Canzeri both have motors. Sure, it would be good for both of them to have more than single-digit carries under their belt as we head into what promises to be another exciting Big Ten season – you can read George Wine’s thoughts on that subject HERE– but have you noticed lately how many freshmen are playing and contributing for the Hawkeyes and across the country? As Kirk said Saturday, “We’re playing to win today. All hands on deck.”

Here’s another reminder to order your 2011-12 men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and/or wrestling season tickets. All three teams would love to have you in the seats in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and season tickets continue to offer excellent entertainment value. You can make your purchase online HERE or over the phone at 1-800 IA-HAWKS.

Speaking of Fran’s program, here’s something to add to your calendar for the Iowa-Northwestern game day: Fran will be moving his team’s first practice of the 2011-12 season out of his new practice facility and onto the main floor of Carver for fans of the Hawkeyes to enjoy. It’s one of a variety of activities we’re planning for the day given the fact that kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and we’d like fans who begin their tailgating early to have a few “alternatives” during long day. We’ll announce the exact start and finish times for the practice and other details of the day later this week.

Gary passed on to me the other day a really nice note from a fan about the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital’s Kid Captain program. That program is a winner (So, too, for very different reasons, is the Honorary Captain program). There are so many great things happening to young and old alike right across the street from Kinnick. To read about last Saturday’s Kid Captain, click HERE. And, I encourage you to watch the video that’s available behind the link at the bottom of the story.

Go Hawks!