Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Oct. 23, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Random thoughts on a sunny Sunday in the Heartland…

We’ll open with a little, as Kirk sometimes notes, “clean up.” Last week I noted – incorrectly – that Iowa’s talented senior outside linebacker Tyler Nielsen was a product of Iowa Falls. Well, truth be told, Tyler is a product of Humboldt and Joe Forgy – whose name appears immediately above Nielsen on our two-deep – is from Iowa Falls.


I think I’ve referenced our department’s monthly “All-Staff” meeting here before. We get an update from Gary (Barta, the boss) on all that is going on plus a little from each head coach who has a sport in competition and – the best part – a brief presentation from one of the more than 650 student-athletes currently wearing with pride the black and gold of the Iowa Hawkeyes. This month it was senior defensive tackle Mike Daniels who paid the staff a visit. He was very impressive but that’s not surprising. All of them are. If you missed it yesterday, here’s a link: .

I won’t spend too much time piling on about the record-setting work of wide receiver Marvin McNutt. It’s pretty well documented and deservedly so. I will offer, however, if you ever find yourself wondering about our coaching staff, think about Marvin’s path to and through Iowa City, presumably, to a shot at “Sunday Football.” It starts with a staff member successfully identifying the talent and continued with a successful recruiting process. It then picked up speed on campus during that often-challenging first year when the game “gest a whole lot faster” and the academic work goes to another level as well. It then continues with the story that’s been told and retold: Quarterback turned wide receiver and all kinds of success. Of course, beating the path is a talented young man with talent, determination, perseverance and “want-to.” Quite a story.

Here’s a shopping list for you: The UI Athletics Ticket Office is now taking orders for season tickets to the home games of Fran’s squad, orders for four different “Weekend” and “Weekday” packages, and single-game tickets for Iowa’s game in November. To make your purchase, click HERE. The UI Athletics Ticket Office is also accepting orders for the best entertainment bargain in eastern Iowa – Iowa women’s basketball – and the 2011-12 Iowa wrestling season. To make your purchase of those, click . Lastly, Bravo Sports Marketing – our partners on Hawkeye Village and other initiatives – is offering fans who haven’t purchased their tickets for this year’s “Blackout” game – Iowa versus Michigan State on Nov. 11 – a special offer. Click HERE to review that one.

Raise your hand if you watch the Big Ten Network. Raise your hand if you have a high definition television. Raise your hand if you are simply stunned by the images on BTN from historic Kinnick Stadium. The color and clarity is simply remarkable.

From the “Well, you might as well set the bar high” file: The inaugural “ANF Day at Kinnick” was a nice success. What do we do next year? That’s for another day. Until then, here’s a link to a video produced by our partners on the project, the Iowa Farm Bureau – on the day: HERE. And, if you haven’t had a chance – and even if you have had the chance – there’s a handful of additional video and audio available for you to enjoy inside Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media area of hawkeyesports.com. You can get there by clicking HERE. And, if you’re curious about the “Then” and “Now” of America Needs Farmers, here’s a helpful link: HERE.

One of the many friends of the UI my wife and I spent time with Friday night while enjoying the UI’s Homecoming parade was Vince Nelson, president of the UI Alumni Association. His smile was a mile wide for lots of reasons including the Chamber of Commerce weather that greeted the thousands of alumni back on campus Friday and again yesterday at historic Kinnick Stadium. Good stuff.Hey, Polk County Hawkeyes! Fran, Lisa and Tom are coming to your town. The head Hawks will be in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 1, for the annual Polk County I-Club Winter Sports Luncheon. You can register online HERE.

Raise your hand if you watch the Big Ten Network. Raise your hand if you have a high definition television. Raise your hand if you are simply stunned by the images on BTN from historic Kinnick Stadium. The color and clarity is simply remarkable.

I’ve stated this fact before: I enjoy the work of the Gazette’s Mike Hlas. I might not always agree with him, but Mike’s work is always well-written and, often, offers a hint of his very enjoyable wit. He put a smile on my face again Saturday morning when I read this work of his: HERE. What made me chuckle was the last two entries. And, yes, admittedly – this time – it’s a very slight, “slight of hand” on the keyboard…but well done nonetheless.

This might be just me being my half-filled-glass kind of guy, but do I sense a winter full of black and gold excitement is just around the corner? Sure seems to me there’s lots of talk about the success Fran, Lisa and Tom’s squads could enjoy in the immediate future.

Iowa was a perfect 4-for-4 inside the red zone yesterday at Kinnick. The Hawkeyes have now scored points in 26 of their 27 visits inside the opponents’ 20 this season. That, my friends, is productivity.One piece of my job is to understand the business side of intercollegiate athletics, including live television coverage of events like, of course, football games. So, last night was quite a learning experience and a reminder of how far we’ve come. Remember the days when there were only one or two games televised, back-to-back in the middle of the afternoon and the occasional USC-UCLA game Thanksgiving weekend?

Last night, it was remarkable both in terms of number and in contrast to the “old days.” Wisconsin-Michigan, Penn State-Northwestern, Notre Dame-USC, Tennessee-Alabama, Oklahoma-Texas Tech and Washington-Stanford…all in primetime, all competing for the attention of college football fans like me…after, of course, a full slate of games played and televised live during the afternoon. Remarkable…and, if you don’t mind, pass me the remote.

One additional thought on college football and television. What do you think the guys in charge of Major League Baseball thought of that lineup last night…all happening while the Cardinals and Rangers were playing Game 3 for the television audience watching on Fox?

If you’re a fan of the hurry-up, you probably thought Iowa’s opening drive Saturday, that 12-play thing of beauty, was the UI football equivalent to watching paint dry. You would be right, too. The 7 minute, 10-second drive was Iowa’s longest – in terms of time consumed – of the season for Kirk’s squad. Something tells me, too, that he kind of enjoyed that one….a lot. It was Big Ten football they way Big Ten football is meant to be played.

Did I mention Saturday was one heck of a pretty college football day? Wow. Spectacular. Lots of sun-splashed red faces this morning across Hawkeye Nation, I’m sure.

One thought on Marvin..actually two. First, man, he has big — and strong — hands. Second, he sure covers a lot of ground quickly. It looks like he’s chewing up seven yards a stride when he’s at full throttle!As always, Kirk had lots of good stuff to say in his post-game comments to the media. You can read the transcript HERE.

So now its off to Minnesota before returning to Kinnick for back-to-back Michigan games, the Maize and Blue on Nov. 5 followed by the Spartans on Blackout Saturday, Nov. 12. Floyd, you pretty bronzed pig, pack your bags. It’s time to come home.