Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

July 23, 2012

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

Zach’s at it again. The PGA Tour’s biggest fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes is attempting to take a really good year – he currently ranks No. 3 on the Tour’s money list – and turn it into a really, really good year by claiming his second Major. Here’s a link to the leaderboard for the 2012 Open Championship: HERE. Live coverage of the Open begins at 6 a.m. Iowa time on ESPN; Zach starts his round shortly after 8 a.m.

I think I mentioned earlier this summer Greg Davis’s comments on freshmen. Iowa’s new offensive coordinator said during the 2012 Transamerica Challenge at Finkbine that freshmen who play the skill positions more times than not these days have the skills and the strength needed to play right away…as long as they can adjust to the “speed of the college game.” Well, I found myself thinking about Coach Davis’ comments when I was reading this story about Fran’s recruit, point-guard-to-be Mike Gessell, written by Scott Dochterman of the Gazete: HERE. It says plainly that Mike’s got the skills. Then I took a close look at the pictures that appeared with the story and came to the conclusion that he’s pretty far along on the strength path, too. It sure seems pretty likely that Mike will be Hawkeyes’ floor general for the next four years.

If you have’t watched this new video on Iowa linebacker coach LeVar Woods, I invite you check it out: HERE. As always, the work done by Bob Rahfeldt, a member of HawkVision staff under Mike Moriarity’s direction, did a superior job with the production. More importantly, it’s a great introduction to a great addition to Kirk’s staff. LeVar is the full package: Bright, articulate, a former Hawkeye who took full advantage of the opportunities presented to him at the UI to earn his degree, advance to the NFL, and – in LeVar’s case – meet his wife.

Lots of chatter and opinion on the situation at Penn State and rightfully so. I won’t add any commentary to the pile that already exists other than to say it’s probably a good thing that it has caused many to step back and evaluate what they do and how they do it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little reflection.

One short addition to the previous thought: A bunch of folks gather in Chicago next week for the Big Ten Conference’s kickoff to the college football season. I am eager to hear Jim Delany’s annual address to those in attendance. The Big Ten’s commissioner is a very intelligent man and his words will be sorted through thoroughly.

Kinnick Stadium finished fifth in ESPN.com’s rankings of Big Ten football stadiums. I can live with that. It’s tough to knock their choice for No. 1 – Ohio State, HERE. I do think, however, a pretty effective argument could be put forth that suggests Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are almost interchangeable. Just one man’s (biased) opinion, of course.

I was disappointed to hear – officially – earlier this week that the Pac-12 was pulling the plug on the idea of all 12 Big Ten football teams playing games against the 12 Pac-12 schools in the not-too-distant future. These would have been great events for the paying customer and, most likely, games the student-athletes would have been a little more excited about. Maybe they’ll revisit the decision. They should.

The recent hiring of Ryan Morningstar by UI wrestling coach Tom Brands said one thing to me about our wrestling coach that was far from a surprise: He’s not interested in the status quo. Championships are what that guy is all about. Click HERE to read about our newest assistant wresting coach.

I took a moment the other day and studied our football schedule for 2012. I know each game is important and only a fool takes any of them for granted. So, having said that, I’m convinced 2012 will be defined in great measure by our games against Penn State in Kinnick and the next week at Northwestern. Both are winnable, so I say let’s get ’em!

Have a great Sunday and, if you’re riding in RAGBRAI, stay hydrated. It’s going to be an incredibly taxing week, weather-wise.