Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Oct. 14, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on the first of two bye week Sundays for the Iowa Hawkeyes…


Bye weeks…you either love ’em or hate ’em. If your team is on a roll, you probably hate ’em. Why slow the mo’? If your team is a little banged up, they’re probably not a bad thing. I also know it’s an incredibly long season, quite a grind that begins in early August and extends, preferably, into the new year. However, as a fan, I don’t like them on bit. I like the routine. It’s Saturday. So it’s a game day. Bring it on.

And, just think, we get two this season. Our second, if you didn’t already know comes Nov. 16 — the Saturday after our trip to Purdue and the Saturday before we entertain Michigan in the 2013 home finale.

Have you nominated a hero for the 2013 Hy-Vee Heroes Game? What are you waiting for? If you know of someone deserving, click HERE to complete the online form.

Some of our fans probably used the bye week as a reason to peek ahead at future schedules for our football program. I did the other day, too…but more for business purposes than any other. Peeking ahead is the wrong thing to do, however. First, this season is only at its midway point and I would like to suggest that I believe our best football is still ahead. This team is getting better week over week and, according to one of the nation’s top linebackers — James Morris — has yet to play at its full potential. So there’s reason to be excited about the six Saturdays left on Iowa’s regular season schedule. Second, you start looking at future schedules and you find yourself counting chickens before they’re hatched. My advice is as old as the coaches’ whistle: Take ’em one game at a time, Hawk fans, one game at a time beginning with Saturday’s visit to Ohio State.

Here’s a link to the composite schedule for football in the Big Ten Conference this year: HERE.Take a look at what’s left in the Legends Division. Based on what I’ve seen thus far, our piece of the Big Ten puzzle has the potential to be a pretty jumbled mess heading into the final three weeks of the league season.

I was surprised that a mention of our quarterback was nowhere to be found in this one — HERE — then again, it isn’t so much about first-year starters. It’s more about freshmen who are starting for our Big Ten peers and some of them are playing for teams the Hawkeyes will see later this season.

Have you nominated a hero for the 2013 Hy-Vee Heroes Game? What are you waiting for? If you know of someone deserving, click HERE to complete the online form.

Maybe I’ve not been listening too closely, but the only thing that surprised me Thursday when Fran was briefing us on the 2013-14 Iowa Hawkeyes and the coming men’s basketball season was the move of Devyn Marble to the point. “He is a guy who clearly is a better player when he has the ball,” Fran said. “We will take advantage of his entire skill set,” he offered later, after a summary of the senior’s strengths. Who am I to question Fran the Man? As I’ve said before, you can stuff my knowledge of the game of basketball in a thimble, so all I know is this: Life is good when you have a guy at 6-foot-7 and as talented a Devyn is at the top of your offense.

It’s refreshing to listen to Fran’s news conference. There’s little “coach-ese” buried in those entertaining sessions. Find the question about freshman Peter Jok in this transcript of the press conference: HERE and you’ll see what I mean. Pretty much straight on the mark.

Great teams have great leadership from inside out. Coaches can lead and do lead. Assistant coaches can lead and do lead. Heck, to a certain extent, team managers can lead and do. Successful teams have great leaders on the court, down in the trenches in the heat of battle, whether that battle is in the locker room, on the practice floor, or on Mediacom Court. I think this team has an abundance of leaders. It’s going to be fun to watch it take care of this piece of business as well.

Our third annual ANF Game Day at Kinnick — Saturday, Oct. 26, when Kirk’s squad entertains Northwestern — is bearing down on us. So is the deadline for you to win $5,000 of free groceries. Register HERE. You never know, you could be shopping your local Hy-Vee for free, courtesy of our good friends at the Iowa Farm Bureau.

The television in the receptionist area of our office suite in Carver-Hawkeye had a Major League Baseball playoff game on the other day. I found myself — a baseball fan — thinking how tough MLB has it when it comes to competing against college football and the NFL for attention of the sports fan in the months of September and October and, if the postseason for America’s pastime strolls on, November. The cities where those playoff games are being played are out of control excited…but I’m not sure the rest of us are.

I enjoy Fran for lots of reasons, including the fact that he believes in the positive impact of positive reinforcement. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t criticize or isn’t critical, but his positive energy outweighs his negative 75-to-1. Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette nailed that personality trait of Fran’s with this one: HERE.

Sometimes we’re so close to the forest that we can’t see the trees. Take, for example, this: HERE. Look closely under No. 11. The name is Zach Johnson. The list? The Official World Golf Rankings, which is endorsed by the four major championships and the five professional tours which make up the International Federation of PGA Tours. Zach Johnson…the 11th-best professional golfer in the entire world.

Tickets, tickets, and more tickets. We have football…we have volleyball…we have men’s basketball…we have women’s basketball…and we have wrestling. We also have tickets for this year’s Blowout and that Iowa-Penn State dual on Mediacom Mat. Go ahead…pick a game or two right HERE!

Have a great week…and this one includes a football game Saturday.