Greetings NYC Hawks!
(And assorted other Hawkeye friends in places like Chi-Town and that town filled with Golden Rodents.)
My how time does fly. We find ourselves again just 100 short days of our favorite time of the year. Yes, last year it was tough to be a Hawkeye fan, but with each new school year hope springs eternal. And it’s true – Buckeyes and Wolverines are nowhere to be found on the schedule. Not in 2008, either. The Hawks have some holes to fill but the schedule won’t be any easier than this year and next for many years to come.
Of course, all discussion beings with the end of the Drew Tate era and the beginning of the Jake Christensen years. He has had a leg up on the starter’s job since he is a red-shirt sophomore and has started a game. But Jake is a true drop back (southpaw) QB – and the two red-shirt freshmen behind him on the depth chart (Nelson and Stanzi) are more of the mobile running type quarterbacks. The Hawks must replace 3 starters on the offensive line, so it’s conceivable the running QBs might see some early action if the protection is not what we need to start. Then again, 0-line is what the Hawks do best (all 3 seniors gone, now in NFL camps) so I would not worry too much that the guys that step in will look very lost on the field.
No matter who takes the snaps, they will have legit weapons at their disposal. Young and Sims return for their senior seasons and they have to be motivated (especially Young) to improve on the 2006 campaign. I would expect these guys to get more like oh, 2100 combined yards – much better than the 1450 they had last year. We may again have wide receivers to provide the spark that Ed ‘Highlight Film’ Hinkle and Clinton ‘Deep Threat’ Solomon did for us (a few years back) in DD (Dominique Douglas) and Andy Brodell. DD will look to lead the nation again for total catches, by a sophomore this time, and who can forget Brodell leaving the Jim Thorpe Award winning cornerback in his dust as he turned the corner for the 63 yard touchdown in the Alamo Bowl. After the starters, Stross and Bowman both had some playing time last year and there are 4 red-shirt freshmen after them who are ready to step onto the field and make their mark. These kids will be fun to watch over the next 2 to 3 years, count on it. At tight end, we now get to see if Tony Meoaki can assume the All American role that was expected of him coming out of high school. If he can, the Hawk offense will have playmakers across the line of scrimmage.
The defense never really did get that kind of pressure we were looking for last year, but the four starters return, and if Kenney Iwebema can stay healthy, I think finally we will start to see offensive line disruption like we did with the dearly missed Roth and Babs. The d-line is not very deep, with Kanellis now playing O-line and other unnamed whiners who left the Hawks because they were not guaranteed a starting spot. So these guys will have to stay healthy!
The two Mikes return, as seniors, at linebacker, and will be joined by sophomore A.J Edds, who arrived at Iowa as a tight end, but looks to have big upside as a linebacker. In related news, Chad Greenway is good to go and can now begin his twice yearly throw downs with Abdul Hodge and the Green Bay Packers.
Both cornerbacks return in Shada and Godfrey but both the strong and weak safeties have moved on. This is probably our biggest area of concern heading into the season. There are a lot of young players that are ready to get their shot here – let’s just hope the d-line can spend enough time in the backfield to make the learning curve for these kids shorter.
Schlicher has graduated and Signor will probably land the kicking job, and the Hawks have a red-shirt freshman punter, Ryan Donahue, who was highly recruited in high school. You probably did not notice, but the Hawks only allowed 14 punt returns for 33 TOTAL yards all last season. If this kid can keep the return teams from having a chance at big plays like that, he will do just fine at Iowa.
For God’s sake Hawkeyes block some $#@$(+! kicks this year! Consider the 10 win seasons of 2002-2004; did the Hawks really have the elite athletes on the field that would lead to double-digit win totals? No, they had exceptional special teams. And a lot of heart and smart execution, sure, but entire games can turn on just one play when the special teams are on the field. The Hawks must get that back.
So, there are again a lot of questions that must be answered before the Hawks take the (Soldier) Field. I will try to have spies installed at fall camp so I have a bit of a lead when it comes time for game one. I don’t want to try and recall my pick percent from last year!
And yes – this year the Hawkeye opener does in fact fall on the Sedge’s birthday. So you might excuse me if I appear to have had my first beer(s) at say, 6:00 AM, when I get to the bar that afternoon. Thank you.
As always, the NYC Hawkeyes will spend their Saturday afternoons at Blondies West. http://blondiessports.com/
212 West 79th, Broadway/Amsterdam. (212) 362-4360
1 Train to 79th Street.
The 2007 Iowa Football Schedule
September 1st Iowa @ Northern Illinois (Soldier Field) 3:00 PM
September 8th Iowa v. Syracuse 8:05 PM, Big Ten Network
September 15th Iowa @ Iowa State
September 22nd Iowa @ Wisconsin 7:05 PM, ABC
September 29th Iowa v. Indiana (Homecoming) 12:05 PM, ESPN (or Big Ten)
October 6th Iowa @ Penn State*
October 13th Iowa v. Illinois
October 20th Iowa @ Purdue
October 27th Iowa v. Michigan State
November 3rd Iowa @ Northwestern
November 10th Iowa v. Minnesota
November 17th Iowa v. Western Michigan
* NYC Hawks head west to see win #6 in a row over the Lions.
The Kinnick Stadium Renovation is done so you can’t pass the hours of 9-5 watching them put up that big beautiful pressbox. And what a pressbox it is. If you have not yet had a chance to get back to Kinnick for a game, do whatever you can to make it this year. As stunning as Kinnick looks (the atmosphere of the night game - the Buckeye game - was unreal and truly electric), it is not quite done yet. Shortly before the season begins the bronze relief of Nile Kinnick, scoring the winning touchdown against the Fighting Irish during his Heisman winning season, will be installed. It will be just inside the main entrance, right behind Nile’s statue. Then Kinnick Stadium will be done and one of college football’s crown jewels will be ready for the next 75 years.
Here are some other links to help you make it to Labor Day weekend.
College Football News Iowa Preview:
(They keep adding more previews every day, but have not gotten to the Hawks yet. You can read up on Big Ten previews).
Hawk Central Football Page:
Official Iowa Football Page:
2007 Iowa Spring Prospectus: Check out pages 40-43 – info on the freshman Hawkeyes.
Iowa Rivals Football Page: Yup, you got to pay for the good stuff, but those of us with accounts can forward important news from the site if needed.
Hawkeye Nation, AKA Scout.com:
ScotHawk.com: You can kill many hours here with his excellent collection of Hawkeye highlights and compilation videos.
Iowa Fight Song: If you are spotted NOT singing the Iowa Fight Song after a Hawkeye score, you could be kicked out of the bar:
Iowa Alumni Association ‘Virtual Pub’: Can’t find the drink you want in the office vending machine? Check into the Virtual Pub.
The Iowa Alumni Association Home Page: The best years of our life were in Iowa City? Keep the connection through the Alumni Association.
REMINDER – the Big Ten Block Party is NEXT Saturday, June 2nd, 2-7 PM, Ulysses’ Bar in downtown Manhattan. If you need me to resend the invite with the discounted 6 Pint Pack link, just let me know.
Also, the Boat Basin Happy Hour and Big Ten Boat Cruise have been nailed down. Keep an eye out for details on those when you see Matt’s next event email.
Yes – the 2007 NYC Hawks t-shirts have arrived and some of us will be wearing them at the Block Party. So be sure to check us out (the shirts on our backs) and look for details on how to order in the week or so after the party.
As if on cue, the spring will soon be pushed out of the way by high 80’s temps and high humidity levels. Which means just one season – or 100 days – is all that remains until we have football again. Heck, now we can be excited that Hawkeye football leads to Hawkeye basketball, too!
I hope you can make it to all of our summer time events, but if not, have a great one, stay safe, and we will see you at the bar on September 1st!